Have you heard of corneotherapy? If not, be prepared to hear and see it popping up in the skin care industry more and more, especially on the holistic side of the industry, as skin care professionals are looking to tackle the underlying cause (immune response) by treating the outer layer of skin.
Corneotherapy is a newer field of skin treatment within the fields of dermatology and aesthetics. It is all about repairing, restoring, and regenerating the skin barrier, while aiming for long-term stabilization of the skin barrier.
What is corneotherapy? It was not until the 1960s that dermatologist and co-inventor of Retin-A, Dr. Albert Kligman, and his partners discovered that the stratum corneum is actually alive and not a layer of dead cells waiting to shed. This finding gave way to what is known today as corneotherapy. Corneotherapy centers on corneobiology – an anatomy, physiology, and biology of the stratum corneum-based science.
To better visualize how corneotherapy works, think of skin as a functioning environment, with its own ecosystem, whose main purpose is to protect skin and let the body know when its balance is not in harmony. If all the pieces of this complex barrier system are not working together in harmony, the entire system is compromised. A compromised barrier system leads to dry skin, itching, burning, stinging, inflammation, redness, roughness, and tightness. Common conditions associated with a compromised barrier system include: rosacea, acne, eczema, premature aging, sensitized skin, dermatitis, burns, wrinkles, pigmentation, and infection.
Factors that disrupt the skin’s balanced environment are medication, pollution, disease, smoking, and excessive stress – so, basically, anything that is not produced in or on the body.
Then, when skin care products full of dyes, mineral oil, preservatives, perfumes, and emulsifiers are piled on top, the skin is further compromised.
This holistic approach of applying corneotherapeutic philosophy and skin care works to repair and rebuild compromised skin. Trained corneotherapists use customized, pure ingredients free from the harmful substances mentioned above, which are known allergens and irritants.
This method takes time and commitment, but once fulfilled, the health of the skin returns, future problems are typically prevented, and the healthy, functioning skin barrier provides protection against problems such as: allergens, ultraviolet radiation, irritants, dehydration, the penetration of germs, and free radicals.
Wrapping things up, corneotherapy believes that skin must remain intact and fully functional at all times. It also believes treatments such as chemical peels, harsh scrubs and exfoliants, dermaplaning, microdermabrasion, laser resurfacing, and so forth should be avoided.
Maintaining the integrity of the epidermis cannot be stressed enough when it comes to corneobiology. This comes from both the inside and the outside, remembering to not destroy on the outside what is created on the inside.
Florence Barrett-Hill, an internationally acclaimed dermal science educator, practitioner, researcher, and author, states it well: “Consider corneotherapy the pathway to sustainable skin health, and the pathway that will care for the skin throughout the client’s lifetime.”