Barrier Repair Science

edited December 2019 in Ask the Beauty Brains
Hi Perry & Randy,

Long time no post (from me that is)! :wink:

I think it's safe to say that I am obsessed with optimal skin function (even at the expense of "cosmetic acceptability"). That is, I am interested in skin barrier function, NMFs, and helping skin "do it's job" as best as possible. I came across Elias & Williams, two doctors whose research helped develop the "prescription-only controlled-release skin-barrier-repair emulsion," EpiCeram®, used to restore the skin barrier of patients with Eczema and other dermatoses. (I'm sure your are aware of this product.)

The main idea is that common moisturizers do indeed "work," but more so treat the symptom (i.e., dry skin/irritation) versus resolving the underlying issue (viz., impaired skin barrier function). In healthy skin, the lipid barrier is composed of a 1:1:1 ratio of cholesterol, free fatty acids and ceramides, but topically they have found that a 3:1:1 ratio accelerates barrier repair (the predominant lipid in the formulation depends on the condition being treated). Currently, many products being offered either do not contain all three types of lipids, or the ratios used are wrong. This results in delayed repair, making the problem even worse! More information can be found through their website:

I know "barrier repair" has been used as a marketing buzzword, but I'd like to get a cosmetic chemist's point of view, as there is some good science here... Are you aware of any products that contain all three lipids in a 1:1:1 ratio that are not prescription-only? It seems like developments in barrier repair formulations are the future of skin care: do you believe we will be seeing more formulations offered to the common consumer in the near future? Similarly, I remember reading about how creating synthetic sebum is incredibly complex/difficult/expensive: how does this factor into this discussion? Is there movement in this direction in the cosmetic chemistry world? I just think this is so cool, and want all the thoughts you currently hold about barrier repair. (Why aren't more people talking about this?!?)

Thanks again, guys!
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