Scientist in laboratory

Behind the science of Eucerin AQUAporin ACTIVE

Skin needs water to look and feel good. The right level of hydration is even more important for skin to be able to work as an effective barrier against external irritants. When skin becomes dehydrated, it looks dull and can feel tight, rough and sensitive. Its barrier function is also compromised.

Good skin hydration is about more than drinking lots of water. What really matters is how effectively moisture is distributed to where it’s needed.

While most moisturisers work by binding water in to the skin and reducing its evaporation, Eucerin has discovered an innovative way to activate skin’s own moisture distribution channels – the Aquaporins. Aquaporins transport moisture between the skin cells and support skin hydration from within.

When hydrated by Eucerin AQUAporin ACTIVE, skin is better able to work as an effective barrier and looks and feels smoother.

The story behind a new generation of moisturisers

In 2003, American biochemist Peter Agre won the Nobel Prize for chemistry for a groundbreaking discovery. He got to the root of water distribution between cells by discovering that proteins form microscopic channels in cell membranes which facilitate the transport of water and other molecules from cell to cell. These channels are called Aquaporins.

Since his initial discovery, 13 different variants have been identified - all with the capacity to transport water and other cell building blocks in and out of cells at the astounding rate of up to three billion molecules per second. One type of Aquaporin, Aquaporin 3 (AQP3), is the most abundant in human skin and conducts water and Glycerol across skin cells. Glycerol is an important humectant and a building block for skin’s own molecules. Optimal water and Glycerol supply is essential to maintain skin’s natural moisture balance.

Scientist looking through microscope.
Scientists discovered a fundamental principle of moisture transport from cell to cell: Aquaporins.
Beiersdorf research and development center based in Hamburg.
The Beiersdorf Research and Development center is based in Hamburg.
Increase of Aquaporin3
AQUAporin ACTIVE increases the number of Aquaporins by 215% after 24 hours*

Aquaporins form a vital network to moisturise the skin. The more of them there are, the better the transport of moisture in the skin.
Rainer Wolber, PhD, Head of Research & Development Eucerin

“Our scientists at Eucerin were inspired by this discovery and determined to find a way to stimulate the formation of Aquaporins in skin cells in order to improve skin moisturisation.”

Artificial skin models were specially grown to detect and study Aquaporins under the microscope, says Wolber: “We tested numerous bioactive substances in an attempt to find the ideal active ingredient. Gluco-glycerol proved to be the key.” Read more about the intensive search for solutions at Eucerin.

Graphic illustration of different skin layers.
Aquaporins make up a network that conveys moisture through the different epidermal skin layers.

In nature, Gluco-glycerol (also known as Glyceryl Glucoside) is utilised by organisms such as blue-green algae to help them survive in extreme conditions of dehydration. Scientific tests proved that Gluco-glycerol could penetrate into the deeper epidermal layers of the skin and stimulate the production of AQP3. As Wolber adds: “We now needed to formulate Gluco-glycerol and develop effective and appealing products.”

The result is the unique Eucerin AQUAporin ACTIVE range of face and body moisturisers. Rigorous clinical and dermatological studies on volunteers with dry and dehydrated skin have demonstrated the moisturising benefits of the products.

Wolber highlights the fact that results are: “immediate and intense. Just 24 hours after first use we saw an impressive increase in skin moisture levels.” These benefits increase over time, with results demonstrating improved moisturisation after regular use and, importantly, “the results are long-lasting. Skin continues to be well moisturised for a while even after the volunteers stopped using the products.”

Graphic illustration of Auaporins.
Dehydrated skin (Schematic illustration) Reduced moisture level due to a limited number of Aquaporins.
Graphic illustration with increased number of Auaporins.
Hydrated skin (Schematic illustration) Intense moisturisation even in deeper epidermal skin layers thanks to an increased number of Aquaporins.

As Wolber summarises “Eucerin AQUAporin ACTIVE moisturisers give the skin the hydration that it needs. In the long term, the products help to improve skin´s moisture, strengthening its barrier function and making it more resistant to the environment.”

Info graphic regarding skin´s moisture after using Eucerin AQUAporin range.
Medical studies approve good moisture results after first and regular usage of Eucerin AQUAporin range.