Skin Barrier Repair: Less Like Ikea and More Like Lego

A custom skin care routine treats and prevents skin disorders. Your approach to skin barrier repair should be less out-of-the-box, like Ikea, and more geared toward custom design, like Lego.

legos custom design skin care routineMost of us are familiar with Ikea. The Scandinavian company’s products offer stylish, pre-designed furniture that comes in a big box with pieces you put together by following a series of instructions. What makes Ikea popular:

  • Already designed
  • No creativity needed
  • No specialized skills required to assemble (simply follow the instructions. Although sometimes the instructions don’t exactly work).

Most of us are also familiar with Lego. Like Ikea, the modular pieces of Lego are easily assembled. Unlike Ikea, Lego is not a pre-designed creation that comes straight out of the box. Instead, Lego consists of a variety of small pieces that require creativity and problem solving to assemble. While also modular, there are many interchangeable sizes to combine for a desired result. What’s great about Lego is that it allows you to:

  • Decide what it is you want to create
  • Create based on individually selected pieces
  • Design a unique approach, framework and creative formula
  • Easy to add or remove pieces, as needed

I’m sure you’re wondering by now what any of this has to do with barrier repair. Stay with me here because I’m going to tie it all together.

The skin barrier system

The most outer layer of the skin is called the stratum corneum. It is here that the highly complex skin barrier system works to keep us alive. It functions like a series of specialized pieces which must fit TOGETHER perfectly to balance the generation of new cells from the basal layer of the epidermis with the shedding of skin cells (corneoctyes) from the surface of this skin. During this process the skin barrier system is formed, making life in our dry and hostile environment possible. The skin’s barrier system is responsible for controlling water loss through the skin AND prevents harmful substances, microbes and environmental aggressors (such as UV radiation and pollution) from entering our bodies. All pieces of this system must be present and working in tandem or the entire system becomes dysfunctional.

natural skin barrier repairA dysfunctional barrier system leads to:

  • Dry skin
  • Itching
  • Burning
  • Stinging
  • Inflammation
  • Redness
  • Flaking
  • Tightness

Common conditions that are associated with a failed barrier system include:

  • Sensitive Skin
  • Acne
  • Rosacea
  • Dermatitis
  • Aging
  • Pigmentation

When the skin barrier system fails, estheticians are encouraged to take the Ikea-like approach to correction. Here’s the problem with this strategy; just like Ikea, what’s in the box, or in this case, the formulation, cannot be altered. Only what is in the box can be assembled. So what’s the esthetician taught to do in this case? That’s right, start combining a lot of different one-size-fits all products. This practice is often referred to as “customizing,” but is it really? Ask yourself this: How can a one-size-fits-all skin care formulation possibly be considered customized, when the manufacturer has never examined the unique pieces that form each individual skin? How can a product be considered “custom”, when there’s no way to add or delete specific ingredients, or control the dosage and delivery of active concentrates? The issues associated with the Ikea-like approach become especially problematic when trying to remove actives which cause irritancy or allergy for your client! Just like the Ikea concept, the one-size-fits all skin care formulations are made for the masses instead of addressing the unique needs of an individual skin. Thus, taking an Ikea approach to correcting the skin barrier system is not only costly, but also inappropriate and not very effective in many instances.

dermaviduals custom skin care dms base cream kigelia liposomeThe dermaviduals “Lego strategy”

Think about this for a minute. The skin barrier system is an extremely complex and dynamic system. How each defensive piece of that system responds to external threats is driven by many factors, including but not limited to individual genetics and the skin’s own microbiome. Therefore, the Lego approach to barrier repair is the most logical and effective strategy for targeted barrier correction. A Lego strategy allows the barrier system to be rebuilt by:

  • Utilizing selected pieces to create an individual framework, pathway and formula for correction
  • Selecting pieces that target a specific barrier defect without disturbing other barriers within the system
  • Individually adapting pieces for your client’s unique needs
  • The ability the add or remove pieces as your client progresses through treatment
  • The ability to avoid substances known to cause irritancy and allergy


Based on the science of corneotherapy
, Dermaviduals skin care adopts a Lego-like concept to repair and correcting a failing barrier system by letting the professional skin therapist create a highly individualized treatment pathway, including the custom blending of moisturizing base creams, gels, serums, tonics, and cleansers. Each adaptation is aimed directly at repairing specific pieces of an impaired barrier system, which are unique to each individual skin. Much like Legos, Dermaviduals is a modular system that allows rebuilding a barrier system through:

  • A selection of moisturizing base creams that mimic the structure and chemistry of the permeability barrier
  • Active concentrates that can be individually added to cleansers, moisturizing base creams, gels or individual serums
  • Active concentrates that allow water binding in the skin without harmful occlusion
  • A selection of anti-inflammatories which speed up repair and restore the first line of barrier system defense
  • A selection of actives which support correct enzyme function, which help avoid flaking and dryness
  • Targeted delivery system of actives which allow deeper penetration and faster results
  • The exclusion of irritating substances such as emulsifiers, fragrance, preservatives which contribute to barrier dysfunction in susceptible skins

Utilizing a modular skin care range like Dermaviduals gives the modern skin care professional novel corrective tools and the advanced techniques necessary for barrier correction.

Skin that is dry and sensitive is not only uncomfortable, but also has an undesirable feel, sensation and appearance. Dryness, flaking, stinging, burning, itching and redness are common complaints and consumers are looking for brands which offer correction and relief from these symptoms. With so many one-size-fits-all, straight out of the box, skin care brands available to consumers, why is it that the Ikea approach to skin care often falls short of meeting consumer demands? It’s because these brands do not consider the unique molecular processes of an individual’s skin which are responsible for creating a barrier toward balanced moisture, adequate immune function, or environmental protection. When these systems fail, as they often do with the Ikea approach, the skin becomes susceptible to dryness, sensitivity and inflammation. By taking the Lego approach to skin correction, the Dermaviduals skin care range integrates the science of corneobiology and corneotherapy with scientifically based active concentrates and moisturizing bases, which build a strong barrier defense system against the environmental and internal processes which cause common skin conditions. By targeting the underlying cause for an individual barrier dysfunction, consumers are offered relief from the signs and symptoms of unhealthy skin.

The Ikea concept, with its one-size-fits-all products, is readily available to anyone and everyone. It lacks the creativity gained with targeted component pieces. The fact is the American consumer is wise and will always have a much higher appreciation for things that have been created just for them. In a crowded skin care industry, Dermaviduals offers a distinctive and effective plan for improved skin barrier function and correction.

Kathryn Mazierski
Skin Barrier Educator and Stratum Corneum Enthusiast

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