Although pollen’s capacity to cause allergic reactions has been previously established, the recent study at Shiseido’s Life Science Research Centre has found that it can also actively weaken the skin’s barrier functions too.
Japan is a particularly relevant country for research into pollution’s impact onto the skin: last year, the country was hit by a particularly high pollen count due to domestic climate conditions from the spring onwards, and it also underwent an influx of pollution coming from China.
Until lately, consumers across the wider Asia region turned primarily to face masks to protect skin from pollutants, including pollen. Now, however, skin care brands are increasingly mobilizing to offer products that boast pollution-busting properties.
Shiseido is one brand leading the charge: last year it launched its ‘Ihada Aller Screen Spray’ mist, which the beauty brand claims is able to block pollutants by 90%.
Its latest research into cedar pollen suggests the brand is keen to continue to exploit the potential that pollution offers the skin care category, paving the way to a potential new segment of product offerings.
Shiseido’s study found that skin barrier function can be impaired by the application of a water and pollen solution when compared to that of skin exposed only to pure water.
According to a report in the Japan Times, the researchers cultured human skin tissue, and removed a surface layer known as the stratum corneum.
They then applied the two types of water solution to the surface layer, and observed that water evaporated much more quickly from the skin which had been exposed to pollen. This means that pollen impaired the skin’s barrier function, Shiseido said.
Pollen has the capacity to trigger skin inflammation, according to the researchers, which can be particularly severe when skin barrier functions are already weakened due to factors such as stress or tiredness.