It is well established that both UV exposure and emotional stress can lead to an activation of stress response via the Hypothalamic Pituitary Adrenal (HPA) axis resulting in elevated cortisol levels negatively affecting skin. a, b, cIn this study, we found that subjects using a three-step skincare regimen not only experienced the expected skin benefits but also significantly lower cortisol levels after eight weeks. Thirty women, ages 18-45, applied a three-step skincare regimen featuring antioxidants, electrolytes, prebiotics and a sunscreen to their faces twice a day for eight weeks. Saliva samples along with clinical grading and TEWL measurements were taken at baseline and at week eight. Subjects also completed a questionnaire on skin quality at the beginning and end of the study. Over the duration of the study, cortisol levels, determined from saliva using ELISA, decreased from an average of 435 ng/dL at baseline to 73.3 ng/dL ( p≤0.005). Concurrently, a statistically significant increase in barrier function (TEWL) corresponded to a clinical improvement in healthy glow. Subjects reported a significant improvement in pore appearance and decreased number of acne lesions at the end of the study. In addition, 76% of the subjects felt more confident about posting a selfie at the end of the study compared to 53% at the beginning. We suggest that one of the factors responsible for the observed decrease in saliva cortisol levels may be a reduction of emotional stress due to improved skin quality. References a Br J Dermatol. 2013 Mar;168(3):595-601; b J Invest Dermatol. 2006 Aug;126(8):1697-704; c Sci Rep. 2018 Apr 20;8(1):6334.
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