#BeautyRecap: April 3rd, 2018

Products and Reviews

A preview of MAC Cosmetics’ Aaliyah inspired collection

Rihanna reveals Fenty Beauty’s Fair Bomb glitter body powder

A look at Urban Decay’s Beached Summer Beauty collection

A look at Patrick Starr and MAC Cosmetics’ latest collaboration

Nannette de Gaspe launches skincare collection

All Milk Makeup products are now vegan

A look at TruSkin Naturals Vitamin C serum

Skincare and Beauty

Gwen Stefani is reportedly launching a makeup line called P8NT

Allure recommends 13 sunscreens for people with deeper skin tones

Ren pledges to be a zero-waste beauty company by 2021

A look at the acne-positivity movement

Naomi Campbell urges Vogue to launch an African edition

Model Duckie Thot shares her beauty routine

Six models at Seoul Fashion Week reveal skincare tips their mothers’ gave them

A look at dermaplaning by Sarah Kinonen at Allure

6 founders of “green” and “natural” skincare brands share the products they can’t live without

Chloe Hall of Elle’s experience at elf cosmetics BeautyScape

“Working in beauty empowered me to come out as Trans”, Lauren Sundstrom’s story

An interview with dermatologist Dr. Tina Alster

Asia and World

Cambodia destroys over 60 tonnes of counterfeit cosmetics

Research and Innovation

A healthy diet in women is associated with less facial wrinkles in a large Dutch population-based cohort

Accelerated barrier recovery and enhancement of the barrier integrity and properties by topical application of a pH 4 compared to a pH 5.8 w/o emulsion in aged skin

Optimizing the use of topical retinoids in Asian acne patients
The Journal of Dermatology – Japan

Specific barrier response profiles after experimentally induced skin irritation in vivo
Contact Dermatitis

Paucity of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender health-related content in the basic dermatology curriculum
JAMA Dermatology

Ischemic oculomotor nerve palsy due to hyaluronic acid filler injection
Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology

Turmeric tonic as a treatment in scalp psoriasis: A randomized placebo‐control clinical trial
Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology

Photodynamic therapy interventions in facial photodamage: A systematic review
Actas Dermo-Sifiliograficas

Photodynamic therapy for esthetic-cosmetic indications
Giornale Italiano di Dermatologia e Venereologia

High fat diet exacerbates early psoriatic skin inflammation independent of obesity: Saturated fatty acids as key players

Severe disruption and disorganization of dermal collagen fibrils in early striae gravidarum

Skin cancer risk and the use of UV nail lamps
The Australasian Journal of Dermatology

Effect of age, gender, and sun exposure on ethnic skin photoaging: Evidence gathered using a new photonumeric scale
Journal of the National Medical Association

Atmospheric skin aging – Contributors and inhibitors
Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology

Multi-center, double-blind, vehicle-controlled clinical trial of an alpha and beta defensin-containing anti-aging skin care regimen with clinical, histopathologic, immunohistochemical, photographic, and ultrasound evaluation

An acne survey from the world’s largest annual gathering of twins

Prospective, randomized, investigator-blinded, split-face evaluation of a topical crosslinked hyaluronic acid serum for post-procedural improvement of skin quality and biomechanical attributes

Dihydroxyacetone: A review

Dermatology on Instagram: An analysis of hashtags

Topical agents for scar management: Are they effective?

In vivo evaluation of some biophysical parameters of the facial skin of Indian subjects living in Mumbai. Part II: Variability with age and gender
International Journal of Cosmetic Science

Correlations between skin hydration parameters and corneocyte‐derived parameters to characterize skin conditions
Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology

Rice water: A traditional ingredient with antI-aging efficacy

Sun-protection behaviour, pubertal development and menarche: factors influencing the melanocytic nevi development. The results of an observational study on 1512 children
Journal of Investigative Dermatology

Unveiling skin macrophage dynamics explains both tattoo persistence and strenuous removal
The Journal of Experimental Medicine

Investigating the effect of eye cosmetics on the tear film: current insights
Clinical Optometry

Malignant melanoma associated with chronic once daily aspirin exposure in males: a large, single-center, urban, U.S. patient population cohort study from the Research on Adverse Drug events And Reports (RADAR) project

Everybody’s free to wear sunscreen

You’ve probably seen this photo of a man who received chronic UV exposure on the left side of his face over the course of 28 years working as a truck driver. While this shows the effect that UV has on the skin, what’s important to keep in mind is that windows only block UVB light whereas UVA is often passed through.

Chronic UVA exposure can result in thickening of the epidermis and stratum corneum, as well as destruction of elastic fibers.

Unfortunately, for those of us living in Canada, the US, and Australia the amount of UVA protection offered by sunscreens is only given in relative terms. The UVA circle logo, for example, let’s you know that the UVA protection is at least 1/3rd of the SPF protection of the sunscreen, but it’s not as informative as a UVA protection factor (UVAPF) or persistent pigmentation darkening (PPD) number. While the PA system used in some Asian countries is based on a PPD number, the data is compressed into categories.

My personal thought is that the UVA protection should be as close to the SPF protection as possible. These are the sunscreens that I personally recommend; based on UVA protection, how they feel and wear on the skin, and affordability. While there are many great sunscreens out there, many of them are too expensive for me and I end up “rationing” them – which is a no-no when it comes to sunscreen application.

Bioderma Photoderm MAX Spray SPF 50+ with UVAPF 33 is a large sized and affordable sunscreen with a moderately high UVAPF. It is a lipid based formula (Dicaprylyl Carbonate) which spreads easily and is not greasy on the skin. I recommend the larger 400 mL size which comes with a snap lock which makes it easy to travel with. I use this on face and body.

It prices out to about 10 US cents per mL.

Sunscreen filters in bold:

Aqua/water/eau, Dicaprylyl Carbonate, Octocrylene, Methylene Bis-benzotriazolyl Tetramethylbutylphenol [Nano], Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane, Bis-ethylhexyloxyphenol Methoxyphenyl Triazine, Cyclopentasiloxane, Methylpropanediol, Ectoin, Mannitol, Xylitol, Rhamnose, Fructooligosaccharides, Laminaria Ochroleuca Extract, Decyl Glucoside, C20-22 Alkyl Phosphate, C20-22 Alcohols, Xanthan Gum, Propylene Glycol, Citric Acid, Caprylic/capric Triglyceride, Sodium Hydroxide, Microcrystalline Cellulose, Pentylene Glycol, 1,2-Hexanediol, Caprylyl Glycol, Cellulose Gum, Disodium EDTA.

Ombrelle Ultra Light Advanced Weightless Body Lotion SPF 50 is another affordable sunscreen I recommend. Canada’s Ombrelle was acquired by L’Oreal which is why this product contains Mexoryl sunscreens, which are patented and used exclusively by L’Oreal companies. Because of regulations, the UVAPF or PPD is not able to be listed, but this does have the UVA circle logo. It contains 2% Mexoryl SX which is the stronger UVA absorber compared to Mexoryl XL. It is lightweight, dries quickly, affordable, and easily accessible for Canadians. While it is marketed as a body sunscreen, I use it on my face. It’s much lighter in texture compared to Ombrelle’s other sunscreens marketed for the face.

It prices out to about 12 US cents per mL.

Sunscreen filters in bold

Homosalate: 10%, Oxybenzone: 6%, Octisalate: 5%, Octocrylene: 5%, Avobenzone: 3%, Ecamsul (Mexoryl® SX): 2%. Others/Autres: Aqua, Cyclopentasiloxane, Alcohol Denat., Cyclohexasiloxane, Styrene/Acrylatescopolymer, Silica, Dicaprylyl Ether, PEG-30 Dipolyhydroxystearate, Dimethicone, Triethanolamine, Glycerin, Nylon-12 Polymethylsilsesquioxane, Dicaprylyl Carbonate, Tocopherol, Dodecene, Phenoxyethanol, PEG-8 Laurate, Poly C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate, Poloxamer 407, Caprylyl Glycol, Disteardimonium Hectorite,Disodium EDTA, Lauryl PEG

Sheer Zinc Face Dry-Touch Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 50 is a newer sunscreen and contains only Zinc Oxide as its sunscreen filter. Be warned, this has a very strong whitecast and a thick silicone texture which can pill. I find it best to apply this to small areas of the skin while blending thoroughly.

The reason why I recommend this sunscreen, despite its drawbacks, is based on a presentation that Johnson & Johnson gave at the 2017 American Academy of Dermatology’s Annual meeting showing that their 21.6% Zinc Oxide sunscreen had a UVAPF of 30. Other inorganic sunscreens I’ve seen have only been able to reach a UVAPF of about 18-25.

While the Neutrogena Sheer Zinc was not explicitly named, the launch time and Zinc Oxide content of 21.6% suggests to me that this is the product described.

They compared its absorption spectrum, in vitro, with other common inorganic sunscreens and were able to show that it absorbed more UVA in comparison

I must say again how strong the white cast is, hopefully in the future they release tinted versions!

Based on the above chart it’s likely that the tinted Elta MD SPF 41 with 9.0% Zinc Oxide and 7.0% Titanium Dioxide has a UVAPF of around 28, I’ve not personally tried the product, but I do know it is popular. It prices out to about 35 US cents per mL.

The Neutrogena Sheer Zinc prices out to about 15 US Cents per mL.

Sunscreen filters are in bold

Zinc Oxide 21.6%. Others: Water, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Styrene/acrylates Copolymer, Octyldodecyl Citrate Crosspolymer, Phenyl Trimethicone, Cetyl PEG/PPG-10/1 Dimethicone, Dimethicone, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Glycerin, Ethyl Methicone, Cetyl Dimethicone, Silica, Chrysanthemum Parthenium (Feverfew) Flower/leaf/stem Juice, Glyceryl Behenate, Phenethyl Alcohol, Caprylyl Glycol, Cetyl Dimethicone/bis-vinyldimethicone Crosspolymer, Acrylates/dimethicone Copolymer, Sodium Chloride, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin.

J.R.S. Gordon, J.C. Brieva, Unilateral Dermatoheliosis, The New England Journal of Medicine (2012), DOI: 10.1056/NEJMicm1104059

#BeautyRecap: March 27th, 2018

Products and Reviews

A look at Becca’s Chocolate Geode highlighter

A review of La Prairie’s $1200 USD Platinum Rare Cellular Night Elixir

A look at Melt Cosmetics’ Aaliyah inspired range

eos launches Aqua range of skincare products

A look at Bare Republic’s Neon Sunscreen Stick

ColourPop expanding its concealer shade offerings

Skincare and Beauty

Jackie Aina collaborating with Too Faced to expand their foundation range

Rachel Nussbaum’s experience with eyebrow transplants

“Nude is no longer one shade fits all” by Jessica Cruel and Amber Rambharose at Glamour

Adam Rippon shares his skin-care routine

US FDA investigating reports of tremolite asbestos in makeup

US FDA investigates reports of hair loss and burns from Monat hair care

Students at Mexico’s National Polytechnic Institute use mushrooms to develop cosmetics

“Why glycerin is the ultimate moisturizing ingredient in skin-care products” by Macaela Mackenzie at Allure

An overview of the patting skincare technique

Caitlyn Jenner had basal cell carcinoma removed from her nose

Rise in skin cancer diagnoses may be linked to indoor tanning bed use

Asia and World

List of products recalled due to antimony contamination
SCMP.com, TheInvestor.co.kr, BusinessKorea.co.kr

AmorePacific apologizes after antimony found in some of their cosmetics

A look at FANCL’s “preservative-free” ethos

Research and Innovation

Reducing the oral isotretinoin skin side effects: efficacy of 8% omega-ceramides, hydrophilic sugars, 5% niacinamide cream compound in acne patients
Giornale Italiano di Dermatologia e Venereologia

Anthocyanins from black soybean seed coat prevent radiation-induced skin fibrosis by downregulating TGF- β and Smad3 expression
Archives of Dermatological Research

Short-term LXR activation improves epidermal barrier features in mild-to-moderate atopic dermatitis: a randomized controlled trial
Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology

The use of hormonal antiandrogen therapy in female patients with acne: A 10-year retrospective study
American Journal of Clinical Dermatology

Facial changes in the mature patient
Clinics in Dermatology

Mechanism of cuticle hole development in human hair due to UV-radiation exposure

Anti-inflammatory effects of a mixture of lactic acid bacteria and sodium butyrate in atopic dermatitis murine model
Journal of Medicinal Food

UVA-photoprotective potential of silymarin and silybin
Archives of Dermatological Research

A modeling conundrum: Murine models for cutaneous wound healing
Journal of Investigative Dermatology

Propionibacterium acnes induces autophagy in keratinocytes: Involvement of multiple mechanisms
Journal of Investigative Dermatology

Aging-associated decline of epidermal PSMD8 contributes to impaired skin function
Journal of Investigative Dermatology

Punicalagin and epigallocatechin-3-gallate rescue cell viability and attenuate inflammatory responses of human epidermal keratinocytes exposed to airborne particulate matter
Skin Pharmacology and Physiology

Protective effect of curcumin against UVA irradiation ‑induced photoaging in human dermal fibroblasts
Molecular Medicine Reports

Adapalene 0.3% may help improve the appearance of atrophic acne scars

A group of researchers sponsored by Galderma, a subsidiary of Nestle, have published the results of a series of experiments looking at the effect that Adapalene had on the prevention and treatment of atrophic scarring as well as acne.

Source: Art of Dermatology

Atrophic scarring is caused by a loss of tissue, so they can appear as sunken areas in the skin or even as holes, commonly referred to as ‘ice pick’ scars.

There were three experiments in total, a pilot study with 20 participants that compared Adapalene 0.3% gel compared to a control vehicle, another pilot study with 31 participants comparing Adapalene 0.1% and Benzoyl Peroxide 2.5% gel with a control vehicle, and a larger study with 54 participants comparing Adapalene 0.3% and Benzoyl Peroxide 2.5% gel with a control vehicle.

All three experiments were pre-registered on ClinicalTrials.gov which helps reduce reporting bias. Often there is no incentive or reason to report on data from an experiment if there is no effect.

I’m going to focus on the latter paper as it has the most statistical power (> 80%) and the most clinically relevant results.

In brief, the experiment using Adapalene 0.1% with Benzoyl Peroxide 2.5% gel showed no change in the amount of atrophic scarring after 6 months of treatment, but people using the vehicle control saw an increase in scars (about 2 more scars after 6 months).

In the pilot study with Adapalene 0.3%, participants and investigators saw an improvement in scarring assessments at Week 1 and Week 24.

All three studies found a clinically relevant and statistically significant reduction in acne lesions for those using any Adapalene based gels.

With the Adapalene 0.3% with Benzoyl Peroxide 2.5% gel study, there was a statistically significant improvement in the scar assessment as early as Week 1.

By the end of the experiment at Week 25, there was a 15.5% decrease in a validated scar assessment scale – this worked out to about a mean decrease of 2 acne scars per half of the face.

Participants applied the Adapalene gel to only half of the face and the vehicle control on the other half, the researchers believe that if participants had applied the Adapalene gel to the whole face, there would be a decrease of a mean of about 4 acne scars for the entire face.

For the vehicle control side that contained no Adapalene, participants saw an increase of about 1.5 acne scars at the end of 24 weeks.

In terms of non-validated assessments, the amount of patients who responded to “How visible are the indents or holes to you?” with “A little visible” increased from 37.5% at Week 1 to 62.1% at Week 24.

Because some atrophic scarring can resolve on its own, the researchers believed the decrease in scarring with the Adapalene 0.3% and Benzoyl Peroxide 2.5% gel could be due to an increase in the speed of this resolution. For older scars, they believe that the Adapalene gel could be due to remodelling the dermis of the skin (possibly through stimulation of procollagen), improving their appearance.

Another factor would be the reduction in inflammatory acne lesions which could lead to new atrophic scarring formation.

The researchers point out that scar improvement was seen past 3 months, and that people using Adapalene may consider using the product for longer than 6 adapalene to help improve and prevent the appearance of atrophic scarring

In the US, Adapalene is now available over-the-counter as Differin with Adapalene at 0.1%. If you have moderate-to-severe acne with atrophic scarring you may consider speaking to your doctor and getting a prescription for the stronger 0.3%.

In terms of other retinoids, the researchers point out that there isn’t much research on topical use and improvement in atrophic scarring. For tretinoin I did find two studies, but they included other interventions in combination with the tretinoin. One used iontophoresis to enhance the penetration of tretinoin, and another used tretinoin in combination with microneedling. Both studies found improvement in atrophic scarring. Adapalene and other retinoids activate some of the same receptors, and since topical use of tretinoin has shown to increase procollagen as well, it’s likely that it will provide improvement on atrophic scarring as well.

B. Dreno, J. Tan, M. Rivier, P. Martel, R. Bissonnette, Adapalene 0.1%/benzoyl peroxide 2.5% gel reduces the risk
of atrophic scar formation in moderate inflammatory acne:
a split-face randomized controlled trial, Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology (2016), DOI: 10.1111/jdv.14026

M.J. Loss, S. Leung, A. Chien, N. Kerrouche, A.H. Fischer, S. Kang, Adapalene 0.3% gel shows efficacy for the treatment of atrophic acne scars, Dermatology and Therapy (2018), DOI: 10.1007/s13555-018-0231-8

B. Dréno, R. Bissonnette, A. Gagné-Henley, B. Barankin, C. Lynde, N. Kerrouche, J. Tan, Prevention and reduction of atrophic acne scars with adapalene 0.3%/Benzoyl peroxide 2.5% gel in subjects with moderate or severe facial acne: Results of a 6-month randomized, vehicle-controlled trial using intra-individual comparison, American Journal of Clinical Dermatology (2018), DOI: 10.1007/s40257-018-0352-y

#BeautyRecap: March 20th, 2018

Products and Reviews

A look at Sephora Collection launches coming in April

Giorgio Armani’s Face Fabric Foundation is relaunched

A look at the Glamglow ‘My Little Pony’ face masks
Elle.com, TeenVogue.com

A review of the Kiehl’s Instant Renewal Concentrate Mask

A look at the Cover FX Power Play Foundation

A look at the Strivectin LineBlurfector Primer

A look at the Baebody Eye Gel

Kat Von D is launching a gold makeup collection for their 10th anniversary

Too Faced and Kandee Johnson partner for another makeup collaboration

Tarte launches its full Mermaid Collection

Glossier opens pop-up cafe in San Francisco

A look at the Benefit Blush Bar Palette

A look at the Frank Body Cherry Bomb Lip Scrub

134 products featured in the Glamour 2018 Beauty Awards

Victoria Beckham is launching a skincare range

Retail and Trends

Chanel Beauty to launch at Ulta

Amorepacific enters Australian beauty market with Laneige

Asbestos found in some of Claire’s makeup products

US PIRG responds to claims from Claire’s that their testing method was unsound

First micro carbon capture unit installed at Lush factory

Skincare and Beauty

Most bottles of water contain microplastic from cosmetics, clothing and industry

KKW Beauty criticised for limited shade range in its concealers

An interview with Andria Tomlin, a colour-blind makeup artist

Researchers use graphene to dye hair

6 over-the-top celebrity facials

9 “K-Beauty” experts to follow on social media

Kim Kardashian shows off her beauty routine

Sable Yong at Allure demos the ‘flare highlight’ technique

Asia and World

Despite the boom in South Korean beauty brands, Japan is still Asia’s leader

Malaysian Sa Sa’s unaffected by Hong Kong closures

Etude House opens store in Dubai

China’s Kaola.com to spend $5 billion USD on more ‘made in Japan’ items

A look at Fancl makers of ‘preservative-free’ cosmetics


L’Oreal acquires Modiface AR

2x Partners take a majority stake in Surratt Beauty

Research and Innovation

Biosynthesis of D-series resolvins in skin provides insights into their role in tissue repair
Journal of Investigative Dermatology

Benzoyl peroxide effectively decreases pre-operative propionibacterium acnes shoulder burden: A randomized trial
Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery

Hair wax for preservation of eyebrows during laser tattoo removal
Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology

Effects of a protein ‐free oat plantlet extract on microinflammation and skin barrier function in atopic dermatitis patients
Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology

Isolation and identification of the follicular microbiome: Implications for acne research
Journal of Investigative Dermatology

Sunscreen sun protection factor (SPF): Is higher better?
Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology

Allergen of the Year alkyl glucoside is an ingredient in top-selling sunscreens and facial moisturizers
Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology

Androgens and androgen receptor action in skin and hair follicles
Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology

Relationship of hyaluronan and HYBID (KIAA1199) expression with roughness parameters of photoaged skin in Caucasian women
Skin Research and Technology

Improvement of skin conditions by ingestion of Aspergillus kawachii (Koji) extract containing 14-dehydroergosterol in a randomized, double-blind, controlled trial
Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology

Sun protection behaviors in early childhood education programs
JAMA Dermatology

Trends in melanoma incidence among non-Hispanic Whites in the United States, 2005 to 2014
JAMA Dermatology

Effects of short-term moisturizer application in different ethnic skin types: Noninvasive assessment with optical coherence tomography and reflectance confocal microscopy
Skin Pharmacology and Physiology

Protective effect of neferine against UVB mediated oxidative damage in human epidermal keratinocytes
Journal of Dermatological Treatment

Sun protection use and sunburn among us adults
JAMA Dermatology

Light therapies for acne
JAMA Dermatology

Demodex mites modulate sebocyte immune reaction: Possible role in the pathogenesis of rosacea
British Journal of Dermatology

Skin microneedling for acne scars associated with pigmentation in patients with dark skin
Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology

Improvement of skin barrier dysfunction by Scutellaria baicalensis GEOGI extracts through lactic acid fermentation
Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology

Treating isotretinoin-associated cheilitis with hydrocortisone-containing lip balm
JAMA Dermatology

Adapalene 0.3% gel shows efficacy for the treatment of atrophic acne scars
Dermatology and Therapy

Prevention and reduction of atrophic acne scars with Adapalene 0.3%/Benzoyl peroxide 2.5% gel in subjects with moderate or severe facial acne: Results of a 6-month randomized, vehicle-controlled trial using intra-individual comparison
American Journal of Clinical Dermatology

Facial wrinkles in Europeans: A genome-wide association study
Journal of Investigative Dermatology

Addressing male facial skin concerns: Clinical efficacy of a topical skincare treatment product for men
Journal of Drugs in Dermatology

Efficacy and safety of sarecycline, a novel, once-daily, narrow spectrum antibiotic for the treatment of moderate to severe facial acne vulgaris: Results of a phase 2, dose-ranging study
Journal of Drugs in Dermatology

Phase 2 randomized, dose-ranging study of oxymetazoline cream for treatment of persistent facial erythema associated with rosacea
Journal of Drugs in Dermatology

Efficacy and safety of Adapalene 0.3%/Benzoyl Peroxide 2.5% gel plus oral doxycycline in subjects with severe inflammatory acne who are candidates for oral isotretinoin
Journal of Drugs in Dermatology

MALDI imaging facilitates new topical drug development process by determining quantitative skin distribution profiles
Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry

GSK126 (EZH2 inhibitor) interferes with ultraviolet A radiation-induced photoaging of human skin fibroblast cells
Experimental and Therapeutic Medicine

Hypo-collagenesis in photoaged skin predicts response to anti-aging cosmeceuticals
Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology

Novel cosmetic patches for wrinkle improvement: retinyl retinoate‐ and ascorbic acid‐loaded dissolving microneedles
International Journal of Cosmetic Science

Sodium L-ascorbate enhances elastic fibers deposition by fibroblasts from normal and pathologic human skin
Journal of Dermatological Science

Evaluation of the anti-wrinkle effect of an ascorbic acid-loaded dissolving microneedle patch via a double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical study
International Journal of Cosmetic Science

In vivo validation of the multicomponent powder (Vitachelox®) against the deposition of polluting ions
Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology

Comparison of skin hydration in combination and single use of common moisturizers (cream, toner, and spray water)

What’s the best way to organize your skincare routine? Should we layer from thickest to thinnest? Where does sunscreen go?

I’ve been asked this a lot and I don’t have the answer. Most research on skincare application is done with just one product. Sunscreens are always tested on clean skin with no other products. If you want to get as close to the protection on the label, it’s best to recreate the conditions it was tested on, which means applying it on clean skin and not following it with anything else. The same applies for most cosmetic products as well.

That’s not realistic for everyone and many of us enjoy using multiple products. But the reality with a lot of the advice found online and from experts is that it’s just advice and often isn’t based on evidence – especially scientific evidence.

A group of Chinese researchers performed an experiment looking at the effect of different combinations of three products (moisturizer, toner, and mineral water sprays) and different application routines on skin moisture. Keep in mind that the only endpoint measured was stratum corneum moisture measured by the Corneometer, a capacitance measuring tool often used in cosmetic research. This experiment doesn’t provide any insight beyond skin moisture, like skin penetration of an active affected by combination or routine, for example.

20 female volunteers participated in this experiment. Eight 3-by-3 cm squares were drawn on the legs and forearms of each volunteer and were randomized to receive eight different routines and combinations – including a square with no product applied, acting as a control. The baseline moisture levels of the squares were measured and categorized into ‘normal’ or ‘dry’ by a limit of 35 a.u. (a measurement unit used by the Corneometer).

The 8 different combinations and routines are as follows;

Toner and Toner reapplied every 2 hours (T-T)
Cream then Toner together (C+T)
Toner only (T)
Cream only (C)
Cream then Water reapplied every 2 hours (C-S)
Untreated (Control)
Cream and Toner reapplied every 2 hours (C-T)
Toner then Cream together (T+C)

Stratum corneum moisture levels were measured every 2 hours, including a baseline, and participants were kept in a 22 °C room with a 50% humidity.

The products included in the test were a Winona brand Cream with the ingredients:

Aqua, Glycerol, Butyrospermum Parkii Oil, Dimethicone, Glycereth-26, Tridecyl Trimellitate, Pentylene Glycol, Hexyldecanol, Sucrose Polystearate, Diethylhexyl Cyclohexane, Petroleum Jelly, Tocopheryl Acetate, Prinsepia Utilis Royle Oil, Portulaca Oleracea Extract, Beta Glucans, Sodium Hyaluronate, Cetylhydroxyproline Palmitamide, Alpha Bisabolol, Cetearyl Alcohol, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Acrylamide, Acrylamide/ammonium Acrylate Copolymer, Acrylates/c10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Tween 20, Xanthan Gum, Disodium Edta, Polybutene, Polyisobutene, Butyl Stearate, Stearic Acid, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerin

a Winona brand Toner with the ingredients:

Aqua, Pentylene Glycol, Glycerol, Glycereth-26, Trimethylpentanediol/adipic Acid/glycerin Crosspolymer,
Portulaca Oleracea Extract, Beta Glucan, Sodium Hyaluronate, Hydroxyethyl Cellulose

and Avene Thermal Spring Water was used as the Mineral Water Spray.

While applying any form of skincare product created an increase in skin moisture in dry and normal skin, some combinations were significantly more effective than others.

Table VI is mislabeled and is the data for Dry Skin

Because the normal or dry categories were determined by Corneometer, there’s no way to self-categorize unless you have a Corneometer handy.

From this experiment, the increase in moisture from Cream then Toner, or Toner then Cream, or Cream only were about the same. This implies that the total amount of cream and toner applied is more important than the order of application. As well, this also implies that the increase in moisture is mostly from the cream and not the toner.

The researchers speculate that the increase in moisture reaches a peak depending on factors like the environment which slowly declines after application. Toner on its own did increase moisture of the skin, but even when combined with cream never surpassed the moisture gained from cream alone.

In terms of supplementation of with Water or Toner, the greatest increase in moisture was achieved with application of a Cream then Toner every 2 hours. Supplementation of Water after Cream application reduced skin moisture with each application. Toner with additional Toner supplementation increased skin moisture over time, but was still less than Cream and Toner.

I think reading descriptions of the effects is likely a bit confusing, so I encourage you to use the interactive charts to compare different applications.

Also keep in mind that this experiment used three specific products and concentration of ingredients will vary between products. So it’s best to use this information as a guideline, but not a rule.

Li Yuanxi, Wei Hua, Lidan Xiong, Li Li, Comparison of Skin Hydration in Combination and Single Use of Common Moisturizers (Cream, Toner, and Spray Water), Journal of Cosmetic Science (2016), PMID: 29394018