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Electric Beauty

For years beauticians wielding handheld electrodes have used electricity to treat skin blemishes and to improve the absorption of creams and lotions. Now a thin disposable patch from PowerPaper in Einat, Israel, could let aesthetes do the same thing at home. The patch contains flexible, one-half-millimeter-thick 1.5-volt batteries that generate a weak current. The current travels to the skin via a printed electrode and an underlying layer of conductive gel. Used alone, say PowerPaper’s developers, the system massages the skin and stimulates blood flow. Used in combination with, say, an antiwrinkle cream, the current drives positively charged molecules from the cream onto the skin-a process called iontophoresis, which, according to PowerPaper, speeds results of cosmetic treatments. The company is conducting tests with partners in the cosmetics industry and plans to market the patch by the end of this year.

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