Montfort A. Johnsen, Ph.D.
“Bag-on-valve” (BOV) aerosol development has made possible a large number of sophisticated skin
moisturizing products able to compete with the various non-pressurized versions. With the added
elegance of shaped aluminum cans and easy-press spouts, they have done well in the marketplace.
It may come as a surprise to some that a majority of U.S. adults (mainly women) now apply moisturizers to
face and hands on a daily basis. The result is a $50+ million per year market. Retail prices, usually $5 and up,
are pleasing to marketers.
Dry skin (xerosis) is ubiquitous. It ranges from an
occasional winter-driven rash to disfiguring, flaky “sandpaper
skin,” where persistent itching and scratching is apt to cause
multiple bleeding sites. The malady is usually most intense
on the arms, lower legs and neckline areas, but the face and
scalp may also be impacted. Dry skin affects virtually 100%
of the elderly in northern latitudes, sometimes with devastating
The usual aerosol product has around 10 to 12 chemical
ingredients. About one to three can be considered as “active
ingredients,” such as the film-forming polymers in a hair
spray or the fragrance in an air freshener. In contrast, skin
moisturizers generally contain dozens, even scores, of
“active ingredients.” A recently published example is a
French moisturizer that contains 83 ingredients, including
nine emollients plus numerous sunscreen agents, free radical
scavengers, vitamins, herbal extracts, hormones and other
The majority of U.S. adults apply moisturizers to face and hands
on a daily basis.
items. Unfortunately, it was regarded by consumers as being too greasy.
In the U.S., skin moisturizer formulations typically contain from about 18 to 46
ingredients. The rationale for including so many can range from scientific testing results
to impressing some potential consumers with product labels that carry a long list of
ingredients. Savvy marketers recognize that new and improved skin moisturizers are
demanded by better educated, more critical consumers who usually have more disposable
income. They want skin products that do more than simply keep the epidermis (stratum
corneum) smooth, soft and free from itching. Consequently, numerous specialized ingredients
are now added to the basic moisturizing matrix in an effort to produce “super skin
The benevolent effects of skin moisturizers begins to fade rapidly after about four
hours, faster in hot sunlight and slower if applied after washing or showering, when the
skin is already moisturized and the products can lock-in that extra moisture content. This
has encouraged many users to apply these products during both morning and evening
In formulating skin moisturizers it has been suggested that a few smaller marketers
may consider composites of the qualitative published formulas of major firms, quantifying
the ingredients in line with well-known and customary practices. However, larger
marketers will often devote thousands of hours of research to the sophisticated testing
of prospective formulas. The testing process can take the form of mechanical/electrical
equipment assays and the use of human volunteers. About 50% of woman and 30% of
men have what they consider to be sensitive skin, so volunteers with both “normal” and
February 2019 SPRAY 33
Vaseline Intensive Care Cocoa Radiant Spray Lotion has a non-greasy, non-sticky formula
to leave skin soft and fresh. With micro-droplets of Vaseline Jelly, the lotion spray moisturizes
and absorbs in seconds to help heal dry skin.