Orthorhombic Phase Stabilization for Internal Occlusion: A New Mechanism for Skin Moisturization

Jun 1, 2009 | Contact Author | By: Johann W. Wiechers, PhD, JW Solutions
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Title: Orthorhombic Phase Stabilization for Internal Occlusion: A New Mechanism for Skin Moisturization
corneometerx FTIRx humectantx occlusionx SAXDx skin capacitancex skin moisturizationx stabilization of the orthorhombic phasex
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Keywords: corneometer | FTIR | humectant | occlusion | SAXD | skin capacitance | skin moisturization | stabilization of the orthorhombic phase

Abstract: While humectants and occlusive agents are the most commonly accepted approaches to moisturize skin, earlier work indicates a third approach: orthorhombic phase stabilization. In the present article, the author describes this novel mechanism of hydration and its detection by conventional and nonconventional methods, suggesting this approach could serve as a basis for all skin moisturizing therapies.

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In 1997, Wiechers1 introduced the concept of relative performance measurement to compare the moisturization of several neat emollients. The capacitance of skin treated with test products was measured by a corneometer and compared with glycerin-treated skin (defined as 100%) and untreated skin (defined as 0%) at given intervals, normally 6 hr after application. As one might expect, this test showed that all emollients were not the same in their capacity to moisturize skin. Emollients offered either low moisturization performance (0–30% relative performance moisturization (RPM)), medium RPM (30–70%), high RPM (70–100%), or excellent RPM (> 100%).Two structurally similar emollients interestingly imparted completely different moisturization performance: isopropyl isostearate (IPIS), with an RPM of 100%; and isostearyl isostearate (ISIS) with a score of only 15%, as illustrated in Figure 1.

Molecular modelling of all emollients in the study revealed that the mechanisms of IPIS and ISIS to impart moisture did not adhere to the two generally accepted means of moisturizing skin—i.e., acting either as a humectant or sponge, such as a hygroscopic molecule like glycerin does; or working as a plastic cling wrap or Saran Wrapa, as substantive molecules in petroleum jelly do.2 This hinted at a possible third mechanism of skin moisturization.

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Table 1. Skin hydration measurements taken via various techniques

 Table 1. Skin hydration measurements taken via various techniques 

 

Figure 1. Relative performance testing

 Figure 1. Relative performance testing

Figure 2. NIR spectra

 Figure 2. NIR spectra

Figure 3. Cryo-SEM of untreated full-thickness human skin

 Figure 3. Cryo-SEM of untreated full-thickness human skin 

Figure 4. Cryo-scanning electron microscopy

 Figure 4. Cryo-scanning electron microscopy

Figure 5. Schematic of skin lipid organization

 Figure 5. Schematic of skin lipid organization

Figure 6. SAXD spectra of untreated skin

 Figure 6. SAXD spectra of untreated skin

Figure 7. FTIR data at 32ºC

 Figure 7. FTIR data at 32ºC 

Wiechers Occlusion footnote

 a Saran Wrap is a registered trademark of S.C. Johnson & Son, Inc.

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