DR. AVITAL Porter and patient.
(photo credit: BINYAMIN ADAM)
Botox (botulin toxin) is not the only way to get smoother, less-damaged skin.
Tel Aviv University researchers have shown on laboratory rats that very short, high-tension electric pulses can reduce wrinkling and damage to the skin from disease without causing scars or heating.
Dr. Alexander Golberg of the Porter School for Environmental Students, together with colleagues from Harvard University and the Shriner’s Burns Hospital in Boston, recently published such findings in the online journal Scientific Reports.
The authors call the technique a “revolutionary” way to renew the skin tissues by causing the cells to renew themselves and capillaries to grow, and by circulating oxygen and nourishment and releasing collagen (the main structural protein in connective tissues).
Although the technique, said Golberg, was originally developed to treat a variety of degenerative skin diseases, it has much potential for aesthetic medicine as well.
“The modern era is characterized by the aging of the population and overexposure to ultraviolet rays of the sun due to changes in the climate,” he continued.
“As a result, many people suffer from skin problems ranging from natural aging of the skin to atrophy.”
About 30 percent of individuals over the age of 60 suffer from this. In addition, burns and chronic illnesses like diabetes harm the color, texture and functioning of the skin,” said the TAU scientist.
When the team searched for a solution, they thought of examining the influence of electric pulses – a technique that has already proven itself as effective for other medical uses including disinfection of wounds and removing tumors. In their work on healthy lab rats, they exposed them to very short pulses (for just tens of microseconds) and at high tension and looked for changes in the skin.
“The skin woke up, increased the production of cells in the epidermis, grew new capillaries and increased the secretion of collagen. All these made the skin younger and healthier,” Golberg said.
He explains that the electric pulses cause tiny, nanometric-sized “injury” to the cell membrane in some of the skin, and the body’s system awakens to repair the damage. Growth factors that are thus released speed up the metabolism and create new tissues.”
As a result of success in the lab, the researchers are waiting for permission to perform clinical studies to see how the technique works in humans.
“This is an innovative, efficient and noninvasive technique that may cure many skin diseases, prevent suffering and improve the quality of life of millions of people around the world,” concluded Golberg.