Patent Awarded for Changing Color Perception

7 November 2013
A new method for changing skin-color perception based on quantum and optical principles applied to cosmetic preparations has won three physicists a patent that could pave the way for its deployment for changing the appearance of facial color from red, blue or yellow to white.
The researchers are from the City College of New York, which is affiliated with the Institute of Ultrafast Spectroscopy and Lasers (IUSL). The team was led by IUSL director Robert R. Alfano and was helped by research associate Xiaohui Ni, whose role was key for calculating the optical effects on nanometer-size particles.
Color perception by individuals is contingent on how the object they are looking at scatters and emits light. By understanding the physical properties of light, these properties can be used to alter color perception, Alfano said. When added together, red, green and blue make white and if we cover yellowish skin with a preparation allowing it to scatter blue light as well as yellow light, it could appear white, he added.
Often, unusual facial skin appearances are a result of medical conditions, such as cyanosis, insufficient flow of oxygen to tissues near the skin, which can cause blue coloration of the skin. Rosacea is another common condition, which makes the skin redden.
According to the patent abstract, the essence of the method lies in the selection of the right size and materials of particles contained in cosmetic preparations and in their application to the skin, when the scattering and/or emission from micro- and nano-particles produces an additional color that is similar to the complementary color of the skin. The combination of the color produced by the particles and the reflect color from the skin can make the skin whiter or make the hyperchromic portion of the skin inconspicuous.