• Anna Solana, science journalist

    The skin you live in

    The study of stem cells and their therapeutic potential is also a line of research in dermatology. For the first time, scientists from the University of Granada (Spain), using umbilical cord stem cells, have managed to create artificial skin that could help heal major burns and avoid animal testing.


    The researchers call for caution, however. Further testing of this artificial skin technique in humans needs to be done throughout 2014. There may be problems of rejection since, unlike in current clinical procedures, the skin is not part of the patient's own tissue. Even so, scientists are optimistic because to date it has not been possible to generate epidermal tissue using umbilical cord stem cells. The scientists have engineered a biomaterial made with fibrin, a protein derived from human plasma, and agarose, a biocompatible polysaccharide extracted from seaweed. Other research groups are working on the engineering of skin tissue similar to natural skin with its dermis and epidermis. They concede, however, that further work is necessary to improve artificial skin in terms of appearance and hair and sweat glands.

  • Núria Estapé, science journalist

    Enzymes for skin care

    21 Mar Enzymes for skin care



    The New York Times

    Enzymology is a new research area in dermatology and cosmetics that tries to discover how enzymes can improve skin appearance and prevent skin problems. Pharmaceutical companies study enzymes associated with skin disorders, whereas the cosmetics sector is interested in enzymes that enhance the beauty of the skin. However, including suitable enzymes in the diet is currently the most natural and effective way to achieve a healthy and beautiful skin.


    To remain healthy and vibrant the skin needs to be nourished with fats, proteins and carbohydrates. For these substances to act optimally on skin tissues, they need certain small molecules, called enzymes, to accelerate chemical reactions. Enzymes help food pass from the blood to the skin, develop beneficial fats and repair collagen damaged by ultraviolet rays, just to name a few of their many functions. There are many kinds of enzymes. Those most frequently used in cosmetics, called proteolytic enzymes, break down proteins so that the skin can better absorb their components and so promote cell growth and renewal. Read More

  • Rosa Taberner, dermatologist

    Skin care with cryotherapy

    Cryotherapy is a dermatological technique that uses extreme cold to treat superficial skin lesions, usually through the application of liquid nitrogen. This freezes and removes affected tissue, fully respecting the surrounding healthy tissue. The medical and cosmetic outcomes are much better than for other techniques.


    Although the use of cold in medicine may seem to be relatively recent, the Egyptians, aware of its analgesic and anti-inflammatory effect, used cold as far back as 2500 BCE. The technique became popular in the nineteenth century, especially given its analgesic properties, particularly useful for amputations. But the key to the further development of this technique was always the ability to cool, store and handle gases at low temperatures. Read More

  • Josep Orellana, science journalist

    Apps for the skin: consult your doctor

    10 Dec Apps for the skin: consult your doctor



    JAMA Dermatology

    The growing popularity of smartphones and tablets worldwide has led to the emergence of thousands of medical apps, a good number referring to care, problems and disorders of the skin. Some are professional tools that facilitate the work of doctors, but others are aimed at the general public. Are all of them risk-free? Can we safely use them for our skin?


    Some 40,000 medical apps are available; most likely you have already downloaded some to your mobile device. Undoubtedly, these new technological advances will bring great benefits to the world's population in the future. Creators of apps have not failed to notice the growing interest in skin care, which explains why hundreds of apps are available today offering tips to keep our skin healthy and beautiful and diagnosing all types of skin disorders. There are even apps that will tell you if a mole could be cancerous. Most skin care apps are free. Read More