Can Performance and Gentleness Be Reconciled? A Skin Care Approach for Sensitive Skin

Cyril Messaraa, Justine Drevet, David Jameson, Gabriela Zuanazzi, and Ileana De Ponti

People with self-reported sensitive skin may reluctantly use performing anti-ageing skin care products as it could elicit skin discomfort. We thus aimed to design and test an anti-ageing skin care routine that is suitable for people reporting sensitive skin. Key principles for developing products for sensitive skin were applied and formulas were screened for their mildness in vitro using the Reconstructed Human Epidermis ET50 method. Anti-ageing efficacy and mildness was evaluated during a clinical study in China, with 33 female volunteers aged 40–65 years, with sensitive skin. The anti-ageing benefits were measured using Primos 3D, the cutometer and clinical evaluation. Hallmarks for sensitive skin such as skin hydration, skin barrier, skin redness and response to lactic acid were also measured. The ET50 method yielded values suggesting moderate to mild expected irritancy effect in vivo for most of them, and non-irritating effect for the serum. During the clinical study, no physical or functional signs of discomfort were reported with twice-daily usage of the routine. Instrumental evaluation of Wrinkle depth, skin elasticity/firmness, skin hydration, skin barrier and skin redness revealed improvement at 4 and 8 weeks. Clinical evaluation evidenced skin smoothness, skin suppleness and radiance improvements. The skin was less reactive to lactic acid stimuli, while the sensitive skin burden was lowered according to the dermatological quality of life index. Lastly, a separate investigation suggested the potential relief aspect of such routines to alleviate discomforts from mask wearing. With the right formulation design, the benefits of layering products from a routine can be made accessible to people with sensitive skin while simultaneously alleviating the burden of sensitive skin.


EpiDerm (EPI-200), Skin cleanser, Day cream, Eye cream, Night cream, toner, serum, skin mildness, skin irritation, ET-50, tensioactive ingredients, XtraMild skin mildness test

Materials Tested

Skin cleanser, Day cream, Eye cream, Night cream, toner, serum

Request a copy of this paper, click here.