In these uncertain times, many consumers are looking to wellness rituals as an antidote to the stresses of daily life. Moreover, the global health crisis has placed more importance on well-being than ever. This approach to wellness is holistic; people want to nurture their minds and bodies, so they can feel comfortable in their own skin. Addressing common skin complaints like dry desquamation, for example, are a popular ritual.
These feel-good rituals are relevant across demographics. According to research by Euromaster, 51% of consumers chose “time for myself” amongst their top three lifestyle priorities. Meanwhile, Mintel reports that 36% of Generation Z in the United States have spent more time on self-care routines since the pandemic.
So how can brands respond to this need for comfort and self-care? Skin hydration is key to enhancing confidence and comfort, so richly hydrating products are a powerful response to this demand. Provital’s proposal is AquaxtremTM.
Protecting against dry desquamation
The skin has a number of mechanisms that enable it to maintain adequate hydric status. In the epidermis, one of the most important is the natural moisturizing factor (NMF), which retains water through the action of several humectant molecules. Another is the barrier effect, which is an action performed mainly by intercellular lipids, which reduces water loss towards the skin’s exterior.
Both the NMF and the skin barrier are created by keratinocytes during their maturation and progression towards the skin’s surface. Throughout this process keratinocytes change their appearance and morphology, distinguishing the stratum spinosum, the stratum granulosum, and finally, the stratum corneum, where we find lifeless cornified cells (corneocytes).
These changes in keratinocytes are due to the implementation of a differentiation program that, among other actions, determines the production of proteins, lipids, and enzymes. These compounds are necessary for the maintenance of correct moisturization of the epidermis. To enhance moisture and combat dry desquamation, skincare products can either add these elements or encourage the skin to produce them itself.
Stimulating the skin’s moisturizing functions
Stimulating skin’s own moisturizing mechanisms is a preferable approach, as it can create long-term relief. AquaxtremTM is designed to do just this; by stimulating keratinocytes through the activation of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPARs), this active ingredient triggers the skin’s own moisturizing mechanisms. This is possible via an active fraction obtained from the roots of Rheum rhaponticum (rhubarb).
PPARs are transcription factors that have been shown to regulate cellular differentiation and proliferation, inflammatory responses, and the skin barrier function (Schmuth, 2008; Feingold, 2011). The synthesis of epidermal lipids can be stimulated by the activators of PPARs and this positive influence on the cellular structure of the skin’s natural barrier demonstrates that PPARs are potential agents for skin hydration (Halvarsson, 2007; Schmuth, 2008). PPARγ is the specific transcription factor present during keratinocyte differentiation.
Acting on hydration on a cellular level
After confirming the stimulation of PPARγ by a fraction of Rheum rhaponticum via in vitro tests, the benefits were demonstrated via in vivo trials. A panel of women with dry skin applied a formulation containing AquaxtremTM on their arms and legs, twice daily for 28 days.
The hydration of the skin’s surface layers was evaluated using a Corneometer® on the skin. Readings were made at three different times: before treatment, the day after the end of the treatment, and three days after having finished. Subsequently, these readings were compared to a control group.
Provital observed a long-term benefit of AquaxtremTM; the skin was 11.6% more hydrated after treatment and remained 9.6% more hydrated than the control group after the treatment ceased. This confirmed the long-term action against dry desquamation as a result of the stimulation of the skin’s natural defenses.
Proven results from a natural source
Moreover, this is achieved via natural means, which taps into another dimension of skin comfort. Consumers don’t only feel soft, smooth, and comfortable in their own skin, they’re comforted by the safety associated with natural ingredients proven by science.
This is key in our current moment, where consumers want products they can trust. Even before the pandemic shifted emphasis to health and hygiene, 44% of consumers agreed that natural ingredients are safer than their synthetic counterparts (Mintel, 2019). As the global health crisis wears on, AquaxtremTM provides brands with a direct solution to these demands.