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Examining Skin: A Functional Barrier

By: Marie Alice Dibon, PharmD
Posted: March 2, 2012, from the March 2012 issue of GCI Magazine.

page 10 of 13

But because this is fairly recent research, few people know that and still try to exfoliate the melanocytes away. And exfoliation, which tends to be pretty drastic, is another activator of inflammation.

In the case of hyperpigmentation, exfoliation provides temporary relief by taking away the melanin that has migrated in the superficial layers, but is bound to worsen the phenomenon by reactivating the melanogenesis induced by the inflammation it triggers all the way down to the basal layer, where the affected melanocytes live.

In addition, a number of dermatological treatments, unfortunately, still put the emphasis on accelerating cell division and increasing proliferation speed. The consequence is that the cells migrate too fast and bring about a very immature and dysfunctional stratum corneum. The cells that are exposed to the environment are just not ready for it.

Treatment Strategies

Lipid-based Strategies

One strategy used in skin care product development has been to simply add lipids to the formula to compensate for the loss of lipids in skin. For the past 30 years, the de facto motto has been: lipids, lipids and more lipids. It started by adding occlusive lipids such as mineral oil and then progressed to oils that were particularly rich in essential fatty acids, because these were functional.

Finally, the practice has moved on to cerebrosides and ceramides.

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