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A Holistic Care Approach to Skin Research: Targeting Vascular Reactivity

Skin Care

Skin aging is accelerated by such factors as the external environment, lifestyle, and psychological stress. To overcome the impact of these factors, we need to go beyond conventional skin care that works on the skin itself and explore ways to prevent or reverse skin aging through a systemic approach to the physiological functions of our body. That's why we are pioneering a new holistic beauty-oriented research field that integrates the expertise in dermatology and health science we have nurtured over the years.

One target of holistic beauty research at Kao is vascular reactivity. Just beneath the skin's surface is a network of tiny blood vessels called capillaries that deliver oxygen and nutrients to skin cells and carry away unwanted carbon dioxide, waste products, and so forth. However, these capillaries are not always filled with a steady flow of blood, but blood flow is continually adjusted, so that blood is channeled to where it is most needed. In our research we evaluated this capacity to adjust blood flow (vascular reactivity) by measuring how quickly skin temperature returned to normal after cooling with cold water (Figure 1). We found that vascular reactivity tended to decline with age and that subjects with lower vascular reactivity were more apt to suffer from scaly or dry skin on the cheeks, arms, and shins (Figure 2). Our research clearly established this correlation for the first time.

Next, we examined the efficacy of carbon dioxide gas and chlorogenic acid-two substances that already found their pleiotropic effects in Kao's Human Health Care research to determine if they could benefit the skin by enhancing vascular reactivity. We found that a skin-care preparation including carbon dioxide gas improved vascular reactivity topically, and that a drink containing chlorogenic acid improved vascular reactivity systemically. The study also identified skin benefits with respect to moisture content, scaling, and brightness. In 2015, Kao launched new products making use of these technologies.

A Holistic Care Approach to Skin Research: Targeting Vascular Reactivity

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Figure 1 : Index of  vascular reactivity

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Figure 2 : Correlation between systemic vascular reactivity and skin roughness

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