When a body is undergoing a transformation, it becomes important to wash the material and remove the contaminants that can damage it, says Sangeeta Kaul, a plastic surgeon and co-founder of the Body Healing Centre of India (BICI).
For this, Kaul’s team has created a unique plastic material called stone fabrics.
“Stone fabrics are designed for body maintenance.
When a patient has a major skin issue, we’ll put a small layer of stone fabrics on the surface of their skin, and then it becomes a permanent cover,” she says.
Kaul says the fabric can be applied to all kinds of skin problems, including eczema, skin cancer, burns and other skin disorders.
“We’ve done some tests with skin-lightening products and it seems to be good for those patients who have dark patches and patches of dark skin, who suffer from melanoma and are at high risk of developing it,” she adds.
Kulan Bhattacharya, who runs a plastic surgery practice in Bengaluru, says the stone fabric is an alternative to conventional plastic surgery.
“In our practice, the patient’s condition is usually severe and we would normally be looking for skin lightening products to help them to control their skin lighten,” he says.
“But if we get an urgent condition that requires a radical change in skin, then we’ve come up with stone fabrics for a solution.”
The stone fabric helps skin maintain its shape and is not meant to be used for skin-tightening treatments, such as facial rejuvenation.
Kulkarni Devi, a dermatologist in Mumbai, agrees that the stone fabrics are not meant for cosmetic skin care.
“I’ve never been a fan of the use of stones in skin care because it is a cosmetic treatment, which doesn’t do any good for the skin,” she explains.
“The problem with stones is that they are very toxic and it is very hard to clean them properly,” Devi says.
Devi says stone fabrics have the potential to help with cosmetic skin issues such as eczemas, acne and hyperpigmentation.
“For skin issues, I find it useful to have stone fabrics in the skin care routine,” she notes.
The plastic surgery community in India is very supportive of the stone fabrication, says Devanika Agrawal, a surgeon at a private surgery hospital in Mumbai.
Agrawa says the plastic surgeons are well aware that they may be the first to create a material for skin care, and are confident in its quality and the fact that it will help the patients.
“When I first started my practice, I was only making skin-care products, but when we started working with the stones, we began to make more and more cosmetic products, and eventually we started making a lot of products for cosmetic use,” she tells Quartz.
Agawal says it was a natural progression for her to work with stone fabric.
“A plastic surgeon will have a very good understanding of what is going on in the body and the function of the skin, so he will be able to create the best product for the patient,” she argues.
“My patients have been happy with the product and the way it is being made.”
Agawa says it is important for plastic surgeons to understand that it is not the plastic material that is the problem, but the plastic surgery team who has failed to meet the skin condition.
“Somebody who has been practicing plastic surgery for many years should be able and willing to understand what is happening in the patient, what are their symptoms, how the skin responds to treatment and how to help the patient to control the condition,” she asserts.
For Agawas practice, she has partnered with a dermatology centre in Mumbai to offer the stone cloths for free to the cosmetic surgeons.
The clinic will supply the stone cotton cloths to the plastic surgeries to help in their training.
Kankulas group of plastic surgeons in Bengal, says they are keen on the project, but not sure about the material that will be used in their surgeries.
“It is a big challenge, because it will take a lot time for us to get the material ready,” Kankula says.
For the dermatologists, the material is the right one, but they need to know how to clean the stones properly before the plastic surgeon uses them.
“There is nothing wrong with the material, but we need to be careful about the quality of the material we are using.
We will be sending out a questionnaire to the doctors and plastic surgeons asking them how they would like to use the material in their plastic surgery procedures,” Kaul adds.