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Research may lead to new cosmetic treatment

Scientists have found a way to change the colour of skin, creating the possibility of a new form of cosmetic surgery in the future.

A team of researchers at the University of Cincinnati and Tokyo Medical University have found that, by injecting cells taken from skin of a certain shade into skin graft material, they can lighten or darken the skin graft.

The procedure involves skin cells called keratinocytes, which control the cells responsible for pigmentation (melanocytes).

Senior researcher Raymond Boissy commented: "Now we have a new set of molecules to investigate that may help create uniform skin colour - both for patients with pigment disorders or serious burn wounds, as well as those seeking improved cosmetic skin appearance."

The research, which is published in the FASEB journal, could also enable cosmetic companies to develop new products creating a sunless tan.

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