This article is republished with permission from Costhetics and the author Louisa McKay. The original article can be found here.


Ever since ”Bennifer” and “Brangelina,” more and more industries have been mashing two words into one. A prime example can be found in our favourite industry, skincare. The word is corneotherapy.

You may have already heard about this innovative methodology of treating skin. What you may not have heard about are the activities of unscrupulous manufacturers, distributors and skin specialists who claim (falsely) that their products have been formulated in accordance with the principles of corneotherapy.

As Australia’s leading information source for cosmetic news, Costhetics wanted to make certain you have the facts about this exciting and proven-effective approach to gorgeous skin. We also want to help you separate genuine corneotherapeutic ranges from the imposters.

What Is Corneotherapy?

Briefly stated, corneotherapy is a modular system that combines customised base creams and skincare actives to give both clinics and their patients a skincare program individually tailored for their unique skin conditions. The word is a combination of

  • Corneo – referring to the stratum corneum layer of the skin
  • Therapy – a healing practice

The core philosophy of corneotherapy is that the integrity of the stratum corneum and skin barrier defence systems are maintained at all times. To accomplish this goal, skin specialists advise their patients to

  • Take Preventative Measures – It is vital for individuals to avoid products made with irritants and allergens and choose safe formulations made with medical grade ingredients in an aseptic laboratory.
  • Take Protective Measures – The use of the right products strengthens the natural skin barrier and promotes protection against skin conditions and pre-mature ageing.
  • Take a Customised Approach – A corneotherapy treatment always begins with a precise skin analysis. This allows skincare specialists to diagnose the cause of a skin issue and then create an adapted skincare regimen that is ideal for each individual patient.
    The key to success in treating skin starts with a full assessment of the health of the skin barrier and the correct strategies to begin the repair process.

5 Ways Corneotherapy Protects Skin

Corneotherapy seeks to repair the stratum corneum, which, in turn, supports healthy skin appearance and function. This promotes protection against

  • Free radicals
  • Irritants
  • Environmental factors
  • Allergens
  • Dehydration

What makes corneotherapy skincare especially appealing is that it is largely free of side effects when compared with skin treatments and topical pharmaceuticals.

6 Ingredients that Tell You It’s NOT Corneotherapy

Corneotherapy has suffered the same unfortunate fate as many innovative progressive treatments. The more popular it has become, the more its name has been co-opted by unscrupulous marketers. Focused exclusively on profit, they talk the corneotherapy talk, but don’t walk the corneotherapy walk. In other words, they deliberately mislabel products as corneotherapeutic when the ingredients are anything but.

If you are shopping for skincare products and want to make sure they fit the profile for corneotherapy, take time to read the label. If you find any of these ingredients, run, don’t walk for the exit:

  • Fragrance – the most common allergen in skincare products is perfume.
  • Preservatives – can cause further irritation to a disrupted barrier.
  • Mineral oil and petroleum-based products – negatively effects skin regeneration.
  • Emulsifiers – they destroy lipid structures within the permeability barrier.
  • Silicones – like Cylohexasiloxane, Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone (big words, we know!) can be incompatible with the philology of the skin.
  • Colours – Whoever said that you need colour to have a skincare function? Colours are just another additive that can cause havoc to your skin barrier.

Treatments that Tell You It’s NOT a Corneotherapeutic Range

Keep in mind that Corneotherapy seeks to avoid disruption of the Stratum Corneum. You’re being sold a bill of goods if you are offered a treatment or product that

  • Causes the skin to peel (this includes microdermabrasion and ablative treatments)
  • Alters the pH of the skin

It is simply pointless to build up your skin’s natural barrier today only to have it broken down tomorrow. Corneotherapy seeks to protect and maintain your skin for the long term. Unfortunately, a skincare regimen that includes a few products with ingredients given a thumbs-up by the Personal Care Products Council is not enough. All the good work you do can be quickly undone if you expose your skin to:

  • Silicones
  • Chemical preservatives

Caveat Emptor: Spotting a Genuine Corneotherapist

Unfortunately, the skincare industry is rife with imposters. Costhetics wants to help ensure you are not fooled by misleading online marketers and fast talking in-your-face reps. We’ve compiled a quick list of do’s and don’ts that will help you identify a therapist who understands the principles of corneotherapy:

  1. Respects the integrity of the epidermis, starting with the first lines of barrier defence.
  2. Keeps the skin’s pH balanced.
  3. Does not disrupt the integrity of the stratum corneum.
  4. Restores the antimicrobial barrier and natural UV-B filters.
  5. Uses barrier repair products that provide ceramides, cholesterol, and long-chain free fatty acids in the correct ratio of 1:1:1 or 3:1:1 ratio.

With a better understanding of the structure and function of the skin barrier, aestheticians will recognise the importance of treating it with the respect it deserves. Over exfoliating, harsh or incorrect modalities, and incorrect product formulations all work together to create a negative affect for the skin.

True Corneotherapy & How to Get It

When it comes to skin health and beauty, the best place to go for information is your skin specialist. This is especially important for people who are suffering from acne eczema, psoriasis, perioral dermatitis, contact dermatitis, or rosacea and whose skin may respond best to a corneotherapeutic skin correction system designed to support and repair skin conditions like these.

Stay beautiful!


Article courtesy of Louisa McKay, Costhetics