Skin Deep

Ugh! Not another pill! 

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

We mostly take our meds by mouth or needles. Yowch! Some drugs can be taken through the skin. But the devices to make it happen are big and bulky. What a pain! Is there a better way? 

Enter Chia-Chen Yu of MIT and team!

They worked to create a wearable patch version. The patch contains chambers with the drug dissolved in liquid. Within each chamber is a disc that creates ultrasonic sound waves – think super high, dog whistle-type frequencies. These sound waves create TINY channels in the skin and also make bubbles of the drug-liquid solution. When the bubbles pop, the solution shoots through the channels. This delivers the drug from the outer to the inner layers of skin.

The researchers say their lightweight design allows for reliable use on the go! This could treat skin conditions. Both medical, like skin burns, or cosmetic, like age spots.

Guess some ailments are only skin deep!


Taboada, C., Delia, J., Chen, M., Ma, C., Peng, X., Zhu, X., Jiang, L., Vu, T., Zhou, Q., Yao, J., O’Connell, L., & Johnsen, S. (2022). Glassfrogs conceal blood in their liver to maintain transparency. Science, 378(6626), 1315–1320.