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DSM Personal Care continues its quest into ethnic skin diversity with new findings on the role of skin pigmentation in facial stratum corneum barrier integrity

Kaiseraugst, CH, 12 Nov 2014 12:00 CET

Last month DSM Personal Care presented new data under its CORNEOCARE™ innovation platform demonstrating the differences in skin hydration among different skin ethnicities. Today, we are excited to share the new research finding on the role of skin pigmentation in facial stratum corneum (SC) barrier integrity and a repair capacity.

One of the protective pigmentation evolution theories states that people with darker skin tone have a better barrier function. It is based on the hypothesis that epidermal pigmentation evolved in response to environmental stress to the permeability barrier leading to the formation of a more compact and cohesive stratum corneum in relation to the pigmentary process, and therefore led to an enhanced barrier function.

In cooperation with the Photobiology Laboratory, Medusa Campus, UL, South Africa and AVR Consulting, UK, DSM Personal Care performed a study on SC barrier characteristics among Caucasian, Albino African and Black African subjects to gain deeper insights in this field.

The study revealed that pigmentation does not appear to play a role in the facial stratum corneum barrier integrity and repair capability. On the contrary, Albino African subjects’ cheek SC barrier integrity and repair capability proved to be superior to that of  Black African and Caucasian subjects. Also the SC of the Albino African group was found to be approximately 67% thicker (p≤0.001) on the cheek compared with the Caucasian group and 35% thicker than the Black African subjects, whereas this data point was comparable between the Black African and the Caucasian groups.

A thicker stratum corneum  and relatively faster repair capacity on the cheeks of the  Albino African subjects suggests that their skin has responded to an external UV challenge to strengthen essential skin barrier functions in order to protect the skin against UV radiation. Such drastic differences among different skin ethnicities confirms the demand for dedicated solutions to answer the needs of millions of consumers worldwide.

Rainer Voegeli, Senior Scientist Skin Biology at DSM and one of the authors of the findings, comments: “At DSM Personal Care understanding the differences among ethnic groups remains one of the key focus areas in the epidermal science. This research work builds on the unmet need of millions of consumers looking for tailor-made solutions. The reasons for our findings are currently under investigation at the biochemical level and will provide the solid base for future substantial innovations in effective, multi-ethnic moisturizing care.”