the science of skincare for beautiful skin

OMEGA 6 Supplements & Skin Health

Skin barrier breakdown is a frequent condition and clinically presents as compromised skin [a patch of eczema, scaly and rough dry skin texture, skin sensitivity and redness] or a wound. 

The skin acts as a barrier between internal and external environments protecting the body from mechanical damage, external substances, pathogens and irradiation. Changes associated with ageing and the accumulation of exogenous damage can alter skin function affecting skin health and appearance.



In order to be effective, nutritional supplementation should reinforce the skin barrier function to withstand these structural and functional changes.


Having reviewed the evidence, it seems to suggest that oral GLA [γ–Linolenic acid] supplements can improve skin barrier function. 

  • A 6% to 31% improvement in skin barrier was reported, which is in line with clinical improvements observed in the elderly; dry and sensitive skin; skin texture; itching; and perceived appearance.
  • The studies that observed no changes in skin barrier though reported other benefits induced by supplementation, e.g., clinical improvement of dry skin texture and increased collagen deposition.
  • However, body weight [BMI] and health status [pro-inflammatory markers in plasma] as well as seasonal changes can impact on the efficacy of the supplement.

OMEGA 3 – fish oils and safflower oil do not seem to have the same benefit.


Please read the scientific paper in full.

Skin Sensation & Sebum Profiling

Market research experts ask frequently “What sensations do consumers look for in a moisturiser and why?”..

What “feels good” to a consumer is driven by biology.

Skin feel of a moisturiser depends on skin type – yet skin type is subjective to a consumer. Oily skin types find most moisturisers to “feel heavy or sticky”, whilst mature and dry skin types cannot “find rich enough” moisturiser on the market.

Sebum production seems to define the dry to oily spectrum at large – yet point-of-care sebum quantification & profiling have not been given enough of attention to date. 

Sebum, hydration and skin barrier function differ, depending on ethnic group and age. It is both the amount of sebum as well as its content that affect skin condition [and facilitate skin feel].

hydrated skin

  • US AFRICAN AMERICANS. African American women produce more sebum than Caucasian women. When looking at the sebum profile, wax esters are the class of lipids significantly higher in African American women [non polar, long, highly hydrophobic molecules that act as a barrier against excessive hydration or dehydration]. This correlates with better skin hydration, barrier function and probably also “oilier skin feel” in this ethnic group.
  • BRITISH CAUCASIANS. Sebum has a moisturizing or conditioning effect on any skin type. In general, oilier skin types seem to have better skin barrier but some of my Caucasian clients have oily and highly sensitive skin types that change through the cycle too. In my view, they have a weak barrier function and their sebum irritates their skin.

What sensations are consumers looking for? Comfort and soothing feel. Different per skin type, each to their own. Sebum profiling would allow us to explain these differences and formulate more personalised facial skincare.



French Women & Beauty Motivation

Image conscious French women beat their European neighbours to first place in spending on facial skincare products – it is an important part of their beauty routine. Let’s compare the 2009 and 2015 trends & figures.


Nearly two thirds (62%) of French women were reported to be using anti-wrinkle products [Mintel 2009]; a significantly higher observation compared to the 2015 study (in my view, not due to a drop in usage but a different group & methods of interview).

  • Fine lines and wrinkles are the top ageing concern for women in France (63%, 2009 – also top in 2015)
  • Dark under-eye circles and sunken eyes is a second top concern of the French (46%, 2009 – a concern that was marked highly in 2015)

The predicted beauty trend of “cosmetic science to continue capitalise on advances in biochemistry and medicine in skincare” is still in there..

The Turbo Beauty Trend features more quasi-medical results and “mix-it-yourself”solutions, such as at-home kits, cures and gadgets”.

The motivation behind facial beauty for the French can be their Je ne sais quoi: looking chic in an effortless way..

Being attractive even if not conventionally “pretty”, being self-assured. Living well, enjoying great quality.

  • French women have a sense of style, figure out what works for them and update it with small, seasonal touches [including skincare].
  • Feeling good is as important as looking good. Facial treatments are not luxuries — no matter how busy your life is.
  • The “no pain, no gain” school of thought is not popular. They practise the pleasure principle – do what makes you feel and look great and there will be a positive effect on your physique and well-being.
  • Happiness depends on feeling “bien dans sa peau” (feeling good in your own skin).
  • French women may be in a hurry but they are dressed and groomed. Feeling good is about looking good, respect for yourself and the world around you. Minimal, natural make up, a lipstick that suits, a signature scent. And a healthy complexion.

Last but not least.. Age is no reason to give up on looking and feeling great. French celebrities — Isabelle Hupert, Isabelle Adjani, Juliette Binoche, Ines de la Fressange  are well past 40 and revered for their beauty and appeal.



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