Do you feel you have dry skin? graph of japanese statisticsThe winter months are the driest months in Japan, causing many people problems with dry skin and brings a rise in the sales in humidifiers. To see what the average Japanese suffers from and how they cope, MyVoice looked at prevention of dry skin problems.


Over the first five days of December 2008 15,073 members of the MyVoice internet community completed a private online questionnaire. 54% of the sample were female, 2% in their teens, 15% in their twenties, 36% in their thirties, 29% in their forties, and 18% aged fifty or older. Sadly, the answers were not broken down by sex.

I get really bad dry skin in Japan, although to what extent it is from the dry air, from aging, or just from taking more care now I’m married, I couldn’t say. My hands suffer the most, and the creams I use are just my wife’s left-overs!

I also have psoriasis on a couple of spots on my legs, but that doesn’t really count as dry skin. Interesting statistics about it is that it is the most common dematological complaint in most Western countries, but Japanese are 100 times less likely to suffer from it that us whities, although my excellent doctor says the reason is not known; it’s some combination of genetics, lack of sunlight, and being an island race that increases risk factors.

Although this survey does not look at the topic specifically, one of the most popular skin protection methods, from the effects of not just dryness, but also aging, in Japan is collagen drinks, collagen creams and collagen-rich foods. I always felt the effectiveness was overblown, so I was pleased to a story in the Japan Times saying it is indeed a waste of money! (Via Japan Probe).

Another rumour that seems to be doing the rounds is that young people should use cosmetics aimed at those in their fifties or so.

Research results

Q1: Do you feel you have dry skin? (Sample size=15,073)

All year round 16.7%
Depending on the season 64.6%
Never 18.6%

Q2: Where do you feel dry skin? (Sample size=15,073, multiple answer)

Lips 44.3%
Around mouth 43.2%
Legs 39.9%
Hands 38.9%
Heel 37.4%
Around eyes 27.3%
Elbows 26.7%
Arms 22.0%
U-zone 14.4%
Back 13.7%
Around nose 10.0%
Forehead 7.9%
Bottom 7.1%
Chest 3.4%
Other 3.4%
Don’t feel dry skin anywhere 12.2%
No answer 1.0%

The “U-zone” is a new term to me, but it appears to be a U-shaped area from below (or including) the eyes, down the cheeks and meeting on the chin.

I’m not sure why 18.6% said they never had dry skin in Q1, but then only 12.2% gave the similar answer in Q2!

Q3: What counter-measures do you take for your own dry skin issues? (Sample size=those with dry skin from Q2, multiple answer)

Use skin care products 80.7%
Use bath salts 23.5%
Use a humidifier 15.0%
Take supplements 8.2%
Watch what I eat 6.2%
Do exercise 4.7%
Improve my rhythm of life 4.0%
Use a face steamer, etc 3.2%
Visit an esthetician, etc 2.2%
Other 2.5%
Don’t take any particular counter-measures 13.7%
No answer 0.5%

Q4: Are these counter-measures effective? (Sample size=those who take counter-measures from Q3)

Feel a great benefit 6.3%
Feel some benefit 57.7%
Can’t say either way 25.4%
Don’t really feel much benefit 8.7%
Don’t feel any benefit at all 0.6%
No answer 1.3%

Q5: What kinds of skin care products do you use? (Sample size=those who use skin care products from Q3, multiple answer)

Hand cream 65.7%
Lip balm 61.9%
Lotion 60.3%
Milky lotion 45.1%
Body cream 33.4%
Soap, body soap 23.1%
Beauty fluid, essence 22.6%
Other particular body zone cream 10.9%
Face pack 8.9%
Oil 8.7%
Water spray 5.2%
Other 3.1%
No answer 0.8%

Q6: Why did you choose these skin care products in Q5? (Sample size=those who use skin care products from Q3, multiple answer)

Suits my skin 41.6%
Effect, function 40.1%
Feeling in use 34.4%
Ease of use 33.9%
Cost/performance 32.5%
Ingredients 25.1%
Cheapness 20.6%
Whether free from additives 13.9%
Friends, family evaluation 12.8%
Smell 12.7%
Trust in manufacturer, vendor 11.9%
Advertisement image 10.6%
Web site, word of mouth evaluation 9.2%
Volume of contents 7.0%
Manufacturer, vendor brand strength, name recognition 6.9%
Breadth of product line 5.8%
Package design 4.8%
Country of manufacture 3.5%
Magazine column evaluation 3.0%
Specialist recommendation 2.1%
Famous name who appears in advertising material 1.0%
Other 1.7%
Nothing in particular 8.1%
No answer 0.8%

Q7: What counter-measures would you want to use, continue to use in the future? (Sample size=those with dry skin from Q2, multiple answer)

Use skin care products 62.5%
Use bath salts 25.9%
Use a humidifier 18.6%
Watch what I eat 15.7%
Take supplements 15.1%
Improve my rhythm of life 14.1%
Do exercise 12.9%
Use a face steamer, etc 9.2%
Visit an esthetician, etc 5.5%
Other 1.7%
Don’t want to take any particular measures 17.3%
No answer 2.6%


mike · January 11, 2009 at 04:20

Dry skin is a big problem for me here in New York in the winter. Low humidity is the problem.

Glowing Face Man · January 11, 2009 at 05:25

My girlfriend has lately been using her own skin care oils on *my* face!

RMilner · January 14, 2009 at 18:34

I get dry skin when I visit Japan in winter and stay for a week or more. I think it is partly the dryness of the air (much drier than London!) and also low level of fats in the Japanese diet.

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