So it's not just about locking moisture in at the skin's surface any more. According to P&G Beauty, it's about how water flows in and out, and getting the right amount of moisture in the right places.
Thanks to a 2003 Nobel-Prize winning study by a chemist named Peter Agre, we now know that natural proteins called aquaporins channel molecules, including water, in and out of the different layers of skin rather like pipes. Well, we're just finding out. But Procter & Gamble took note when that study was released and got to work to figure out how to make their moisturizing products better in light of this new info.
"We know that when it's damaged, skin repairs itself better when it's healthy to begin with," says P&G Beauty scientist Lauren Thaman. "You could say that the healthiest version of skin needs no help. So we're looking at improving skin's moisture function as a route to optimal skin health." The new approach also applies to hair, protecting it against damage by managing the amount of moisture the hair shaft absorbs and how much it releases.
The result is a collection of Olay, Pantene, Cover Girl and Secret products labelled Aquacurrent Science. The range features "formulas tweaked in terms of ingredient ratios, not in terms of ingredients," says Thaman. "Certain ingredients in certain combinations, delivered in different mediums will change the water gradient throughout the skin. We're targeting different skin issues and customizing formulas to work for larger groups of people." In other words, depending on the consumer's needs and choice of product -- light moisturizer for slight dryness to ultra-rich cream for extreme dryness -- each formula has been tweaked for maximum efficacy, as well as for improved textures and finish.
Sounds like a good time to test the waters in the P&G beauty pool.
P&G Beauty Aquacurrent Science products are available at drugstores and mass retailers.