Autumn skin care Part III: How to judge a moisturized skin and two effective method to keep good skin moisture

So how to judge if skin is moisturized? And what ingredients are adopted to help dry skin?

Usually, there are three typical ways scientists adopt to judge skin moisturizing. They are sensory, quantitative evaluation and instrument measurement. If a product can meet good moisturizing criteria on these 3 areas, we can say it’s a good efficacy product; and as R&D people, they can release to production and commercial. I won’t talk in detailed of these methods. But I’ll separately discuss in other articles how to combine the typical 3 studies to make superior consumer preferred product claims as R&D people.

The normal water content level in stratum Corneum is around 10-15%. At this level, skin stays comfortable, good appearance, touches supple. Below 10%, skin will feel and looks dry, and when you touch, it will feel rough, not smooth enough. If it goes to much lower level will bring crankiness on skin. When I worked on emerging market project, given those people are usually working under severe dry/cold condition, we deliberately designed a product that help immediately and recover from skin crack. I also joined another winning product design. The target consumer would rather believe their own experience on good moisturizing vs. our advertisement or even data. So we spend huge effort in identify their sensory profile and tried to transfer into technical design items. Both were winning product that I still remember it clearly.

When formulator is making formula, the best way to protect water from evaporation and best way to maintain water is to offer a similar-to-skin ingredients that best matches skin activity in stratum corneum. In order to protect water from evaporate, it needs to firm an oil layer on skin. So, you could always notice the humectant ingredients in the formula.

The second method is to maintain water in skin. The most typical ones are NMF (Natural Moisturizing Factor). If the skin barrier function is destroyed, or when the NMF level in skin decreases, skin will became dry visibly and sensibly. The key elements in NMF contain amino acid, lactate, urea, ceramide,  etc.  So a good combination of NMF in formula supports the water to be secured to skin.


Autumn skin care part II: What is dry skin, how it is measured and difference between hydration & moisturzing care

Part II of Provide Good Skin Moisturizing

What is your skin type? There are different ways to classify skin type. One method is the Fitzpatrick Scale, a numerical classification for human skin color. It was developed by Thomas B. Fitzpatric, Harvard dermatologist in 1975. It is a method to classify the typical response of different types of skin to ultraviolet (UV) light. It’s more remained as a dermatologist tool to understand human skin pigmentation. Another way is the skin color classification called Von Luschan’s chromatic scale, it divided skin into 36 color. There are pretty academic method of looking at skin. Generally, consumer use the  follow way to skin classification of dry, oil, normal, combination  and sensitive. Let’s use the last method to start our topics and we will focus on dry skin this time.

So what is a dry skin?

Not a lot people has purely dry skin or born with dry skin, unless this person doesn’t do care or living in very severe dry conditions. The more usually occurred skin in combination skin, dry somewhere and oil somewhere. Like usually dry in cheek are and oil in forehead and nose area.

There are different ways to define a skin type. Taken example for dry skin. You can detect by observe, feel of skin sensation, and do skin measurement. Dry skin are easily to get itching, cracking, flaking. But on face, it usually have a sensation of tightness when one make skin compression. Dry skin people tends to get fine lines easier than oily skin as of lack water and oil protection, although in the early stages, there fine lines will disappear after you provide moisturizing care. But it will much more easily turn into wrinkles given no god care. In skin clinical measurement, we usually measure by 2 typical machines, Corneometer and Tewameter. The former reads the hydration level of skin surface (Stratum Corneum), the latter measures the Transepidermal Waterloss (TWEL). TEWL measures the skin barrier function which is an illustration of skin capacity to hold water.  The high of TEWL, the poorer the skin barrier function. The usage of skin hydration and moisturizing care is to provide a temporary protective layer to help skin rebuild its skin barrier function.

Let’s get to know the reason why skin is dry. Babies are not born with dry skin. If one doesn’t do enough care for skin, the water is easily to lead from Stratum Corneum(SC); as a result, the dryer the SC, the more water it will leak.    So what is the right method of taking care of SC, the first shield of our skin?

In US market, we can always find the product claims to provide good moisturizing. In Asia, consumers talking about both hydration and moisturization. I checked with my consumers before all over the world, only consumers in Asia can tell the difference. This is not because Asian consumer are smarter, it is because they pay more attention to facial skin care, and the manufacture’s education based on good science level with proven result can be better and widely accepted.

I talked about hydration in my other blogs. Here let me summarize the functional difference of moisturizing and hydration to skin and how the skin product differentiate. Hydration proactively provides water, is an offering, moisturizing is a protection; Hydration have reveal the skin water level and make skin feel instantly comfortable and refresh, release tightness even temporary fine lines; moisturizing provides oil the form a protective layer on skin the prevents more water from leakage; hydration products are usually on watery or lotion format, and it provides water and need to be better penetrated, while moisturizer usually are in more oily format, as it needs to form an oily layer.


Autumn skin care Part I: Persistent Caring for Skin - Provide Good Moisturization

Winter comes again. Usually late fall and early winter are the good times for new product launch, as it is a good window to promote, educate winter skin care habits.

People may not tell too much skin different in their early ages, say, until 30 or even 40. But after that, difference occurs. There is a popular Chinese saying “The parents created you a face, and you create your own face after 30s”. This means that yearly continuously caring, protection will make one looks younger among the peer age groups.  People often travel to Asia may also find that Asia woman usually looks younger than western world woman at similar ages. This is true and proved by several cross region clinical tests.

I remember I read a study when I began my early years of skin beauty care career. It was a test conducted in different location in China and Japan. One location of Japanese woman enjoys the best skin when they get aged. Several reasons. Firstly, where there less UV; then where they begin apply facial moisturizer at early age; thirdly, they live in a more humid geography. The first and third are usually hard to change if one lives in certain location. But the number 2 reason can really be managed by personnel if they do continuous effort.

So the key point for this article is: provide good moisturization to skin and continue to apply. I will talk about UV in a separate article.

So what is moisturizing. How does it work to skin? What are the top effective ingredients? And how you judge your skin is moisturized?


US & China Woman – how personal skin care product help release stress? part II

Asian consumer has very high engagement into face care. Doing skin care is their life long task, both perseverance and enjoyment. Therefore, it is very easy to link stress management with skincare. So what does skin care can do to help them release stress:

  • Pampering myself or being pampered at salon
  • Enjoy time with myself or friend
  • An endless topic share on friends gathering
  • A salon can make her immediately looks better therefore feel happy and released
  • A good fragrance or even assorting product collection will bring joy

So what can they get from it?

  • If my skin looks better, I’ll feel better
  • If I feel better, my stress will better release
  • If my stress get less, I can deal things better
  • The time when I pamper my body, it’s also the time pampering my soul;
  • Only I know how to be good to me, I can then know how to be good to others

Compare to US and Chinese women, they have similar symptoms of stress, and both need mentally release of stress. But Chinese women has more variety of stress cause and solutions, from internal, to intimate friends to physical matter and services,  while US women tends to seek more internal solutions or friends.  This in return suggests US women can also count on personal skin care to help them to solve issues.

A good skin care product which can help women feel better should bear several key design elements, like efficacy, fragrance, usage. And similarly, although US consumers may not care so much of these at this moment, there is a chance to catch up this great pampering method.

It’s important to analyze skin care product, sensory needs that adding stress management element into brand, line up concept, and then combining product technical model design. This is the best route to help brand to achieve a new consumer promise.

US & China Woman – how they handle stress and can skin care product help? Part I

I’ve been engaging in a skin care brand design to explore the opportunity of claiming stress management. It’s a fun topic as firstly, I need to understand what  are the stresses US woman is undertaking? Secondly, how do they deal with it? Third, can our skin care product helps?

When I searched quite some information on line for US woman’s stress study, it is interesting that I naturally make the comparison between Chinese women for the last two questions. As they’re pretty much different and unique to each self.

Here are some topline learnings from American Psychological Association on a gender stress study. 

Firstly, woman tends to have higher level of stress then man in daily life and there all different reason to affect it. The top 3 highest symptoms for woman compare to man are feel fatigue (woman vs. man at 45% vs. 29%), feeling nervous and or anxious (42 vs. 27 %), and feeling overwhelmed (41 vs. 29%). It seems most tough stress are coming from mental health much for woman in no matter daily life or working. This is kind understandable, as more woman has to handle job and family, they bears more tension generally than man. A recent AJC newspaper column call for employers to focus on productivity vs. time on work. Esp. for woman, I remember one phrase very clearly – leave office without announcing it if you really have family urgency – so others won’t bother to think the woman is taking lazy. While men usually do not have such concern, as they have less issues to handle in family, and secondly, they will just leave without pleading or sharing, they just leave.

The reasons? Money is number 1 (69% for all people), work (65%), and economy (61%). This is also very much self-explanatory. Living in US is not easy economically. I’ll have another article talking about this.

So how American deals with stress?   Are they proactive or passive, are they taking normal routine or some extraordinary activities?  Again, the tops three activities are, exercise (52%), sedentary behaviors like listening to music (48%), reading account the number 3 at 40%. The other includes different personal activities, like watching TV, meeting friends or physiological support.

I didn’t find solid information for Chinese women’s stress study. However, based my past years study, I can easily pick out some qualitative terms that described the Chinese middle-income woman. These woman have entered either university or college education, have a steady job, starting or already have their own family, lot of them has kid(s) already. So what’s their typical stress? As I studies, I actually found their stresses are more diversified than US woman, for themselves including personal enrichment, health & beauty; for their career, they wish to manage work/family balance, but also strive to take higher position or challenge; for family, they wish can put more effort on kid education, manage family relationship; and of course, finance is also a key factor.  

And they also manages their stress in a more diversified way. She does shopping, doing SPA, travel, meeting friends, go to Yoga for exercise, she can seek for Chinese herbal treatment to release her from mental and physical fatigue; and finally, food is also a good recipe, they just go out enjoy a good meal without worry too much of calorie!  Among all of them, skincare plays a truly important role to help release stress! – Continues by Part II


NACA Young Profession Mentor

In my 23 years of high education and cooperate working life, mentor has always been a great tool for me to grow. I had various mentors that helped me in different part of the life and career. Even as of today, I hold deep gratitude to my mentors. Some were my teachers, some were my boss, some were just my friends. When I was capable to mentor others, I know I treasure the opportunity and will do my best to help young people. And when I began to take the mentor role, I realized it's not only mentee learn from me, but I learn and inspire from them as well.

With this strong will, I was always actively seeking young profession mentoring role after landing in Atlanta. NACA (National Association of Chinese-Americans)  gave me the chance. I joined the 2015 mentoring program as one of the mentor to Young professions in Atlanta with Asian background. 

Our first meeting was held in Coca-Cola headquarter office on Sept. 19. First time meeting the other 17 mentors and 21 mentees. I feel excited to come back to this atmosphere again. ​

Whey Asian Women Use Clear Lotion(Toner) - Part II

I’ve search lotion product in US for the last two years in Atlanta. There’s not a lot brand, and it usually existing in beauty store, like department brand, Sephora, Ulta. Price is not cheap, from $12 up to #35. As to my knowledge, the mass consumers won’t be willing to afford to a bottle of “water”.

Why there is a barrier of using lotion in US? Few reasons compare to Asia. Firstly, Asian consumer are probably the group of people mostly concerns of facial beauty, they spend much more effort and budget on face care vs. body care, hair care; secondly, Asian people don’t feel the troublesome of doing extra steps or complicated skin care every day, besides, they enjoy it. Lotion give them a feel of pampering. Thirdly, lotion can give them an immediate skin comfort feel that it’s hard to deny; and with the continuously usage, it really does improve the skin dry concern. While on the contrary, US consumers may not use that much time doing pampering no need an additional steps before moisturizer.

I still remember there was a study when to compare looked about Asian & Caucasian consumer’s skin status change by age. Generally speaking, Caucasian consumers has lower skin moisturization level vs. Asian consumers; while Asian has lower TEWL (Transepidermal Water Loss) than Caucasian skin. A similar study only measuring skin moisture level only in Asia. Japanese woman had less moisture decrease vs. other Asian country due to their good skin care habit. The key learning here is: a). a good skin habit the key important reason to maintain good skin status until aging; b).  the earlier one start, the better skin status it will be when aging;  c). in all the skin problems occur, the most fundamental problem is hydration. Enough hydration will keep better skin texture and slow down aging.

And the best way to immediately enhance skin hydration is the lotion/toner products.


Why Asian women use clear lotion - Part I

I tried in many stored in US to find a good clear lotion product. Disappointedly, either it's hard to find any or too expensive compare to Asian. Seems there's not much needs of using clear lotion in US, while it takes so much penetration in China, Japan, and Korea.


Lotion or toner, was not popularly used until about 10 years. When we did searches in china in 2000, the lotion usage was less than 20%. Nowadays, the usage rate or say, penetration achieved more than 90%. This is purely a created market leveraging from Japan market.


There are various types of toner products. By appearance, there are clear lotion, translucent lotion or opaque lotion; by function, there are hydrating lotion, astringent lotion, or purely cleansing lotion; as well as the whitening, anti-aging lotions attached to respective product line. In the early years, there’s usually ethanol in lotion to help second clean after wash face, or help shrink pores. But later on, people begin to neglect ethanol lotion as it will brings excess dryness to skin. So lotion turn into more into transparent type simply to provide hydration and little moisturization by glycerin. Afterwards, when consumer’s needs are more segmented, there appeared different appearance, function and package variation. Nowadays, if one consumer uses an anti-aging moisturizer, she will usually use an anti-aging lotion before wards to have some synergy effect.


The most famous lotion product in Asia is SKII Facial Treatment Essence (FTE), the so called magic water. It is has high concentration of Pitera, a claimed ingredients that can help skin cell renewal. Almost all people who used it will immediately fall in love with it. Its non-fragrance and signature smell brings a unique usage feel. And one could really see skin get finer, radiant after few weeks usage. The price of a 75ml FTE costs no less than a bottle moisturizer, at US$60, almost $1 for 1ml. The same for other brands like Shiseido, Kose.


Why Asian consumers are so keen on lotion/toner? From consumer points of view, it immediately hydrate or soothes skin after cleansing; the usage of padding on skin give them a feel of pampering. Therefore, there is a saying of lotion “once to start, you cannot stop”. The unique and delightful sensation is the key drivers that brings up the penetration from 20 to 90% in just 15 years.


However, from skin biophysics stands of point, lotion has its best reason for a good skin function. According to skin biophysics, if the skin is being softened by liquid, it could increase the penetration enter through stratum corneum cell then help for the absorption. A very good clinical method often used to enhance penetration or absorption is occlusive method. It covers the skin and prohibit material from evaporation or lose with the evaporation of water from skin. So, scientifically, to use a lotion is to lay a preparation step for better absorption of moisturizer. That’s why when consumer feel released of dryness, tightness, they can get better skin improvement.


From another angle, a lot of the skin problems comes from lacking of water or lacking of water/oil balance. Clear lotion immediately added water to the skin surface level, that can fundamental helps solve a lot early skin problems, and best released skin uncomfortness. That’s why consumer really likes this products.


Beijing - My Third Hometown

Beijing, my third hometown. I stayed in BJ from end 1997 to mid 2008. It's a a most important city in my life. Saying so, I finished most of my life/career transition in this city. I date from here, marry, had my dearest daughter; I stayed here for in my first and best company,  I also made decision to leave and transfer to SH. I can say Bejing witnessed my most core life transition.
Beijing is full of history. If you walk in the inter-circle of the city, there's always stories you can find. Beijing is a history of Han and Man dynasty, you can see this city is full of culture merge and that affected it's culture, econimic, thinking even to nowadays.


Skin Hydration Care

Hydration Care

I don't find a lot concepts of hydration in US market, whilst it is so overwhelming in Asia. It's close but yet different vs. moisturizing.

20 years ago, there is only moisturzing in China market. No one know's hydration. From about 7-8 years ago, especially in recent 5 years, hydration became so popular that no brand can avoid it. The most noteworthy brand was Biotherm, it brought the mineral water concept into China market. It goes such long time to educate and wait for the market to move up. Another noteworthy brand is Olay, it's cystral gel products got attracted to so many young people. Gradually, in our consumer learning, in home visit, we began to hear the word "watery, hydrated". But there was so much confusion what's the different with moisturizing.

Only until I worked on a local brand acquired by my second company, that we need to find a good product design from moisturizer, that I clearly found the different technically and how to put into design.

Today, a lot companies talks of hydrating, but how much is enough, needed is really a good task to explore. Any technical learning and insights is essential here.

I believe this will be a move for US market  gradually. As I begin to see some clear lotion, but not toner on the market. Of course, prices is pretty high, usually $20 for a 200ml. So this will be a change!

More to be expected...

Facial Skin Care

An interesting finding, mid-aged Chinese/Japan females skin seems looks better than US woman at similar age. Who cares more and how?

I still remember 1999, my first visit to Japan to join the beauty care orientation with a batch of new hirers to skin care team. We were shared a typical Japanese woman's morning skin care routine video. Usually she will get up 30mins earlier for her skin and make up, with 7-10 steps in total. A totally astonishing scene to me. Whilst at that time, Chinese consumer probably is still using soap to wash face with a single moisturizing for day and night. The Japanese woman's behavior totally shocked me.

In the next 16 years, I never worked away from skin and beauty care. It's a so much enjoying and passionate category that I engaged it so much and so much loving it. In two Chinese old saying: "There's never ugly woman, but lazy woman"; "Woman's skin before 30 years old is given by mom, but their skin after 30 years is given by themselves." This is so true.

I've thought many times what shall I do when landed US. After tons of wild searching and struggle, I know what I want. I will continue on my beloved beauty care area. In the following blogs, I hope can introduce, reveal and inspire the loving on beauty no matter with friends from China or US, or global.


Healthy Drinks

Chinese Healthy Tea

Are you tired of drinking coffee, high calorie sugar water every day? Do you want to seek a healthy, tasty, low calorie, less sugar, easy making, and customized drink?

Are you easily feeling tired, having dry eyes, having poor sleep quality, or even having cold hand/feet in winter? Do you expect to see your body improvement day by day, week by week, but not a radically change that do follows your natural body rhythm?

A Chinese traditional well-being tea can be one of your smart choice!

People may know Chinese team has a history over 4700 years, the healthy tea almost has the same length history. The key difference of a healthy tea from a regular tea is, People can adjust their tea by gender, season, body type, even geography location. It can be the combination of tea, flower, herb, fruit, etc.  Just like Chinese medicine, it is customized made but it is more mild, tasty and enjoyable to take in daily life. And as an family legend, a lot of the recipes are passed on by grandma, grandma’s grandma, that every family has their own ‘secret” combination formula. Lastly, the materials are usually not expensive, easy accessible, and fast to make.


Here are couple examples you may see how fascinating a health tea can look like. I believe besides of health, pure, attracting, you can also find  experiential enjoyment from tea, the tea pot and the atmosphere it creates when you drink it.

In China, it is always an enjoyment to gather with close friends, taking the various tea in a well decorated tea house, and spend a leisure afternoon with light tradition snacks. How fascinating it is!


My Blog Opens. First day of 2015 Chinese New Year!

It's Feb. 19, 2019. First day of 2015 Chinse Lunar New Year. I'm opening this blog to share my observation for personal skin beauty care, US-China consumer/market move, Asian natural health tips, as well as my travel, life adventure, and hobby for fashion. And hope can make new friends no matter in person or in profession.