Frostbite, as we all know, is no joke. Frostbite occurs when the skin and underlying tissue becomes frozen, typically affecting the fingers, toes, ears, nose, chin and cheeks. When someone has frostbite, the skin becomes extremely cold and red, and soon turns numb, firm and pale.
I would imagine anyone who has ever experienced frostbite can attest to its displeasure. Luckily, this unfortunate skin condition could become a thing of the past, thanks to a new spray gel formula.
With their reports appearing in ACS Biomaterials Science & Engineering, researchers “have developed a convenient gel that could be sprayed onto frostbite injuries when they occur, helping wounds heal,” says an article from The Good News Network.
Reasoning behind this efficient gel spray is a result of the severity of frostbite, and also time sensitivity once skin has frostbite. When frostbite sets in, it “causes fluids in the skin and underlying tissues to freeze and crystallize, resulting in inflammation, decreased blood flow and cell death … if frostbite is not treated soon after the injury, it could lead to gangrene and amputation of the affected parts,” the article explains.
“Conventional (frostbite) treatments include immersing the body part in warm water, applying topical antibiotic creams or administering vasodilators and anti-inflammatory drugs, but many of these are unavailable in isolated snowy areas, like mountaintops. Others, such as topical medications, could end up freezing themselves,” the article continues.
Rahul Verma, along with his team at the Institute of Nano Science and Technology are to thank for this incredible development. Together, they set out to create a “cold-stable spray gel that could be administered on-site for the immediate treatment of frostbite injuries—and their new study says they succeeded,” the article states.
They “packaged heparin, an anticoagulant that improves blood flow by reducing clotting and aiding in blood vessel repair, into liposomes. These lipid carriers helped deliver heparin deep inside the skin.
“They embedded the heparin-loaded liposomes in a sprayable hydrogel that also contained ibuprofen (a painkiller and anti-inflammatory drug) and propylene glycol, which helped keep the spray from freezing at very low temperatures … the researchers tested the spray gel on animals with frostbite, they found that the treatment completely healed the injuries within 14 days, whereas untreated injuries were only about 40% healed, and wounds treated with an antibiotic cream were about 80% healed. The spray reduced levels of inflammatory cytokines at the wound site and in the blood circulation, which likely accelerated healing, the researchers say,” says the article.
Pretty fantastic news, if I do say so myself.