Sunday, 1 May 2011

The 8 Most Unbelievable Beauty Innovations

In a few years, you may be able to wipe away lines as easily as you remove makeup. Revance is a wipe-on botulinum toxin (that's the stuff used in Botox and Dysport) that's carried through the skin by a chemical peptide. It's currently being tested to see if it smooths crow's-feet. And instead of going to a doctor's office for wrinkle-filling injections, it may be possible to plump up skin at home with hyaluronic acid gel patches, says dermatologist Fredric Brandt.

Your hair-dryer will have to share space in the bathroom with things only found at a dermatologist's office now. Soon, you may be able to buy your own GentleWaves System. Weekly treatments with pulsed yellow light from the device stimulates collagen growth, which can smooth lines. It's currently available in doctors' offices and spas, but it will eventually be safe and affordable for home use, says its inventor, David H. McDaniel, assistant professor of clinical dermatology at Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk, Virginia. And in less than a decade, predicts Paul Sowyrda, a consultant to the laser industry, there could be an all-purpose device that delivers radio-frequency, ultrasound, laser, and light therapies to "treat acne, sun spots, thinning hair, wrinkles, and fine lines."

Eventually, you may not even use water. Seriously! Static-fighting, carbon-fiber vacuums—now used on pets—could be adapted for people. Baths won't cease to exist, though—they'll just be for relaxation. A prime example is the Float Spa, which is already available. It's filled with water that's salty enough to suspend you. The mineral-rich salt, like that of the Dead Sea, is also said to help detoxify the skin.

No more salon visits every six weeks to cover up gray roots. It's probable that scientists will develop a pill that prevents gray hair, says McDaniel: "The leukemia drug Gleevec causes some people to restore hair color. It's a matter of flipping the right gene switches in the DNA, turning the right expression up or down, like the volume control on a stereo." And women might have an even better way to color their hair at home: a heat-sensitive dye that would be activated by a hair-dryer or flatiron, speculates Brian M. Kinney, clinical assistant professor of plastic surgery at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles

Say good-bye to razors, wax, and depilatories: In the near future, you may be able to replace them with a home laser that cuts hair off precisely, along with another laser or Intense Pulsed Light appliance that kills the hair follicles, says McDaniel. These devices, which are being introduced now, will cut down on how often you have to shave or wax—or may even remove hair permanently.

Mirrors will do more than just reflect—they may also tell you what your skin needs. "A sensor that looks similar to a digital thermometer could be tethered to the mirror and connected to a built-in meter," says McDaniel. "You pull out the sensor and touch it to the skin, measuring moisture, oiliness, and redness. If the meter says the skin is getting drier, you increase your moisturizer." And eventually, mirrors may track your appearance over time, as well as allow you to see how your features could be changed with plastic surgery, says Andrew Dent, vice president of materials research at the Material ConneXion in New York City.

Slathering on sunblock is so 2011. Your home could eventually have a booth (kind of like the spray-tan kind) that will quickly coat you in sunscreen or anti-aging creams, says Kinney. You'll probably also take a sunscreen pill with your morning coffee. "[It] would work from the inside out to clean up cell damage from UV rays. People would likely take it when they know they are going to be in the sun for a prolonged period of time," says Kavita Mariwalla, assistant professor of dermatology at Stony Brook University in Stony Brook, New York.

Brushing, flossing, and whitening will go to the next level. A tooth-hardening pill to prevent cavities is not far off, says Marc Lowenberg, a cosmetic dentist in New York City. Lowenberg is developing tooth gloss, a brush-on protective barrier that prevents discoloration from things like red wine and coffee. And even toothpaste may become obsolete. Researchers at the University of Saskatchewan in Canada, working with Shiken, a Japanese company, have created a light-powered toothbrush, the Soladey-J3X, which is expected to be available later this year. A solar panel at the base of the handle transmits electrons to the traditional-looking brush at the top, and they interact with acid in the mouth, getting rid of bacteria and breaking down plaque.

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