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© 1976 Society of Cosmetic Chemists
Journal of the Society of Cosmetic Chemists, Vol. 27, No. 11, 509-531

Characterizing Cosmetic Effects and Skin Morphology by Scanning Electron Microscopy
Charles A. Garber , C. T. Nightingale



The SCANNING ELECTRON MICROSCOPE has developed into an important tool for characterizing the effects of COSMETIC PRODUCTS on HUMAN SKIN. Methods are described for “replicating” areas of stratum corneum as in vivo impressions, or “negative replicas.” The “negatives” are replicated again to produce “positives,” which are then studied in the scanning electron microscope. Through the use of selected control subjects, it has been possible to define the differences between dry and normal skin, the former generally exhibiting larger uplifting desquamating layers (flakes) of stratum corneum. Experimental findings note that beneficial clinical effects are generally accompanied by a reduction in the amount and\/or size of the desquamating material. Examples will be given for (1) moisturizing products, (2) protein additives, (3) abradent cleansing products, and (4) moisturizing soaps. The effects, in some instances, are so subtle that unless the microscopy is done as Before and After pairs on the same identical areas, the effects will not be recognized. Once good micrographs are obtained, it is sometimes possible to quantitate the results through the use of Quantimet Image Analyzing Computer,

Imanco, Inc., Monsey, N.Y.

a tool originally developed by metallurgists, but which has great potential for quantifying cosmetic effects.

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© 1976 Society of Cosmetic Chemists
Journal of the Society of Cosmetic Chemists