Brain, Skin and Cosmetics: Sensory Aspects Objectivated by Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging

  • Bernard Querleux
Part of the Philips Research book series (PRBS, volume 8)


Cosmetic science is focused on the study of the hair and the healthy skin and the methods that can be used to preserve or modify their properties or appearance. However, we are also aware of the psychological and social benefits that enhanced attractiveness can provide for oneself and others.

For this reason it is important to find instrument-based procedures capable of characterizing objectively the reality of the sensorial criteria often used in relation to cosmetics: pleasure/displeasure, wellbeing, comfort/discomfort, pleasant/unpleasant, and so on.

We shall begin by presenting an investigation into the comprehension of the sense of touch, touching being a fundamental gesture in the cosmetics domain. We have analysed by fMRI the changes in brain activity maps observed when an individual touches artificial materials (smooth or rough) compared with touching the skin alone or the skin to which a cosmetic has been applied.

The second study relates to sensitive skin. We know through numerous epidemiological studies that approximately 50% of women say that they have sensitive skin and also that this percentage is found in many areas of the world. However, given the absence of any clinical signs under examination by a dermatologist or any clear discrimination based on local biophysical measurements, this skin type still suffers to some extent from a lack of recognition. This study enabled us to demonstrate a neural basis for sensitive skin for the first time in vivo.


Lactic Acid Tactile Stimulation Sensitive Skin Cognitive Analysis Sensory Aspect 
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© Springer 2008

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  • Bernard Querleux

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