the science of skincare for beautiful skin

The Proof IS In The Mirror

My recent column in Cosmetics & Toiletries looks into skin diagnostics and the way we judge the efficacy of our skincare products at home.

Living in the digital world of self-scrutiny – and “on-display” – through social media further fuels consumers’ expectations.

Smart beauty devices are becoming reality as the “quantified-self trend” grows with the number of sensors available to monitor our body vital signs.

davina ultralift campaign

Are you using any of the at-home diagnostic devices or online apps that can assess your skin status and/or track the progression of your skin concerns over time?

I would like to hear from you. Please email me on

Photo by Garnier [marketing campaign 2011]




Monitoring Pollution Damage

Living in [or Visiting] London, Rome, Los Angeles, Mexico City, Beijing or another mega-city? The damage by pollution might be as important than UV A damage for you! The Anti-Ageing Skincare Conference in London last week advanced our understanding of the mechanisms by which environmental pollution – soot, particular matter (PM), nitric oxide etc. – damages and prematurely ages facial skin.

Latin America [Mexico City on the photo above] & Asia Lead in Awareness – Symrise (France) have interviewed consumers in 11 countries (2500 people) on awareness of pollution being perceived as a primary cause of skin problems. 


More than 80 % of consumers believe that skin absorbs pollutants.

In fact, PM10, PM2.5 don’t penetrate the skin but the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) they are loaded with do – inducing reactive oxygen species (ROS) and altering cell function. 

  • Brazil, Mexico and Pakistan and India are most sensitive to dust and dirt – followed by Russia and China.
  • Consumers in these countries are prepared to pay for protecting their skin  against pollution, they show a greater urge to act. 

Premature skin ageing induced by air pollution is visible as PM increase pigment spot formation. High awareness countries run PM surveillance – consumers check pollution levels paying attention to forecast of air quality and intentionally protecting their skin with anti-pollution skincare. I have written about anti-pollution ingredients  recently. The new actives in the pipeline either temporarily bind to a specific receptors to disable PAH binding to skin cells or work to protect the cells and minimise inflammation. They still require an in-use clinical trial in a polluted mega-city to demonstrate clinical benefits.

Continue reading “Monitoring Pollution Damage”

Skin Coloration: Baseline & Dynamics

Skin coloration changes with ageing – low optical contrast (of even pigmentation) represents a desirable attribute. Facial skin appearance can monitor and motivate our health and it has been the Olay-funded research since 2007 that highlighted the impact of skin colour on the visual perception of health. Looking at a Caucasian PANTONE chart, there is a spectrum of original baseline skin colour. Can you find yours?


There are also changes of skin colour during the menstrual cycle. A 2015 study has shown that red facial coloration is an important social cue of woman’s fertility. The vasodilatory effects of estradiol impacts on red facial coloration change during the cycle.  Also, HRT use in menopause leads to an increase of red intensity value after a year of treatment.

Make-up masks the biology – foundation can cover these changes yet a blusher flaunts the “fertile window” all the time. More debate on “the face of fertility” & attractiveness here, happy reading!


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