Industry Insight: Natural Therapy for Skin and Spirit—Avena sativa


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It’s impressive enough to extract and develop natural ingredients for formulas that effectively restore dry skin. It’s on another level to do so for the compromised skin of cancer treatment patients while improving their quality of life. This is the focus of recent work conducted by Johnson & Johnson Consumer Health (J&J).

Cosmetics & Toiletries learned more about this research in a video interview with Simarna Kaur (SK), Ph.D., platform leader and R&D fellow for translational science at J&J. She was recently honored with the company’s top research medal for “uncovering the power of naturals to holistically elevate skin health” for her work on a Blackberry Complex that increases skin elasticity. In the following excerpt, adapted from our interview, Kaur shares J&J’s research to improve the skin condition of cancer patients.

C&T: Describe some of your latest work in the naturals space.

SK: I’m excited to share some of the onco-dermatology work done by our consumer health teams on adult patients undergoing systemic cancer treatments. We know that most of these patients frequently report negative skin-related side effects such as dry skin and itch that impact their quality of life, but there are very few studies that evaluate potential remedies. Our deep understanding of the therapeutic benefits of Avena sativa (oat) led us to believe that a daily skin care regimen with oat could help to replenish the skin barrier in these patients. In fact, oat has a long history of safety and efficacy in alleviating dryness and itch in a variety of dermatosis.

In a clinical study, patients using our oat-containing regimen reported significant improvements in dry skin and itch during the five-week study period. They also perceived significant improvements in their quality of life, as measured by Skindex-16 scoring.

C&T: How might these findings be applied in a future product?

SK: When it comes to natural ingredients for skin health, our teams have years of experience and expertise in working with them, which we apply to new product development. We know that working with natural ingredients is not always easy, so we go through rigorous steps to ensure that when we formulate with naturals, we maintain their bioactivity.

In addition, our products go through robust safety and clinical efficacy studies to ensure they deliver strong skin health benefits. We are also very selective in where we source our ingredients; for example, for our prebiotic oat, we specifically source it from areas with cooler temperatures that increase its protective and re-hydrating properties.

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