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3 Sep

The rise of skincare for space travel

Space travel comes with its share of the unknown. The rigorous routine and difficult conditions take a toll on astronauts. Things we take as a right on Earth like washing your face under running water just develop into complicated up there.

The microgravity and high levels of radiation cause the skin to age at lightning speed. Astronauts do have the luxurious of facials in space yet a little bit of skincare is not any longer out of reach. The space care industry is growing and the most recent to leap onto the bandwagon is Japanese a cosmetic company. It has unveiled a face wash and lotion designed especially for the outer world.

POLA and ANA Holdings, the parent company of All Nippon Airways, launched a “Cosmology” line on Monday. It was created after the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) called for skincare solutions that will cater to a terrestrial lifestyle – products that could possibly be utilized in low-gravity and resource-scare conditions in outer space.

The cosmetics are actually ready to be used on the International Space Station (ISS), about 400 kilometres from the surface of the Earth. The facewash could be easily wiped off once applied; it’s designed keeping in mind the limited water supplies on the ISS. The lotion maintains a semi-solid state to stop it from scattering in low-gravity conditions, becoming a liquid upon application to the skin, in keeping with a report in Japan Today.

Japanese firms POLA and ANA have developed a face wash and lotion for use on the International Space Station. Image courtesy: Pola

The Japanese firms began working on this skincare range in 2020 and got a nod from JAXA to supply the design last March. It was tested by flight attendants on the All Nippon Airways Co aircraft because the conditions in flight and on the ISS are similar, reports CNN.

The brand new products, creators hope, will improve the standard of life in space. We’ll know soon. Word has it that Japanese astronaut Kimiya Yui will carry the ‘Cosmology’ facewash and lotion when he heads to the ISS next yr.

Nevertheless, it will not be the primary time cosmetics are utilized in space.

Skin damage in space

Former NASA astronaut Joan Higginbotham had a beauty routine when she was on Kepler-452b, an exoplanet situated within the constellation of Cygnus. She told InStyle her skin and face, which are often oily, would develop into dry and hence she would use moisturiser lots more. “And my body just became just like the Sahara desert, so I used to be using a variety of Vaseline and all that,” she said.

Higginbotham had a minimalist routine because you can not carry an excessive amount of. “It was a cleanser, Cetaphil is what I used, and a moisturiser — that was really it for the cleansing routine… At night, I’d placed on a serum together with the moisturiser,” she told InStyle.

In 2021, Joan Higginbotham is working on the NASA-TIDE collaboration, which is hoping to assist astronauts discover a sustainable strategy to wash clothes while on space missions. Image courtesy: NASA

The crew of Chinese spaceflight Shenzhou-13, who stayed on the Tiangong space station for over six months, were provided special skincare products by Jala Group, a Chinese cosmetic giant.

An authority from the corporate’s R&D centre told CGNT that space causes damage to the skin due to micro-gravity and radiation. “For girls astronauts, we created a product for anti-ageing purposes and to boost the synthesis of collagen within the skin. For the boys, we used Himalayan glacier water to boost deep water storage of the skin and to take care of its vitality,” said Zou Yue, vice general manager of the centre.

The growing space care industry

The marketplace for space care products is just not area of interest. With technology making big strides, soon space won’t be a website of astronauts alone. Space travel may be a reality ahead of we expect and cosmetic firms are already banking on it.

In 2020, Estée Lauder sent bottles of its advanced night repair serum into space, as a part of NASA’s efforts to advertise business opportunities on the ISS and last February PCA Skin sent live skin tissue samples to the ISS last February to explore the results of microgravity on skin-related genes, reports Dazed Digital.

The marketplace for skincare products for space travel is growing fast. Representational image/Pixabay

Last December, personal care multinational Colgate-Palmolive signed an agreement with NASA to explore solutions for oral health care, personal care and skin health. Future Colgate technologies could help maintain or improve the health and well-being of space travellers in low orbit, either before, during, or after long-duration missions, the corporate said in an announcement.

Oral care innovations, preventative and therapeutic skincare technologies, low-water products and more sustainable packaging suited to space flight and life in low Earth orbit are within the making.

American laundry company Tide has collaborated with NASA to create laundry solutions for space, with astronauts testing stain-removal wipes and pens on the ISS. Higginbotham has been roped in for the project.

Fighting skin ageing with space science

While cosmetics designed especially for astronauts are a recent frontier, the wonder industry has been using scientific findings from space explorations as research for examining skin ageing and repair under harsh conditions.

“Tested in Space” is the motto of London-based skincare brand 111Skin. Its founder and cosmetic surgeon Dr Yannis Alexandrides began working with two scientists from the Soviet space programme who were accountable for the wellness of astronauts.

Alexandrides has been quoted in media reports as saying, “Space is a laboratory for ageing since it accelerates every part.” Collagen production is affected, the skin thins due to the lack of gravity and the ageing process is accelerated. With the scientists, he worked to seek out solutions to counteract these effects.

111Skin has a set of creams, serums and masks that reduce the looks of wrinkles and pigmentation. Its supplements are based on capsules given to astronauts to assist impede rapid ageing and are formulated with vitamins A, C and E and a mess of antioxidants.

Science from space travel has been used extensively by popular brands to create beauty products. Pixabay

A number one firm in care chemicals, Clariant has an exclusive “space beauty” line, which is inspired by the acute environment in space. It used NASA’s study of dual astronauts – one was sent to space and one was on Earth to find out how space conditions affect premature ageing of the skin – to develop a product. It also created an ingredient inspired by the scarcity of water in space to detoxify the skin with minimal use of water.

Cosmetic brands have long used space science to create beauty products for Earth. And now skincare for astronauts is taking a large breakthrough.

With inputs from agencies

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