A simple controlled-pressure device induces deep skin penetration of bioactive molecules that would otherwise require the help of aggressive chemicals or sophisticated equipment. Would you take it in as part of your regular skincare tool-kit?
Last updated: September 13, 2022
Are you one of those who love innovation encompassing simplicity and high efficacy? Then keep reading! This simple innovation has the potential to replace costly or invasive professional treatments for easy sessions from your own home or local spa.
What does this new and uncomplicated technology involve?
You basically ought to pinch a skin section with a specific, controlled amount of pressure for a limited amount of time (one or several minutes) and follow with the application of a topical skincare formulation rich in active ingredients.
Exactly how? The technique involves the usage of a new, simple controlled-pressure device in the form of a small, flat clamp (don’t worry, it doesn’t cause pain at all). The goal of this procedure is the non-invasive delivery of biomolecules into the deepest layers of the skin.
Once delivered into the deep epidermis or dermis, those molecules can achieve their top performance and thus be of the most benefit.
For example, this technology can enable us to erase dark spots in the skin in record time and from our own home. Why? Because we could effectively release adequate amounts of active compounds (depigmenting molecules in this case) right where the source of hyperpigmentation is inside the skin. That’s the basal layer of the epidermis.
Why does it trigger such a radical improvement in the delivery of bioactives in the skin?
The controlled pressure applied on the skin induces the temporary formation of tiny micropores (of three squared micrometers, 3um2) in the treated area. These minuscule micropores form due to the increase in loose junctions (called GAP junctions) and the simultaneous decrease of tight unions between cells in the epidermis 1.
What’s the consequence of these pressure-induced epidermal changes? The resulting tiny micropores permit the penetration of large (up to 20 KiloDaltons, KDa) and hydrophilic (water-loving) molecules through the skin 1.
Those kinds of molecules would otherwise stay on the most superficial skin layer due to their size (big) or chemical nature (unrelated to the water-repellent nature of the skin surface).
The discovery of the mechanism of transient formation of micropores has allowed the design of this entirely new technology for the painless, non-invasive yet highly effective delivery of compounds of interest through the skin.
Why is this procedure so relevant?
The uppermost layer of the skin (the stratum corneum) has a waterproof, hydrophobic (water-repellent) structure, basically consisting of dead cells and lipids. It hinders the penetration of most molecules in the live layers of the skin.
Only the smaller (<500 Daltons, Da) and more hydrophobic molecules (non-water soluble) included in topical formulations manage to get through the stratum corneum when we rub them onto the skin.
Therefore, hydrophilic (such as vitamin C) and greater than 500 Da molecules (such as hyaluronic acid) cannot reach per se the internal skin layers. It is there where they can trigger most of their benefits.
Yet, ingredients such as vitamin C or hyaluronic acid are frequently the key active components in cosmetics claiming to foster profound changes deep within our skin. It’s often disappointing, and can be such a waste of time and money for us as consumers.
In contrast, both large and hydrophilic molecules – complex sugars of different molecular sizes (3, 5, 10, 20 KDa) and insulin molecules (6 KDa) – reach the dermis intact with the controlled temporal pressure procedure 1. Besides, they cross the epidermis through the intercellular spaces. They don’t do it through the hair follicles, where they could get trapped or inactive.
What are the main advantages of this innovation?
First, it is a scientifically proved, simple, yet truly effective method that could be even used at home.
Moreover, in contrast to the rest of the options available to achieve the efficient delivery of active molecules into the deep layers of the skin, this procedure does not damage the skin’s structure in any possible way.
However, many of the chemical compounds added to topical formulations to favor the in-depth penetration of active ingredients may harm the epidermis to some extent and can irritate it significantly.
Similarly, the most common physical methods with a similar purpose – such as electroporation or laser procedures – alter the integrity of the skin and might cause discomfort. They may even provoke undesired secondary effects: I’ve experience those firsthand, and I am still trying to fix them (guided by a new dermatologist) many months after an unfortunate laser session (done in 2021).
Therefore, why not use something more harmless? Also, the methods mentioned above often require sophisticated equipment, specialized personnel, and a financial investment far beyond the purchase of an uncomplicated device for at-home use.
What’s more, the controlled temporal pressure technique creates much smaller micropores than other physical methods. Hence any risk of infection is reduced to a minimal, and we can avoid it by using skincare products with gentle anti-microbial ingredients.
When does the temporal pressure pre-treatment provide the most benefits?
From my point of view, this method has multiple potential applications, including the following:
1· Substitute/supplement for microinjections (of hyaluronic acid, collagen, vitamins, etc.).
Microinjections are expensive, you can’t do them at home, and their frequently repeated administration in localized areas could be not so beneficial in the long run.
2· Prevention and treatment of skin aging.
The appropriate cutaneous penetration of antioxidants such as vitamin C or glutathione (GSH), proteins (for instance, growth factors), or other regenerating molecules can help renew the cellular and structural damage encompassing different types of aging (such as photo-aging due to excessive ultraviolet light exposure).
3· Removal of localized hyperpigmentation.
For example, dark spots, as I mentioned at the beginning of this post.
4· Cellulite elimination.
Cosmetics are usually totally ineffective in the treatment of cellulite. However, the actual controlled local delivery of fat-dissolving or circulation-enhancing active compounds into the dermis and below, such as deoxycholic acid or caffeine, has the potential to yield better outcomes at least in some cases.
5· Intensive treatments.
Furthermore, we know that the tiny micropores that form after the application of controlled temporary pressure are still open after 12 hours 1. Therefore it would be possible to develop intensive treatments.
Those may consist of two rounds of application of the active molecules of interest. The first right after using the controlled pressure device and the second 12 hours later (since the pores will remain open), during one or several days.
That is two rounds of topical product application per pressure treatment and day.
Following that pattern, we would avoid any potential harm derived from too many or too often pressure maneuvers on the same skin section. However, this would depend on the type and area of the skin (the skin in the face and neck is generally more sensitive than in other parts of the body).
The future of controlled temporal pressure devices at a glance
The initial purpose of this technique was the convenient absorption of certain drugs (such as insulin) through the skin (and a wearable device for such purposes is in the making).
However, it can also be the basis for advanced, uncomplicated, and more effective skincare protocols that can be applied at home or on the go.
We’ll still have to wait to enjoy this kind of technology. But I love to anticipate this potential innovation and share my vision about it with you guys. I hope that you like it!
Please leave your thoughts or any question in the comments section below.
Love, and see you soon!
1 Scientific Journal Reference (Science Advances, 2020):