Did you know that the emotions generated when you apply a cream to your skin have a direct impact on the condition of your skin? Recent studies have shown that applying a product to the epidermis affects its natural protective function and its ability to defend itself against external aggression: this is the very principle of neurocosmetics.
But what is neurocosmetics ? Why is the cosmetics sector increasingly interested in neuroscience ? Without further ado, find out all the answers to the questions you’ve been asking!
It’s been more than 30 years since the concept of neurocosmetics first emerged in the world of beauty ! This observation is based on the discovery by a number of researchers of the special relationship that exists between the skin and the brain. Indeed, both have the particularity of forming at the same time, on the 21st day of the embryo.
You’ll immediately understand the origin of the expression “to have nerveson edge”…
Based on this premise, scientists in the beauty sector then looked at the emotions felt when a cream is applied to the skin. The aim? To understand the process by which emotions act during use, so as to develop the product that will give us the most pleasure.
Do you know the different mechanisms that come into play when you apply a cream to your body? Arnaud Aubert, a neuroscience researcher and lecturer at the University of Tours, has already asked himself the question: “A whole chain of indirect effects follows the cutaneous effects induced by the active ingredients”.
Unconsciously, the beauty result is perceived by our brain, directly provoking a positive emotion. This is known as the reward circuit. “This emotion will in turn induce more positive self-images, such as self-esteem and self-confidence, and ultimately lead to changes in social behaviour” says Arnaud Aubert.
But in practical terms, what is it that makes us so happy when we apply a cosmetic product to ourselves? It’s true that activating the reward circuit improves your well-being. But that’s not all! Certain ingredients, such as peptides , have the ability, once in the skin, to send a message to your brain via your nervous system to relax your mood.
And while neurocosmetics covers all products that have an action on the epidermis, linked to an influence on the nervous system, its field of action is extremely varied. As we’ve just seen, certain ingredients can calm your mind. Conversely, other ingredients may have stimulating properties, reduce inflammatory reactions or modulate certain receptors.
As well as the benefits of simply applying a cream, the smell of the product also has an impact on our mood. Increasingly, cosmetics brands are focusing on using very specific scents to awaken a sense of pleasure in us all.
On an advisory basis, Orange blossom is often used in creams for its anti-depressant properties. And while lavender is reputed to be soothing, citrus fruits are synonymous with freshness and good humour.
As you’ll have gathered, these creams with their soft, pleasant scents do a world of good. Applied in the evening, before bedtime, these cosmetic products with soothing properties help you to relax and unwind, so that you fall asleep better.
The experience and visual impact of a cosmetic on the individual are also among the levers studied by the scientists. Numerous studies have shown that the evaluation of the senses differs according to the environment in which the individual finds himself.
What does this mean in practical terms? Consumers will not appreciate a moisturiser in the same way, depending on the environment in which they find themselves. For example, people will feel differently depending on whether they smell the product in a shop, in a beauty salon or during a massage.
Although the principle of neurocosmetics is not new, its potential is still underestimated. With 800,000 neurons, 11 metres of nerves and no fewer than 200 sensory receptors per cm², our skin is far from having revealed all its secrets!