National / Science & Health

Shimane retains title as home to most beautiful skin in Japan

by Atsushi Kodera

Staff Writer

Women in Shimane Prefecture have the most beautiful facial skin among the nation’s 47 prefectures, while those in Gunma Prefecture are the least blessed in terms of skin condition, according to a major cosmetics manufacturer.

Pola Inc.’s annual Nippon Bihadaken Grand Prix 2014 (Japan Beautiful-Skin Prefecture Grand Prix 2014) announced its rankings on Monday. Women from the 47 prefectures who underwent the firm’s proprietary skin analysis process took part in the event.

Shimane, Kochi and Ehime prefectures took the top three slots thanks to the shorter duration of daylight and higher humidity, according to the company’s analysis.

Shimane secured the top spot for the third consecutive year in the annual tally.

The company says less exposure to sunlight makes skin less prone to damage from ultraviolet rays, while humidity helps maintain optimal skin moisture levels.

Shiga, Tochigi and Gunma prefectures brought up the rear, ranking 45th, 46th and 47th place.

For the rankings, the company gauged the skin condition of 590,000 female customers who visited its outlets nationwide in one year through Aug. 31, using an original measuring device for its Apex skin care counseling system.

Skin condition was measured according to six attributes that Pola researchers believe combine to create the ideal: consistency of the outermost layer, wrinkle resistance, freckle resistance, acne resistance, moisture and surface smoothness.

The figures for the six attributes were added together for an overall score for each prefecture. Scores for individual prefectures were shown in terms of deviation.

In terms of scores for individual attributes, Shimane Prefecture ranked first in fine surface, second in resistance to wrinkles and moisture levels, and third in freckle resistance.

The company also scored the prefectures in four key environmental areas conducive to beautiful skin: more humidity, less hours of daylight, healthy lifestyles and less exposure to dry or strong winds that hit some prefectures from fall to spring. Pola researchers believe those winds have a major bearing on skin condition.

Shimane ranked ninth in humidity, fourth in daylight hours and 38th in healthy lifestyle. The prefecture is not affected by the skin-damaging wind, the company said.

Pola in particular warns against the dry or strong winds that it says cause dry skin and bring down skin temperature.

To protect against these conditions, it recommends using moisturizing lotions, milks or creams to boost skin moisture and facial massage to raise temperatures after exposure.