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A Japanese study has found applying make-up – known as ‘cosmetic therapy’ – could halt the progress of dementia symptoms

People living with dementia who put on make-up could help keep the brain active in people with dementia, according to a study conducted by researchers on elderly people in Japan.

Japanese cosmetic company Shiseido organised a ‘cosmetic therapy programme’ in 400 care facilities across Japan in which residents had make-up lessons which lasted one hour.

In Nursing Plaza Kohoku in Yokohama, nursing staff noticed that after doing the classes, some residents were able to sit straight and eat with no assistance while others developed enough muscle strength to support their own bodies and walk to the toilet by themselves.

In fact, Professor Kaoru Sakatani from Nihon University’s College of Engineering compared two groups of elderly patients in the early and moderate stages of dementia who did ‘cosmetic therapy’.

The first group took make-up lessons for three months, while the other didn’t have lessons. The research showed that cognitive decline was milder in the first group than in the latter.

A spokesperson from Shiseido said applying foundation and rouge to the face helps ‘change the state of mind and simulate both the brain and body.’

Make-up instructor Rina Kurosu said, ‘When wearing make-up, the patients seem to be able to forget the troubles they face.’ It’s thought it can also help to boost self-confidence, which can decline for the elderly and particularly those who may have been in hospital for a while and not had the time or ability to think about their appearance.

If a loved one struggles with putting on make-up, they may still enjoy having it applied for them – it could form part of a pampering session that you carry out with a loved one or relative, or with residents living in your care home.

Source: South China Morning Post