A group of scientists from the Indian Academy of Scientific and Innovative Research announced the creation of a cream that helps protect the skin from frost. Article describing the invention published in ACS Publications.

To do this, they combined dimethyl sulfoxide and polyvinyl alcohol. These components are often used in the cryopreservation of cells in the laboratory: dimethyl sulfoxide prevents the formation of ice crystals inside the cells, and alcohol – between them, and also protects against damage to the outer membranes.

After several experiments, they managed to determine the optimal ratio of components. The resulting mixture, which they called SynAFP, provided an 80 percent cell survival rate. Then it was mixed with regular aloe vera cream.

This modified cream was tested on mice. It was applied to the skin of the experimental animals 15 minutes before a strong cooling. Comparison with a control group that did not receive such treatment showed that the cream helped to reduce the number of frostbite injuries, as well as reduce tissue damage and inflammation. In this case, the resulting wounds healed faster.

More research is needed to create a commercial product: it is not yet clear how often such a cream needs to be reapplied on the skin and how well it works on humans. Also, applying the cream 30 minutes prior to chilling did not provide frostbite protection, so the formula may need tweaking.