Sensory Neuron Activation from Topical Treatments Modulates the Sensorial Perception of Human Skin via Oxford Academic

1 December 2023


Neural signaling of skin sensory perception from topical treatments is often reported in subjective terms such as a sensation of skin “tightness” after using a cleanser or “softness” after applying a moisturizer.

However, the mechanism whereby cutaneous mechanoreceptors and corresponding sensory neurons are activated giving rise to these perceptions has not been established.

Here, we provide a quantitative approach that couples in vitro biomechanical testing and detailed computational neural stimulation modeling along with a comprehensive in vivo self-assessment survey to demonstrate how cutaneous biomechanical changes in response to treatments are involved in the sensorial perception of the human skin.

Strong correlations are identified between reported perception up to 12 hours post treatment and changes in the computed neural stimulation from mechanoreceptors residing deep under the skin surface.

The study reveals a quantitative framework for understanding the biomechanical neural activation mechanism and the subjective perception by individuals.

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