Physicists patent method to change skin-color perception

November 5, 2013
Physicists patent method to change skin-color perception
Yellow skin appears that color because it scatters the yellow portion of the light spectrum.

How someone perceives color is determined by how the item they are looking at scatters and emits light. In August, three City College of New York physicists affiliated with the Institute for Ultrafast Spectroscopy and Lasers (IUSL) were awarded a patent for a method for changing perception of skin tone by applying quantum and optical principles to cosmetic preparations.

IUSL Director Robert R. Alfano led the team. Research Associate Xiaohui Ni played a key role in calculating the optical effects on nanometer-size .

"If you understand the physical properties of light you can use those properties to change perception. We all know red, green and blue give white," said Dr. Alfano, CUNY distinguished professor of science and engineering. For example, yellowish skin could appear white if covered with a preparation enabling it to scatter blue light as well as yellow light.

According to the patent abstract, the main application of the method will be to change the appearance of facial color from red, blue or yellow to white. Often, these appearances result from medical conditions. For example, cyanosis, deprivation of oxygen to tissue near the skin, can cause skin to appear blue. Also, many people develop rosacea, which causes skin to redden, as they age.

Scattering does the trick.

"By selecting the right size and materials of particles compounded in cosmetic preparations and applying the preparations to the skin, the scattering and/or emission from micro- and nan-particles can provide a complimentary color or in proximity to that complementary color of the skin color," the abstract states. "The mixture of the color provided by the particles and the reflect color from the skin will whiten the skin or make inconspicuous the hyperchromic (more light absorbing) portion of the ."

Physicists patent method to change skin-color perception
When a cosmetics preparation containing nano-/micro particles that scatter the blue portion of the spectrum is applied to the skin, it appears whiter because the scattered yellow and blue light mix.

The method can be applied to other products in which particles are applied to a surface or blended into a material, including paint and colored glass.

Explore further: Scientists discover nerves control iridescence in squid's remarkable 'electric skin'

More information: Patent No.: US 8,518,445 B2
Date of Patent: August 27, 2013
Title: Changing Skin-Color Perception Using Quantum and Optical Principles in Cosmetic Preparations
Inventors: Robert R. Alfano, Bronx, N.Y.; Xiaohui Ni, New York, N.Y.; Manuel Zevallos, Woodhaven, N.Y.
Assignee: Research Foundation of the City University of New York
Filed: January 22, 2007

Related Stories

You are what you eat

March 7, 2012

Fruit and vegetable consumption is correlated with changes in skin redness and yellowness, as reported in the Mar. 7 issue of the open access journal PLoS ONE.

Recommended for you

Probe for nanofibers has atom-scale sensitivity

January 20, 2017

Optical fibers are the backbone of modern communications, shuttling information from A to B through thin glass filaments as pulses of light. They are used extensively in telecommunications, allowing information to travel ...

Magnetic recording with light and no heat on garnet

January 19, 2017

A strong, short light pulse can record data on a magnetic layer of yttrium iron garnet doped with Co-ions. This was discovered by researchers from Radboud University in the Netherlands and Bialystok University in Poland. ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.