How do your senses affect the state of your skin



By Gwen Ong

How do your senses affect the state of your skin


The study of neuroscience is a fascinating one where you get to understand a bit more about what triggers your nervous system. In our post last week about rebooting your skin and senses via Shiseido Essential Energy, we touched briefly on how our skin can get desensitised as we age and not respond as well as we want it to.

We speak to Dr Kiyoshi Sato, the Center Director of Advanced Research Center on Neuroscience and Shiseido on the changes our skin go through, how our senses affect our skin and the challenges and wonders of neuroscience skincare.


Hello Sato-san, can you tell us more about the role of neuroscience in skincare and why is this important?

I’m sure you are all aware that when you’re faced with many problems or concerns, your skin tends to become rough and less responsive. Likewise, when you’re feeling alive or having a lively day, your skin also feels so. This shows that the state of the mind has an effect on the skin.

In this sense, when we were working on the Shiseido Essential Energy range, we were not just only focusing on the skin but also the mind. We wanted to know what makes beauty emerge from the inside. Our research shows that the skin has its own sensory powers and thus, in order to get healthier looking skin, we need to inspire the body’s internal messaging system and maintain the cell’s natural ability in responding, detecting and adapting to changes.


What was the most interesting thing you discovered about neuroscience and skincare?

When you hear the word neuroscience, you’d normally think about the nerve cells and the research of the nerves. However, Shiseido—from a cosmetic company’s perspective, finds that neuroscience is not just about the study of the function of nerve cells, but it also concerns the stem, the senses and how the mental state affects the skin.

Everyone is aware of the connection between the mind and skin but it was not easy to prove that scientifically. When we were able to prove that however, I was happy. This is where we found ReNeura Technology, which is inspired by neuroscience. We found that human senses are very much a connecting factor within the skin, including the way it responds to stimuli. Time also influences the skin’s ability to respond to stimuli as well as skincare. So we found a way to reboot the skin’s senses and its responsive power.


What were some of the challenges that you faced when working on neuroscience skincare?

Shiseido has been researching on the connection between mind and body since 30 years ago. While in theory, we know that the mind and the skin has an important relationship, it was extremely difficult to conduct a research to see tangible proof of that. But we did have a breakthrough focusing on the sense of smell.

Years ago, we teamed up with the MGH-Harvard Cutaneous Biology Research Centre and discovered that nerve cells – which function to transmit messages between mind and body – do have an effect on your skin. This time around, we focus on the sense of touch and how that can awaken the senses.


So, how does the sense of touch affect the skin then?

The skin takes in different kinds of information through the sense of touch – heat, cold, hardness, softness, smoothness – and process them all. But when these messages are not transmitted and received clearly, the skin is not able to process them properly. Hence, you get issues such as skin dullness, stiffness, dryness and the appearance of fine lines. So our focus is on how to reawaken the skin’s power to respond to your touch and improve the sensory nerves to function better. 


Is there any truth to how our skincare routine becomes less effective after a few years?

Based on our survey—yes. It is actually not so much about the skincare or products losing its effectiveness. But it was discovered that with ageing, the skin’s sensors slowly lose its ability to absorb nutrients and to bounce back. Our data found that your skin’s responsiveness becomes dull and declines with time. Thus, you find that your skincare routine doesn’t work as well before.


Shiseido Essential Energy works to reawaken the skin’s senses and boost its responsive power. Read more about the new skincare range here

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