You’ve probably heard me stress the importance of maintaining a strong skin barrier, but did you realize that this method of caring for the skin is known as Corneotherapy? I had never heard of this concept before becoming a skin therapist. However, this type of practice was not taught in school. Everything, in fact, was centered around removing the top layer of skin using procedures like chemical peels and microdermabrasion in the hopes of triggering the production of collagen.
Shortly after I entered the spa industry, I discovered the I.A.C. (International Association For Applied Corneotherapy). Through them, I learned that Corneotherapy (korn-ee-oh-ther-uh-pee) is a method of corrective skin care that focuses on repairing, replenishing, and regenerating the skin barrier defense systems. This is achieved by focusing on preserving the skin’s outermost layer rather than subjecting it to abrasive resurfacing techniques.
The concept behind Corneotherapy is that a weakened skin barrier is at the root of many skin disorders. A compromised barrier leads to increased TEWL, also known as trans-epidermal water loss, as well as other inflammatory conditions. Potential skin-related issues include perioral dermatitis, dry and sensitive skin, acne, rosacea, eczema, psoriasis, and premature skin aging. Corneotherapy addresses these by strengthening the Stratum Corneum, the outermost layer of the Epidermis.
For a long time, the Stratum Corneum was thought to be nothing more than a layer of dead cells. In the mid 1960s, Professor Albert Kligman, known as the “Father of Corneotherapy,” found that it was indeed alive and had many functions. This living structure has the ability to send signals and messages to the underlying tissues, which can impact the healing processes deeper inside the skin. Additionally, it is essential for maintaining lipid balance, regulating hydration, and keeping the entry of foreign bodies at bay.
Professor Kligman and his team found that they could effectively treat skin imbalances by using humectant and emollient components on a daily basis. When these ingredients were blended into creams, they became known as moisturizers, and were widely regarded as the most significant cosmetic discovery of the 20th century.
By combining the words corneo, which refers to the Stratum Corneum layer of the epidermis, and therapy, which is a type of medical intervention, Kilgman created what is now known as Corneotherapy. He defined it as an outside-in method, implying that it begins its healing effects on the skin’s surface and works its way down into the deeper layers while always maintaining the protective barrier. He was also the first dermatologist to demonstrate a link between sun exposure and wrinkles, coining the term photo-aging to describe skin aged by the sun.
Our skin’s barrier weakens with age, but it can also be damaged by environmental factors like stress, sun exposure, cold temperatures, blue light from devices, and pollution. Its functionality may also be impacted by excessive exfoliation, harsh skincare products, invasive skin treatments, and gut-related issues. Corneotherapy is a forward-thinking approach that has shown healthy skin can be achieved by preventing or reducing inflammation of the skin. Applying the principles of Corneotherapy has proven it can improve the function of the entire protective layer and restore homeostasis while preserving the integrity of the epidermis at all times.
Throughout the years, I’ve been on an incredible journey of discovery and growth, always looking for innovative and effective approaches to promote healthy, radiant skin. I have come to understand the power and significance of Corneotherapy on this amazing path. It is truly at the heart of my skin care philosophy at Pure+Simple.
- International Association for Applied Corneotherapy
- Progressive Esthetics – What is Corneotherapy?
- Corneotherapy – The future of skincare has arrived
- Photos – dermaviduals® – Progressive Estheti