Everyday life psychosocial stressors contribute to poor health and disease vulnerabilty. Means alternative to pharmacotherapy that are able to foster stress resilience are more and more under the magnifying glass of biomedical research. The aim of this study was to test stress resilience fostering properties of the self-administration of a cosmetic product enriched with essential oils. On day 0, fourty women, 25-50 years old, self-administered both the enriched cosmetic product (ECP) and a placebo one (PCP). Then, women were randomized for daily self-administration (from day 1 to 28) of either ECP (n = 20) or PCP (n = 20). On day 29, subjects underwent a psychosocial stress test (PST). Autonomic (heart rate and its variability) and neuroendocrine (salivary cortisol) parameters were assessed both on day 0 and 29. All subjects filled a number of psychological questionnaires in order to quantify anxiety, perceived stress, and mood profile, and were videorecorded during PST for non-verbal behavior evaluation. A single application of ECP produced an acute potentiation of cardiac parasympathetic modulation, which was not observed when placebo was used. Prolonged self-administration of ECP induced: (i) a dampening of the cortisol rise produced by PST, (ii) a reduction of state anxiety, (iii) a favorable change in mood profile, and (iv) a reduction of non-verbal behavior patterns that signal anxiety, motivational conflict and avoidance. In conclusion, this study suggests that the self-administration of a cosmetic cream enriched with essential oils should be considered as a stress resilience fostering strategy due to its favorable physiological, neuroendocrine and psychological effects.
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