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Consumer Perspective—Skin Types and Sensory Experience
By: Katerina Steventon, PhD, FaceWorkshops
Posted: March 30, 2012, from the April 2012 issue of Cosmetics & Toiletries.
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Natural skin care formulations are also rising in popularity, and they often contain plant oils that may, contrary to their soothing connotations, cause problems for skin types with impaired skin barrier. For instance, research suggests that oleic acid, an unsaturated fatty acid and a transdermal penetration enhancer, can disturb epidermal barrier function in children with atopic dermatitis.7 In this author’s view, this detriment could be extended to all skin types with weak barrier function, in those who are genetically predisposed or those afflicted by external stressors. Oleic and palmitoleic acids, present in plant oils such as olive, grape seed and sea buckthorn, have been shown to induce epidermal hyperplasia, clinically manifesting as scaly skin and abnormal follicular keratinization (implicated in acne) in animal models.8
Older consumers with oily skin types are often concerned about increased sebum excretion and are reluctant to apply moisturizers. Emollient fluids that combine glycerin, dicaprylyl carbonate and cyclomethicone with absorbent rice powder therefore work best to achieve a light texture that feels soft and smooth without leaving a greasy residue.
In today’s fast-paced culture, consumers also expect to see noticeable results, immediately failing to recognize that skin care efficacy requires time. This instant gratification is provided by pleasant textures and fragrances and the feeling of an “instant effect” after application. For example, a self-heating mask could provide an instant pore-opening effect through the thermal action of a zeolite since this microporous aluminosilicate mineral emits heat when transitioning from a dehydrated to a hydrated form. These are the elements that provide the daily skin care narrative with some excitement.9
It is important to recognize the value consumers attach to the texture and fragrance of their skin care products. The pleasure associated with applying skin care encourages compliance, and each skin type seeks different textures and fragrances to connect them with a sense of touch, their childhood memories and reassuring rituals. The challenge in formulating correctly for specific skin types lies in understanding concerns associated with these skin types in detail, yet keeping the categories simple enough for consumers to navigate easily through the overwhelming skin care market.
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2. LS Baumann, The Baumann Skin Typing System, in Textbook of Aging Skin, MA Farage, KW Miller and HI Maibach, eds, Springer Verlag, Berlin/Heidelberg, Germany (2010) p 88
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6. P Kondhia, Estée Lauder launches anti-aging cream specifically targeting European woman, Cosmetic Design Europe, www.cosmeticsdesign-europe.com/Market-Trends/Estee-Lauder-launches-anti-ageing-cream- specifically-targeting-European-women (Accessed on Feb 2, 2012)
7. K Schaefer, Mild Cleansing, Effective Preservation for Baby Care, Cosm & Toil 125(5) 16 (2010)
8. Y Katsuta, T Iida, S Inomata and M Denda, Unsaturated fatty acids induce calcium influx into keratinocytes and cause abnormal differentiation of epidermis, J Invest Dermatol 124(5) 1008–13 (2005)
9. S Irvine, Skin Deep, Vogue 1 162–165 (2008)