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Langerhans cells holds the key to unleash the beauty of skin from within.

Skin Immune Functions and Shiseido's Research

Body immune functions ensures healthy living by eliminating foreign objects and invaders. The skin, body's largest organ and first line of defense against environment, has immune functions to protect the body from foreign substances and various stimuli.

Shiseido believes that improving the skin's homeostasis, which works on damaged skin to restore its original healthy state, is the key to the beautiful skin. Langerhans cells are the commander-in-chief of the skin's immune system, a part of the homeostasis maintenance functions. Here we present Shiseido's unique studies on Langerhans cells and our findings.

Langerhans cells take the lead role in the skin immune function

The Langerhans cells exist in the upper layer of the skin epidermis, accounting for 2 to 5% of the total epidermal cells. They extend their branched arms to one another to form a close-knit network structure, capable of detecting the intrusion of foreign objects. Armed with the following two functions, Langerhans cells maintain skin's homeostasis to enhance the skin's ability to restore its original beauty:

  • Picture of the stained epidermis (upper layer) (the green lights show the Langerhans cells)

  • Image of Langerhans cells (dendritic cells)

Function 1

Command function
When foreign objects - such as germs or harmful substances - intrude the body, the cells call for the defense mode.
When the Langerhans cells detect a foreign object intrusion, they move to the underside of the basal membrane, where they command the immune system to act on the foreign objects.
Command function

Function 2

Self-defense function
The Langerhans cells rapidly alleviate hypersensitivity to environmental factors, such as UV rays or dryness, to protect against chronic inflammations.
When skin is stimulated by external factors, stimulation response factors – capable of causing skin problems - are produced. Once the stimulation response factors are detected, the calming enzyme (CD39), which coats the Langerhans cells, directly acts on the factors in self-defense.
Self-defense function

Relationship between self-defense function and aging

Shiseido studied the changes in the self-defense function due to aging. The results obtained show that the amount of the calming enzyme on the surface of Langerhans cells is significantly lower in the mature group (49-58 years) than in the younger group (26-30 years).

Based on this, Shiseido found that Langerhans cells' self-defense function, which calms the stimulation response factor, becomes less active by the aging process.

Result of analysis of the calming enzyme (CD39)  on the surface of Langerhans cells
Shiseido has developed an ingredient complex that acts directly on the less-active, mature Langerhans cells. The ingredient complex restores the self-defense function to enhance skin immunity. This ingredient complex may provide a new solution to help maintain the skin health restoration process, and to achieve healthy, beautiful skin.