When it's functioning at its best, the skin shines, creating a luminous, radiant and clear complexion. On the flip side, when the skin is compromised, it can appear dry, scaly and inflamed. It can cause considerable physical and emotional discomfort, and can affect any part of the body.
Correcting this imbalance and putting a stop to red and irritated outbreaks isn't always easy. However, many researchers now believe that the key to skin health lies in the stratum corneum - the outermost layer of the epidermis, and the barrier between the skin and the outside world.
The stratum corneum is made up of tightly packed dead skin cells. Having originated as new skin cells at the innermost layer of the epidermis, these cells travel towards the surface of the skin, where they form a dense barrier that keeps irritants out, and moisture locked in.
Occasionally, this barrier can fail, allowing bacteria and viruses to penetrate the skin, and also letting transpiration occur at a faster rate than normal. The body responds to these failures through inflammation, as if trying to fill the gap in the skin's barrier, which can result in itchy, acneic and damaged skin.
The team at dermaviduals believe corneotherapy holds the answer to barrier compromise. First proposed by Professor Albert Kligman, corneotherapy is based around the concept that problems seen on the surface of the skin are caused by an immune response from deeper within the dermis, which is itself caused by a disruption to the protective stratum corneum. By maintaining a healthy protective barrier, Kligman proposed the skin would maintain a state of healthy equilibrium.
‘Studies over the last 50 years have shown with certainty that the stratum corneum has diverse and numerous functions all being essential for maintaining cutaneous homeostasis,' explains Reika Roberts, co-founder and managing partner of skincare company Derma Aesthetics.
‘When the skin's barrier is disrupted, it is no longer protected from environmental stressors and pollution and loses its ability to protect and defend itself. If perfumes, emulsifiers and mineral oils are added to skincare products, the skin can quickly become further compromised.'
According to Simone Vescio, who is also a managing partner of Derma Aesthetics, this understanding of how the skin protects and repairs itself has led to the development of modern skincare solutions that can be tailored to individual needs, and which can effectively restore healthy, balanced skin.
PUTTING A STOP TO RED AND IRRITATED OUTBREAKS ISN'T ALWAYS EASY, BUT THE KEY TO SKIN HEALTH LIES IN THE STRATUM CORNEUM
‘In 1994, Dr Hans Lautenschläger from Germany developed dermaviduals, a dermatological skincare solution that is designed to maintain the stratum corneum,' Vescio says. ‘Active ingredients in the skincare range are released through a highly specialised liposomal delivery system,' explains Roberts, who distributes the dermaviduals range in Australia and New Zealand. ‘Containing no mineral oils, emulsifiers, amines, preservatives, colours of fragrances, the active ingredients penetrate the skin's protective barrier, providing an accurate and responsive delivery system.'
dermaviduals specialises in the treatment and prevention of aged and sun-damaged skin, as well as specific problems such as dermatitis, acne, psoriasis and hyperpigmentation.
‘As well as a general improvement in complexion, dermaviduals is designed to help maintain a healthy stratum corneum, and is therefore an ideal solution for those looking for long-term maintenance of their skin.' Roberts says.