The sun might be a threat to us in the summer when we get sunburnt. But Alex is 10,000 times more sensitive to UV light than most of the people. It’s as if he were allergic to the sun, like this two-years-old girl from Langley, who has Erythropoietic protoporphyria (EPP).
Alex is 25 years old, and he has a different rare condition called xeroderma pigmentosum. He was first diagnosed with the disease when he was a baby, and his skin immediately blistered as the sun touched it.
3D Technology to Help People With Xeroderma Pigmentosum
Until receiving his “second skin” mask, he would go out with a mask and a visor, even when it’s clouded.
Xeroderma pigmentosum made his skin unable to repair the damage caused at DNA level by sunlight.
Thanks to inventor Zoe Laughlin, Alex can now go outside with a mask that looks like his face. Laughlin needed two months to build the mask for Alex. She used thousands of photos of his face and created a 3D model. Using 3D technology and silicon, she created the perfect mask which can block UV light.
Both Alex and his mother are stunned to see the mask:
“I didn’t think it would be possible,” he said, while his mother added that “even in my wildest dreams I wouldn’t have dreamed it up.”
The first time when she took Alex outside – who was only a baby, his skin started blistering. In a television show, she shared some photos of the baby with the face, hands, and legs burnt. The second time she took Alex outside, she saw his skin blistering again.
After visiting a doctor, the baby was diagnosed with xeroderma pigmentosum. The doctors advised the parents that the baby should “live by night,” but the mother didn’t want to lock away her son. She built him herself a mask and a visor so that he could enjoy the outdoors.
Unfortunately, Alex also has learning difficulties and partial hearing loss. Moreover, he is also at a higher risk of developing skin cancer.
Thanks to Zoe Laughlin, Alex’s new “second skin” allows him a safe walk in the outdoors.
Rex Austinwas born and raised in Thunder Bay Ontario on the shores of Lake Superior. Apart from running his own podcast (Ice Fishing And Other “Cool” Things), he spends his time canoeing and backpacking in Northern Ontario.. As a journalist Rex has published stories for Global News (Thunder Bay) we well as Buzz Feed and Joystiq. As a contributor to Great Lakes Ledger, Rex most covers science and health stories. Contact Rexhere