Plasma Technology in the Bathroom

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When cold plasma hits human skin cells, it can fight viruses and heal inflammati
When cold plasma hits human skin cells, it can fight viruses and heal inflammation. Roberto Schirdewahn
Skin blemishes are a problem many people are familiar with. Cold plasma can be a remedy, as shown by studies at Ruhr University Bochum, Germany. A Worldfactory start-up is already getting off the ground, too.

Cold plasma has an antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory effect. This is shown by studies conducted by the Chair of Applied Electrodynamics and Plasma Technology at Ruhr University Bochum, Germany. The research findings have been incorporated into a technology-based cosmetic product that can be used to treat skin blemishes. Funded by the start-up grant provided by the Worldfactory Start-up Center, Bochum-based researcher Dr. Friederike Kogelheide set up the start-up Glim Skin, which has made the product ready for series production. The launch is scheduled for early 2024. The Ruhr University’s science magazine Rubin published an article on the project.

"Plasma can be described as the fourth state of matter, in addition to solid, liquid and gaseous. At a temperature of 30 degrees Celsius, cold plasma is not harmful to the skin," explains Friederike Kogelheide.

Antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory

In order to study the antimicrobial effect of cold plasma, the interdisciplinary research team at Ruhr University Bochum headed by Kogelheide experimented with e.g. spores. The researchers showed that the combination of ozone, UV radiation and nitrogen monoxide inactivated the spores. "A reduction in germs can be observed immediately after application. A temporary reduction in the pH value of the skin creates an environment that is unfriendly to bacteria, which means that any remaining bacteria can’t multiply as quickly," says Kogelheide.

With their findings, the researchers have not only proved that cold plasma has an antimicrobial effect. They also confirmed that plasma produces nitric oxide, which can help seal wounds. "If we could replace wound healing creams with plasma treatment some time soon, that would be a huge step forward," points out Kogelheide. This is because cold plasma can be applied without physical contact. "Unlike creams, plasma applications significantly reduce the risk of infection," explains the researcher.

Glim Skin

Kogelheide is convinced of the beneficial properties of cold plasma. "We use plasma to make the environment unattractive for bacteria, viruses and fungi. We don’t damage any body cells in the process." Kogelheide therefore founded the start-up Glim Skin in 2022 to make the technology accessible to as many people as possible. "Glim Skin is a technology-based cosmetic product designed to combat cosmetic skin conditions. It uses the properties of cold plasma to specifically treat inflammatory skin irritations and promote a healthy complexion," explains Kogelheide.

Unlike many conventional cosmetic products, the Glim Skin plasma technology is free of chemicals and environmentally friendly. "Right from the start, our goal was to develop a long-lasting product that is free from harmful substances, highly repairable and recyclable. It is also important to us to manufacture Glim Skin locally, in order to avoid long transportation routes."