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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 11 of 13
About 10 years ago, product developers started using equivalent concentrations of the three lipids: cholesterol, fatty acids and ceramides. When applied to the skin, that formula temporarily restores the barrier effect, but it is purely a palliative effect—not a cure.
Differentiation and Proliferation
Approaches to creating skin care products have also involved vitamin D3, which is essential in the differentiation process, and it seems to be a good idea. Although vitamin D3 is not allowed for use in cosmetics in Europe, its precursor, 7-dehydrocholesterol, is allowed.
As with every biological process, it is important to be careful and use the right concentration. Remember, too much differentiation implies a slow down in the proliferation. If the differentiation processes is excessively increased, skin becomes excessively thick as the migration speed slows down too much and cells accumulate instead of being properly exfoliated in a timely fashion, and cells take four to six weeks in a normal cycle to reach the stratum corneum.
A major direction of research on new skin barrier technologies involves looking at how to nurture and activate the tight junctions.
Some teams are working on activating the claudins, a family of proteins that are crucial structural and functional components of the tight junctions, in order to increase the tight junctions formation. But new strategies must also focus on restoring or improving the role of the proteins, filagrin and evolucrin in strengthening bonds between the lipids and the surface coat proteins to provide optimal barrier effect.
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