I find myself being attracted to skincare that has some scientific research behind it - it gives me hope that it might actually deliver on its promises. Having worked in a science lab, I understand how expensive scientific research can be. The reagents needed for each experiment are usually in excess of a couple hundred dollars each and it is not uncommon for an experiment to fail, meaning you have dropped upwards of $1000 for no result, only to have to repeat the process again the next day. For this reason, I not only expect the skincare ranges that are scientifically proven to cost more, I am willing to pay the extra $$$.
So, imagine my surprise to find out, in an article on BeautyDirectory, that Nivea invests heavily in skin research. I mean, that can't be right, can it? Nivea is just a cheap supermarket brand, aren't they? Wrong. Well, not entirely wrong - they are a cheap supermarket brand, but one that also invests €150m (approximately AUD $AU214 million) each year on skin research; who submitted 77 patents for innovations in 2010 and have a Skin Research Centre recognised as one of the largest in the world, employing some 575 scientists. So that's some pretty hardcore research being conducted.
Well then, what is an example of this research? The scientific discovery that is being promoted at the moment is Hydra IQ. You have probably seen pop up ads on Facebook or on your emails with the slogan 'Which Nivea product is based on a Nobel Prize winning discovery?'. Hydra IQ is based on the discovery of aquaporins in the skin by Prof. Peter Agre, an American medical doctor and professor of molecular biology at the Johns Hopkins University in the USA. This discovery won him the 2003 Nobel Prize for Chemistry.
Every cell in the body has a membrane around it that prevents the contents of the cell from leaking out and stops substances that shouldn't be in the cell from entering. The membrane has a number of selective channels, or pores, that let certain substances into or out of the cell. Aquaporins are the channels that let water in or out of the cell. According to Prof. Peter Agre, aquaporins are "the plumbing system for cells,". Every cell is primarily water. "But the water doesn’t just sit in the cell, it moves through it in a very organized way. The process occurs rapidly in tissues that have these aquaporins or water channels."
Nivea latched onto this discovery and investigated it further, in regards to dry skin. According to Mathieu Levasseur (Beiersdorf East Africa managing director ) “In situations where the skins natural water channels are inadequate or poorly developed, Hydra IQ actually helps the skin develop new water channels thus improving the circulation of water in the skin”. Further expanding on this, Dr Annika Schrader (R&D; Care Research, Beiersdorf) explains that "under the influence of factors that cause the skin to dry out, such as UV rays, stress or an unhealthy diet, skin functions will at some point no longer be optimal. This can also affect the aquaporins. Under conditions that dry the skin, fewer of these water channels are found there. This means that the water of the lower skin layers can no longer be distributed optimally in the epidermis".
So, how does Hydra IQ repair the aquaporins that have been damaged due to UV rays, stress or an unhealthy diet? Hydra IQ contains a glucose-glycerol solution and this triggers the biochemical processes in the cell that cause the corresponding proteins to form in the right place. So basically, stresses to the cells have caused the aquaporins to collapse, stopping water from flowing into or out of the cell. HydraIQ allows the aquaporins to reform, thereby unblocking the skins plumbing system allowing the cells to become adequately hydrated.
In an interview with beautydirectory, Ken Lee (NIVEA’s scientific and regulatory affairs manager), stated that the Hydra IQ technology is currently just being utilised in Nivea's range of body moisturisers but will soon be introduced across entire range. So, look out for the logo below to be assured that your Nivea moisturiser contains HydraIQ.