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Wednesday, 29 August, 2001, 16:36 GMT 17:36 UK
Anti-wrinkle pioneers' US success
Women undergoing skin treatment
Laser inventors hope to banish cream treatments
A revolutionary anti-wrinkle treatment developed by scientists in Swansea is conquering the lucrative US market.

Devised at the University of Wales, Swansea, the NLite anti-wrinkle system consists of a pioneering laser which regenerates collagen to fill in wrinkles around the eyes.

We can stimulate regeneration of collagen. We think that's a breakthrough.

Mark Clements, inventor

The painless product is helping Llanelli-based manufacturer ICN Photonics, a subsidiary of a major multi-national, on the way to world-wide success.

Up to 150 in the US and almost 70 in Europe have adopted the technique, which is cheaper than conventional cosmetic surgery, costing up to 1,200 for a full treatment.

A major advertising campaign was launched in America in July after US authorities cleared the system for use across the country.

World-wide success

And such success in America means ICN is set to grow its 50-strong-based workforce to cope with the demand at a time when other high-tech companies are laying off staff.

The product works by a laser being shone around wrinkled or sun-scarred skin around the eyes which begins replenishing collagen - the rubbery substance which affords a youthful complexion - without marking the surface.

Over-exposure to sun can cause wrinkled skin
Within a month, it is claimed that patients begin to see the effects of reduced ageing.

Inventor Professor Marc Clements, the university's entrepreneurship chief and chair of ICN, said: "As we grow older, we laugh and cry and smile and the skin begins to age.

"Smoking accelerates that process, as does over-exposure to the sun.

"We can stimulate regeneration of that collagen. We think that's a breakthrough.

As we grow older, we laugh and cry and smile and the skin begins to age.

Mark Clements, inventor
"Maybe that's a bit arrogant but we're getting some great results."

ICN claims patients can even visit their doctor over a lunch break and return to work without any visible effects.

It follows the launch of the CoolTouch laser gun, a similar product which offers the same benefits, in 1998.

But the Welsh invention is busily cornering the international market.

ICN now hopes to apply the technology to removing acne and stretch marks.

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