Influence of polyol and oil concentration in cosmetic products on skin moisturization and skin surface roughness

Skin Res Technol. 2007 Nov;13(4):417-24. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0846.2007.00246.x.


Background/purpose: The purpose of this study is to investigate the optimum combination of polyols and oils in moisturizing cosmetic products to improve the human skin moisturization and skin surface roughness. Polyols and oils are essential ingredients in skin care products, but it is still not understood how their concentrations affect their efficacy and sensory properties on human skin. We investigated the effect of polyol and oil concentration on skin properties by noninvasive methods.

Methods: The polyols consisted of glycerin and butylenes glycol in a ratio of 1:1 and the oils consisted of equal parts of hydrogenated polydecene, cethyl ethylhexanoate and pentaerythrityl tetraethylhexanoate. All cosmetic products were made in O/W emulsions in concentrations ranging from 0% to 30% for polyols and from 0% to 35% for oils. We investigated the effect on water content and skin surface roughness on the forearm after application of the cosmetic products. The skin water contents were measured by a Corneometer CM825 and the skin surface roughness by visual coring of skin surface biopsies in the scanning electron micrographs.

Results: In the first study, we found that the water content of the skin correlated highly with the polyol (up to 30%) and oil (up to 12%) concentrations, respectively. At two hours after application, the correlation coefficients were 0.971 and 0.985, respectively (P<0.01). Skin surface roughness not only showed a strong concentration dependence on polyols and oils (up to 6%). In the second study, we investigated the optimum combination of polyols and oils to improve the skin moisturization and skin surface roughness by the Response surface methodology. The water content of the skin surface was high in the ratio of polyol to oil (30:12 and 25:30). The skin surface roughness was improved considerably in the ratio of polyols to oil (30:6 and 30:35).

Conclusions: Our results indicated that the skin surface properties were improved in the different ratios of their concentrations because they are influenced by not one ingredient but the interaction between polyols and oils. In this study, we could recommend the optimum concentration of polyols and oils to improve the skin surface properties. Further studies will be performed with other ingredients such as surfactants, lipids and so on.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biopsy
  • Cosmetics / administration & dosage*
  • Dermoscopy
  • Emollients / administration & dosage
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Oils / administration & dosage*
  • Polymers / administration & dosage*
  • Skin / drug effects*
  • Skin / metabolism
  • Skin / pathology*
  • Water / metabolism


  • Cosmetics
  • Emollients
  • Oils
  • Polymers
  • polyol
  • Water