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Stress Relief Properties of a Cosmetic Routine

The safety and scientific validity of this study is the responsibility of the study sponsor and investigators. Listing a study does not mean it has been evaluated by the U.S. Federal Government. Read our disclaimer for details.
 
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT04127279
Recruitment Status : Completed
First Posted : October 15, 2019
Last Update Posted : October 15, 2019
Sponsor:
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Elena Giovanna Bignami, University of Parma

Brief Summary:

Everyday life psychosocial challenges may negatively impact health and well-being, contributing to the onset and/or progression of psychological and psychosomatic disorders. Pharmacological treatments can moderate our stress response, but they usually bring about addiction/tolerance and a number of other side effects. Therefore, it is relevant to identify alternative stress relief strategies that are devoid of these unwanted drawbacks. Moreover, the effects of such alternative interventions should be objectively quantified by means of reliable psychobiological parameters. The goal of this study was to quantify the acute and persistent effects of a cosmetic routine based on the self-administration of a cream enriched with essential oils, namely Juniperus Phoenicea gum extract, Copaifera Officinalis resin, Aniba Rosodora wood oil, and Juniperus Virginiana. This aim was achieved by measuring the (re-)activity of the autonomic nervous system (via heart variability indexes) and the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical axis (via salivary cortisol levels), as well as through psychometric and behavioral assessments.

Participants' informed consent signature for adhesion at the study was initially requested. With their acceptance, parameters were recorded anonimously, identified by their initials and an alphanumeric code.

Data were transferred on Excel worksheets, utilized for descriptive analysis related at every variable. All statistical analyses were performed using SPSS 25 software package and statistical significance was set at p<0.05.


Condition or disease Intervention/treatment Phase
Stress Physiology Stress, Psychological Biological: Cream Phase 4

Detailed Description:

Everyday life psychosocial challenges may negatively impact health and well-being, contributing to the onset and/or progression of psychological and psychosomatic disorders. Pharmacological treatments can moderate our stress response, but they usually bring about addiction/tolerance and a number of other side effects. Therefore, it is relevant to identify alternative stress relief strategies that are devoid of these unwanted drawbacks. Moreover, the effects of such alternative interventions should be objectively quantified by means of reliable psychobiological parameters.

The goal of this study was to quantify the acute and persistent effects of a cosmetic routine based on the self-administration of a cream (DAVC) enriched with essential oils, namely Juniperus Phoenicea gum extract, Copaifera Officinalis resin, Aniba Rosodora wood oil, Juniperus Virginiana. This aim was achieved by measuring the (re-)activity of the autonomic nervous system (via heart variability indexes) and the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical axis (via salivary cortisol levels), as well as through psychometric and behavioral assessments.

Fourty women, 25-50 years old, were instructed for a correct mode of self administration of the cream. On day 0, women came to the lab and were instrumented for electrocardiographic signal (ECG) recordings. Initially, a 10-min ECG was collected in resting conditions (baseline). Then, two 20-min ECGs were recorded, each following the self-administration (3-min duration) of the DAVC and a placebo cream (PLAC), in a randomized order. At the end of the baseline and the two post-cream administration recordings, saliva samples were collected. From day 1 to 28, subjects self-administered (at home, twice a day, at wake-up and bed time) either DAVC (n=20) or PLAC (n=20).

On day 29, they returned to the lab and ECGs and underwent a stress test (Trier Social Stress Test, TSST). The test lasted 10 min and consisted in a stress interview (5 min), immediately followed by an arithmetic task. ECGs were collected in baseline (10 min), test (10 min), and recovery (20 min) phases. Saliva samples were collected at the end of the baseline and the middle and the end of the recovery phase. The subjects filled a number of psychological questionnaires, including Profile of Mood States (POMS, on day 0 and 29) and STAI-Y1 (on day 29). In addition, subjects were videorecorded during the TSST, in order to quantify their non verbal behavior patterns (via ECSI).

A single, self-administration of DAVC (day 0) produced a significant, acute potentiation of parasympathetic neural modulation (HF index: 25% increase as to baseline), whereas PLAC produced only a modest change (3% increase). DAVC provoked a modest (10%), non significant reduction of cortisol levels, which was similar to that induced by PLAC.

Prolonged DAVC self-administration (4 weeks) produced: (i) a significant inhibition of stress-induced cortisol elevation on day 29 (55% increase as compared to pre-stress value in DAVC group, 75% in PLAC group); (ii) a significant improvement of mood profile (POMS test) on day 29 compared to day 0; (iii) a reduction of perceived anxiety (STAI-Y1 score) at the end of the TSST; (iv) significantly lower scores of behavioral patterns linked to anxiety, motivational conflict and avoidance and higher scores of affiliation during the TSST, as compared to PLAC group.

These autonomic neural, neuroendocrine and psychological data suggest that a cream enriched with essential oils has both acute and long-term stress-reduction effects on human psychophysiology. Acute effects involve a potentiation of the parasympathetic component of autonomic neural regulation, which is usually associated with well-being, relaxation and resilience. The long-term effects point to a generalized stress-relief property, involving both the hormonal and psychological sides of stress adaptation.

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Study Type : Interventional  (Clinical Trial)
Actual Enrollment : 40 participants
Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: Single (Participant)
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: Stress Relief Properties of a Cosmetic Routine: Psychobiological Evidence
Actual Study Start Date : January 15, 2018
Actual Primary Completion Date : September 28, 2018
Actual Study Completion Date : December 14, 2018

Resource links provided by the National Library of Medicine

MedlinePlus related topics: Cosmetics

Arm Intervention/treatment
Experimental: Enriched Cream
The enriched cream is self-administered and contains a blend of 4 essential oils, namely Juniperus phoenicea gum extract, Copaifera officinalis resin, Aniba rosaeodora wood oil and Juniperus virginiana oil.
Biological: Cream

The enriched cream is self-administered and contains a blend of 4 essential oils, namely Juniperus phoenicea gum extract, Copaifera officinalis resin, Aniba rosaeodora wood oil and Juniperus virginiana oil.

The placebo cream is devoid of the essential oils


Active Comparator: Placebo Cream
Cream devoid of essential oils, self-administered
Biological: Cream

The enriched cream is self-administered and contains a blend of 4 essential oils, namely Juniperus phoenicea gum extract, Copaifera officinalis resin, Aniba rosaeodora wood oil and Juniperus virginiana oil.

The placebo cream is devoid of the essential oils





Primary Outcome Measures :
  1. Acute autonomic stress responsivity (heart rate, HR) to cream self-administration [ Time Frame: ECG recorded just before (for 10 minutes) the self-administration of the enriched and placebo creams (day 0) ]
    Mean HR, measured as bpm (beats per minute)

  2. Acute autonomic stress responsivity (heart rate, HR) to cream self-administration [ Time Frame: ECG recorded just after (for 20 minutes) the self-administration of the enriched and placebo creams (day 0) ]
    Mean HR, measured as bpm (beats per minute)

  3. Acute autonomic stress responsivity (HF, vagal input to the heart) to cream self-administration [ Time Frame: ECG recorded just before (for 10 minutes) the self-administration of the enriched and placebo creams (day 0) ]
    High frequency component power (HF) of the RR interval spectrum (n.u.)

  4. Acute autonomic stress responsivity (HF, vagal input to the heart) to cream self-administration [ Time Frame: ECG recorded just after (for 20 minutes) the self-administration of the enriched and placebo creams (day 0) ]
    High frequency component power (HF) of the RR interval spectrum (n.u.)

  5. Acute HPA axis stress responsivity to cream self-administration [ Time Frame: Samples obtained just before the self-administration of the enriched and placebo creams ]
    Determined by means of salivary cortisol levels (pg/ml)

  6. Acute HPA axis stress responsivity to cream self-administration [ Time Frame: Samples obtained after (20 min) the self-administration of the enriched and placebo creams ]
    Determined by means of salivary cortisol levels (pg/ml)

  7. Acute HPA axis stress responsivity to the psychosocial stress test [ Time Frame: Samples obtained just before the psychosocial stress test ]
    Determined by means of salivary cortisol levels

  8. Acute HPA axis stress responsivity to the psychosocial stress test [ Time Frame: Samples obtained after (10 minutes) the psychosocial stress test ]
    Determined by means of salivary cortisol levels

  9. Acute HPA axis stress responsivity to the psychosocial stress test [ Time Frame: Samples obtained after (30 minutes) the psychosocial stress test ]
    Determined by means of salivary cortisol levels


Secondary Outcome Measures :
  1. Perceived stress [ Time Frame: Before (day -2) the 4-week time period (day 0 to 28) during which subjects self-administered twice daily (at wake up time and bed time) the cream ]

    Determined via the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS) questionnaire. It is a measure of the degree to which situations in one's life are appraised as stressful. Items are designed to tap how unpredictable, uncontrollable, and overloaded respondents find their lives. The 10 questions that compose this test are related to feelings and thoughts experienced during the last month. In each case, respondents are asked how often they felt a certain way.

    For each question, they had to choose from the following alternatives:

    0=never, 1=almost never, 2=sometimes, 3=fairly often, 4=very often.

    The PSS score was determined by following these directions:

    First, the scores for questions 4, 5, 7, and 8 were reversed.

    On these 4 questions, the scores were changed like this:

    0 = 4, 1 = 3, 2 = 2, 3 = 1, 4 = 0.

    Then scores were added up for each item to get a total. Individual scores on the PSS can range from 0 to 40 with higher scores indicating higher perceived stress.


  2. Perceived stress [ Time Frame: After (day 29) the 4-week time period (day 0 to 28) during which subjects self-administered twice daily (at wake up time and bed time) the cream ]

    Determined via the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS) questionnaire. It is a measure of the degree to which situations in one's life are appraised as stressful. Items are designed to tap how unpredictable, uncontrollable, and overloaded respondents find their lives. The 10 questions that compose this test are related to feelings and thoughts experienced during the last month. In each case, respondents are asked how often they felt a certain way.

    For each question, they had to choose from the following alternatives:

    0=never, 1=almost never, 2=sometimes, 3=fairly often, 4=very often.

    The PSS score was determined by following these directions:

    First, the scores for questions 4, 5, 7, and 8 were reversed.

    On these 4 questions, the scores were changed like this:

    0 = 4, 1 = 3, 2 = 2, 3 = 1, 4 = 0.

    Then scores were added up for each item to get a total. Individual scores on the PSS can range from 0 to 40 with higher scores indicating higher perceived stress.


  3. Profile of mood states [ Time Frame: Before (day -2) the 4-week time period (day 0 to 28) during which subjects self-administered twice daily (at wake up time and bed time) the cream ]
    Determined via the Profile of Mood States (POMS) questionnaire. It is a rating scale that measures 6 distinct mood states, namely tension-anxiety (TA), depression-dejection (DD), anger-hostility (AH), fatigue-inertia (FI), confusion-bewilderment (CB), and vigor-activity (VA). Subjects are asked to report the intensity of these six different dimensions of mood as they felt them during the last week. Subjects self report on each of these areas using a 5-point Likert scale (0=not at all, 1=a little, 2=moderately, 3=quite a lot, 4=extremely). An overall score of mood profile (POMS score) can be drawn by summing the scores obtained in each of the five "negative" factors and subtracting the single positive factor (VA).

  4. Profile of mood states [ Time Frame: After (day 29) the 4-week time period (day 0 to 28) during which subjects self-administered twice daily (at wake up time and bed time) the cream ]
    Determined via the Profile of Mood States (POMS) questionnaire. It is a rating scale that measures 6 distinct mood states, namely tension-anxiety (TA), depression-dejection (DD), anger-hostility (AH), fatigue-inertia (FI), confusion-bewilderment (CB), and vigor-activity (VA). Subjects are asked to report the intensity of these six different dimensions of mood as they felt them during the last week. Subjects self report on each of these areas using a 5-point Likert scale (0=not at all, 1=a little, 2=moderately, 3=quite a lot, 4=extremely). An overall score of mood profile (POMS score) can be drawn by summing the scores obtained in each of the five "negative" factors and subtracting the single positive factor (VA).

  5. Behavioral coping style [ Time Frame: During the psychosocial stress test (PST, day 29) ]
    Determined via the quantification of 37 different patterns of non-verbal behavior. The recording session (10-min psychosocial stress) was divided into successive 15-second sample intervals. The instant of time at the end of each sample interval, referred to as the "sample point", was identified by a beeper. On the instant of each sample point, the observer recorded whether or not the behavior pattern had occurred during the preceding sample interval. The score of each behavior for each subject was expressed as the proportion of all sample intervals during which that behavior occurred.



Information from the National Library of Medicine

Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Talk with your doctor and family members or friends about deciding to join a study. To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contacts provided below. For general information, Learn About Clinical Studies.


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Ages Eligible for Study:   25 Years to 50 Years   (Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   Female
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   Yes
Criteria

Inclusion Criteria:

  • female gender
  • 25 to 50 years old

Exclusion Criteria:

  • current or past neurological, psychiatric, and cardiac disorders
  • cognitive impairment
  • substance or alcohol abuse or dependence
  • recent (last 12 months) traumatic events such as a death in the family, serious accident, job firing or divorce
  • caregiving (last 12 months) a family member with serious pathology or disability
  • current psychotropic or contraceptive drug use

Information from the National Library of Medicine

To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contact information provided by the sponsor.

Please refer to this study by its ClinicalTrials.gov identifier (NCT number): NCT04127279


Locations
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Italy
University of Parma
Parma, Italy, 43124
Sponsors and Collaborators
University of Parma
Investigators
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Principal Investigator: Andrea Sgoifo, PhD University of Parma
Principal Investigator: Luca Carnevali, PhD University of Parma
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Responsible Party: Elena Giovanna Bignami, full professor, University of Parma
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT04127279    
Other Study ID Numbers: 46700 18122017
First Posted: October 15, 2019    Key Record Dates
Last Update Posted: October 15, 2019
Last Verified: October 2019

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Studies a U.S. FDA-regulated Drug Product: No
Studies a U.S. FDA-regulated Device Product: No
Keywords provided by Elena Giovanna Bignami, University of Parma:
autonomic nervous system
HPA axis
anxiety
non verbal behavior
Additional relevant MeSH terms:
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Stress, Psychological
Behavioral Symptoms