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Impact of cleanser, water temperature, and rinse time on skin condition

        Irritation potential with daily cleansing is influenced by a variety of factors, including the overall mildness of the cleanser, cleanser pH, water temperature, duration of washing, water hardness, etc. Although the recommendation to avoid very high temperatures during washing is well accepted, there is little evidence available on the impact of different regimen factors on skin condition. Much of the work to date has been on harsh surfactant systems, and not linked with realistic consumer usage shower temperatures. Consumer studies were conducted to measure the range of water temperatures and duration of showering in the United States. A series of clinical studies was then conducted to model the impact of different factors on skin health. An earlier report showed that washing with the average temperature resulted in better skin condition compared to the low temperature range of consumer usage. The goal of this research was to understand the effects of temperature (across full consumer usage span), rinse time, and cleanser mildness under realistic consumer usage settings in subjects with moderate clinical dryness. Approximately 25 healthy female subjects (per study), ages 20-59, provided informed consent to participate in IRB-approved leg wash studies. All studies were conducted in severe winter conditions in Winnipeg, Canada. Two test products were randomly applied to each leg: an ultramild lipid-rich moisturizing body wash with glycinate (LBW) compared to a regular (REG) body wash (no moisturizers and harsher surfactant). The wash temperatures and rinse times were varied across studies to determine effects on skin condition. Expert visual evaluation of dryness, transepidermal water loss (TEWL), exfoliation, and skin hydration measurements were obtained at baseline and throughout the studies. The LBW was significantly milder compared to the REG cleanser in all studies. The average temperature of consumer usage was milder than both the low and high temperature ranges, and the shorter rinse time was also milder. This repeats observations from a previous study comparing the average and low temperatures, and is contrary to the conventional belief that lower temperature is always better for skin. Potential mechanisms include enhancement of exfoliation of dry flakes and/or better removal of surfactants at the average consumer usage temperature. From this research, it is clear that the use of a milder cleanser is better for skin under varying temperature and rinse conditions.
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