In the Clé de Peau Beauté laboratories in Tokyo, researchers spend their days analyzing every aspect of the skin. Along with the lead
scientists at parent company Shiseido, the growing team is continually unearthing new findings and forming advanced theories.The skin sends messages to the brain about what touches us. Take, for example, when listening to your favourite song makes the hairs on
your arm stand up, or perhaps you catch a cool breeze on your legs and goosebumps appear. These physical
responses are the skin’s reaction to stimuli.
Dr. Shinobu Nakanishi, research scientist at the Shiseido Research Laboratory, joined Shiseido in 2013 and investigates skin intelligence. “We have discovered that the skin possesses the ability to distinguish stimuli associated with the five senses and to effectively process them through communication with the neighbouring cells,” he explains.
The study of skin intelligence has helped scientists at Clé de Peau Beauté visualize the skin gene network. When epidermal cells are stimulated by any of the five senses, a network is activated in the skin that transmits the information to neighbouring cells. Although the network is invisible to the naked eye and is not easy to see under a microscope (as it doesn’t have visible lines like the brain’s network), Clé de Peau Beauté’s research team has identified it as the skin’s autonomic system, which plays a role in physiological functions. “By studying the skin gene network, we can identify which genes are involved in specific beauty-related aspects, for example, improving the brightening of skin or enhancing its barrier function,” Nakanishi says. “To make their behaviour smoother and communication better, we try to create an environment that is more conducive for the cells to do their part.”
In the laboratory, two microscopes display dry mount slides, one with epidermal cells that received negative stimuli and the other with cells that received positive stimuli. The cells that were negatively stimulated are warm-coloured, separated, and sporadic. The cells that received positive stimuli are cool-coloured, closer together, and noticeably less agitated. “It’s fascinating to see the cells exhibiting behaviour akin to independent thinking,” says Kiyoshi Sato, Clé de Peau Beauté’s chief technology officer. “They form a community among themselves and possess the ability to communicate with one another.”
“Clé de Peau Beauté believes that optimizing skin intelligence is the definitive way to achieve skin radiance, Nakanishi says. Skin becomes more resilient, adaptive, and better equipped to protect itself from external aggressors such as dryness, UV damage, and internal aggressors such as stress and aging.In response to these findings, Clé de Peau Beauté has developed a potent complex—Skin Empowering Illuminator, which contains Japanese pearl shell extract, theanine, perilla extract, angelica acutiloba extract, and platinum golden silk essence. Formulated into the products of the Key Radiance Care skin-care collection, the Skin-Empowering Illuminator helps enhance the skin’s ability to repair and defend itself. “It is tailored towards effectively elevating skin’s innate ability to react to positive and negative stimuli, thus maintaining an optimal condition at the epidermis level,” Nakanishi explains.
So what’s next for Clé de Peau Beauté? “Our future challenge is how to apply this new research (the visualization of the skin gene network) to product development and finding the advanced solutions to address various skin concerns,” Nakanishi says. “Please look forward to it.”
Props by Suzanne Campos.