This product has been around for a few years now and although the hype on blogs and magazines (we first saw it in Marie Claire) has died down, the sales are still mega-high! So we thought we would take another look at the science behind the bottle and this time we are not going to miss a thing – get ready to uncover all the secrets of Kiehl’s Skin Rescuer!

Aimed at stressed skin (just check out their stress-focussed advert below!) this daily hydrator claims to combat all the signs of stress, including uneven skin tone, and to fortify the skin barrier function. Kiehl’s advertise chamomile, mannose and Rosa gallica (French rose) as the key ingredients but there is so much more to it than that!

The Science behind the Bottle
Let’s start with camomile. We could go on forever about its benefits, but a quick fix for inflammation, stress and uneven skin are just a few of them. Its anti-inflammatory properties are thought to be due to the content of flavonoids (a group of molecules with two rings of carbons – one at each end).These activities include blocking an inflammatory pathway called the cyclooxygenase pathway. Chamomile has been used topically (applied directly to skin) in the treatment of eczema, an inflammatory-based disease, and appeared to work a treat! It has also been tested in its ability to heal wounds (tattoos in one experiment we looked at!). A component of chamomile responsible for many of its benefits is levomenol, a hydrating agent which will improve skins appearance and can relieve pruritus (that’s itching!). No wonder Kiehl’s have snapped up this ingredient!

Accompanying chamomile on its rescue mission is mannose. This was a big new ingredient at the time, but we Geeks are hard to please and are just not convinced! Mannose is simply a sugar monomer which means it is a single sugar molecule but it can join up with loads of other monomers to make a glycan chain. Now why put a sugar in a skin care product? They are mainly used as humectants and skin conditioning agents. One study tested out 12 sugars and found that 8 did make a difference (lucky for Kiehls mannose is one of them!) and they suggest that sugars interact with lipids, a major part of that all important skin barrier, to make it more stable but also to hold a layer of water nearby to keep skin hydrated. However, as all scientists are, we are sceptic and there is very little evidence out there to say that this actually works, maybe Kiehl’s knows something we don’t!

The next thing Kiehls are proud to have used is Rosa gallica flower extract – as you might have guessed, yep, it is a rose! Many rose-containing products use Rosa damascene, which is a hybrid rose made from Rosa gallica and Rosa moschata, and is more extensively studied. Unfortuantely, we couldn’t find an awful lot about Rosa gallica. It might be a romantic gesture from our friends at Kiehl’s, but the science isn’t there to back it up! We want more studies on Rosa gallica – we best get in the lab! Generally, rose species are commonly used for their scent but they also have other tricks up their sleeves. Many roses contain flavonoids which have been found to be great antioxidants – this means it can help protect skin from the stresses of free radicals we encounter every day! Just to back this up Kiehls have thrown in tocopherol, or as some may know it – vitamin E, another antioxidant aimed at dampening damage-causing agents that can lead to the signs of premature ageing. It’s a good try on the rose front from Kiehl’s, but we prefer our products science-savvy over romantic!

We couldn’t help notice ceramides popping up all over the place in the ingredient list and just had to investigate! Now these really are something worth shouting about. Ceramides are waxy lipids which range in length and are a major part of the stratum corneum of the skin (around 50% of the lipids in skin are ceramides!) and new research is focusing on ceramides in moisturisers to stop water loss and step up the fight against dry skin. Many components of our cosmetics sit on top of the skin but it is thought that ceramides can actually be taken up by cells (keratinocytes), processed and put back into the stratum corneum (the top layer of the skin) to do their job keeping the skin barrier strong! Hydroxypalmitoyl sphinganine is (not only a mouthful, but) also on the ingredients list and this is taken up by the skin and made into ceramides – we just can’t get enough of them!

The Verdict

So although some ingredients need a bit more de-mystifying before we believe they are better than sliced bread, Kiehls have convinced us that this product really could rescue our skin, especially from dryness and irritation! Reviews are generally very positive, especially for dry skin, despite a not-so-tiny price tag. We want to see more info on Rosa gallica and we were less-than-convinced about topical mannose, but overall this product looks like it’ll do the trick!

If this sounds good, and you would like to get it for yourself, you can do so HERE!

Pharmaceutical, cosmeceutical, and traditional applications of marine carbohydrates.
Safety Assessment of Monosaccharides and Disaccharides as Used in Cosmetics
Effects of topical application of aqueous solutions of hexoses on epidermal permeability barrier recovery rate after barrier disruption
Chamomile: A herbal medicine of the past with bright future
Cosmeceuticals containing herbs: fact, fiction, and future.
Two Galloylated Flavonoids as Antioxidants in Rosa gallica Petals
Modern Moisturizer Myths,Misconceptions, and Truths
Barrier Repair Therapy in Atopic Dermatitis: An Overview

Image referece: https://www.douglas.de/douglas/Pflege-Gesicht-Tagespflege-Kiehl’s-Feuchtigkeitspflege-Skin-Rescuer_productbrand_3000068366.html