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How corneotherapy preserves the integrity of the skin barrier

Therapists wanting to achieve sustainable results for clients should be considering their skin barrier and stratum corneum as part of any strategy.

So says Maria Rylott-Byrd in an article published in Professional Beauty UK. She explains that corneotherapy is a philosophy to proactively care for the skin. In essence, it looks to preserve the integrity of the skin barrier and stratum corneum as a priority.

Says Rylott-Byrd: “The term corneotherapy was first coined by Dr Albert Kligman, a dermatologist and co-founder of Retin-A, back in the 1960s and has been picking up pace with those who have a keen interest in a progressive – not aggressive – approach to skin.

“The skin barrier is a natural shield; it’s an eco-system that, when functioning effectively, is impermeable, preventing the penetration of micro-organisms and transepidermal water loss. If we visualise it like a brick wall, the bricks are our cells – known as corneocytes – and the mortar is our lipid matrix, which is made up of ceramides, fatty acids and cholesterols. If the wall isn’t maintained then the mortar will begin to crumble and, inevitably, it will weaken.

“Therefore the skin barrier needs to be intact for the epidermis to be healthy and this is achieved when there is an equilibrium of lipids and water. However, the barrier doesn’t work in isolation, it works synergistically with the skin’s microbiome and acid mantle. It’s these elements that together optimise barrier strength and integrity.”

Rylott-Baird notes that true corneotherapy goes beyond theory and avoids the use of ingredients such as petrochemicals, preservatives, fragrances, emulsifiers and silicones, which will negatively impact the skin. Instead, ingredients that are compatible with the skin’s own biochemistry are embraced as well as those that mimic the skin’s function.

“If skin health isn’t optimised, then this should be the priority ahead of any corrective intervention. Compromising an already compromised skin is not a common-sense approach and may create more problems than it solves,” she comments.

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