“My team studied sensitive skin very carefully in recent years and discovered notable differences from normal skin,” explains Dr. Gitta Neufang, Head of R&D Medical Management at Beiersdorf. “Sensitive skin reacts much stronger to irritants,” she adds.
Skin irritation mechanism
Beiersdorf’s team of researchers thus used capsaicin, the pungent component of black pepper to mimic skin irritation and study its mechanism. The R&D team discovered that when capsaicin is applied to the skin surface it activates a protein on sensory nerve fibre endings, the TRPV1 channel. After bonding, the channel becomes permeable to calcium ions that then flow into the nerve fibres, transferring the irritation further along the fibres until it can be felt.
The company then conducted a series of tests to select the active ingredients to best counteract this mechanism. According to Beiersdorf, the best results were achieved with SymSitive, a generation of active ingredients developed by German supplier Symrise.
“We have tested a series of ingredients to see if they can prevent this calcium stream caused by capsaicin and the irritation that results from it,” Neufang explains. “SymSitive was clearly the best. When used nerve fibres hardly reacted at all and the irritation was not transferred further.”
Further studies conducted by the firm on test subjects confirm that SymSitive has a calming effect on very sensitive skin. “The prickling or burning sensation of the skin from the irritant capsaicin is soothed just minutes after using SymSitive-containing products or doesn’t even occur when SysmSitive is used beforehand,” Beiersdorf says.
New Eucerin line
Beiersdorf used the result of the research to develop the new Eucerin UltraSENSITIVE and AntiREDNESS lines, which hit store shelves this summer. “The skin’s irritation threshold is increased and skin discomfort disappears permanently,” the company claims.