Does massage postapplication improve moisturizer’s efficacy? A 2-week regression study


S H Hamed, PhD, Faculty of Allied Health Sciences, Hashemite University, PO Box 150459, Zarqa 13115, Jordan. E-mail:


Background  Combining massage with moisturizer application is a popular technique in beauty spa sessions. The subjective positive psychological effects of massage with moisturizer application in hand and face beauty treatment are documented by many people attending spa sessions. The aim of this study was to objectively evaluate the effect of local effleurage massage as an external intervention on moisturizer efficacy.

Methods  In a regression-type study of 2-week, twice-daily application followed by 1 week of regression, 13 female subjects applied “off the shelf” moisturizer twice daily on both forearms followed by 1 min superficial massage for one forearm randomized among subjects. The influence of massage after moisturizer application on skin barrier properties was evaluated by noninvasive measurements of transepidermal water loss (TEWL), skin capacitance, and skin elasticity at baseline, day 7, and day 14 during the treatment phase, and day 21 following a 1-week regression period, in which no moisturizer and no massage were performed on forearms.

Results  The tested “off the shelf” moisturizer in both “massage” and “no-massage” application protocols caused a comparable progressive improvement in skin hydration level and barrier permeability over the 2-week treatment period, which was maintained during the 1-week regression (no moisturizer) period. In addition, skin elasticity was similarly improved by both application protocols.

Conclusion  In this long-term study, the daily performance of massage after moisturizer application was not an effective external intervention for enhancing moisturizer efficacy.