04 Oct 2018

The long hot summer is over. Sun tans are fading and the new autumnal seasonal fashion trends look inviting. However, post summer skin can feel dehydrated, look dry and suffer from uneven skin tone. As skincare professionals, it’s important to educate your clients on how to refine skin texture, safely and effectively. The journey to Autumn skin revival starts with practising corneotherapy. 


Corneotherapy is a remedial skin treatment method whose core principle is the repair and maintenance of the skin barrier (stratum corneum) defence systems1. In essence it is the application of products and treatments that support the stratum corneum. It is related to Corneobiology, which is the study of the stratum corneum. Skin therapists should only be advising corneotherapeutic treatments and products that support the health of the stratum corneum. Remember the Stratum Corneum is only 0.01-0.02 mm thick and is our protection against the environment. Why would we constantly want to destroy it?

Corneotherapy encourages the recovery of the stratum corneum to improve the function of the skin barrier and overall homeostasis (balance) of the skin. A healthy and functioning skin barrier provides overall protection against TEWL (Trans epidermal Moisture Loss) dehydration, penetration of germs, allergens and irritants2.

Whenever you see inflamed skin, regardless of cause, the stratum corneum is leaky and permeable. But, if you repair the stratum corneum that tells the underlying tissues that they don't have to keep reacting like there's danger in the environment.

Albert Kligman, M.D., Ph.D.; 1919-2010 

Common skin concerns such as rough, flaky, problematic or itchy skin become red flags and should alert the therapist to explore the underlying cause. These can be best ascertained through a thorough skin analysis and consultation.


The skin already has its own natural exfoliation process called desquamation. The process of desquamation occurs at the stratum corneum layer of the epidermis, which is the outermost layer of skin. New keratinocyte cells form from basal stem cells and push through all layers of the epidermis until they reach the stratum corneum. This is a highly complex process and as the cells move through the different layers of the epidermis their metabolism and shape changes. The destiny of the keratinocyte is to die and become part of the stratum corneum. Skin cells within this layer are very tight and compact, therefore older skin cells eventually flake away, as newer skin cells push their way to the surface.

Desquamation can be compromised by various factors, such as ageing (photo damage) or having skin that is too oily or too dry. If skin does not shed cells as efficiently as it should, the skin could look dull and flaky. Other symptoms of an inefficient skin shedding process can include a loss of firmness and the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. By normalising the stratum corneum, all of these skin problems can be minimised resulting in a more healthy-looking and radiant appearance. This is where gentle acids and Vitamin A come into play, to help skin function healthily and normally.

Using vitamin A and acids can help speed up natural skin cell renewal without amaging the stratum corneum. Vitamin A promotes healthy cells growth and development. Acids can be added when there is photodamage or problem skin.

Clients only need acids when the cells of their stratum corneum do not naturally release from each other, therefore creating thicker skin. This will be a barrier to penetration of active ingredients and can make the skin look dull, dry and flaky. The excess stratum corneum needs to be removed while maintaining the water proofing qualities of the skin.

Gentle acids helps to remove dead skin cells and unclog pores. Vitamin A promotes healthy cell development and growth, as well as a compact stratum corneum. This is the basis of corneotherapy, using ingredients that the skin can tolerate and are naturally found within the skin.


Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHA’s)

AHA’s are natural acids, organic carboxylic acids found in nature. These acids are key in promoting smoother, clearer and more radiant looking skin. They are often called fruit acids, although many of them are not derived from fruit.

The primary action of AHA’s is to encourage the skin’s natural exfoliation process, by dissolving the bonds, or “glue”, between skin cells which allows the cells to fl ake off more evenly and at a faster rate.

Certain acids can also be used to promote the production of growth factors in the skin leading to increased levels of collagen and tighter skin. Here the strength, pH and application time play an extremely important role.

When dealing with problem skin, acids work to remove cells that clog the pores, whilst maintaining the acid mantle to keep the skin sterile.

“AHA’s are particularly useful in treating breakouts because they increase the acidity in the skin and reduce the buildup of dead skin cells clogging the ducts of the oil glands.”

Environ® Founder, Dr Des Fernandes. 

Popular AHA’S include Glycolic and Lactic acid. Glycolic acid is a naturally occurring acid and the smallest of the AHAs (alpha-hydroxy acids), making it easier to penetrative the skin. Lactic Acid, found in milk, has a slightly larger molecule than glycolic. Lactic acid is benefi cial as it is a natural humectant, reducing trans-epidermal water loss (TEWL) by increasing production of oils and fats within the skin. It is also found naturally in our skin and helps to lighten pigmentation.

By supporting the skin’s natural pH and assisting with the natural exfoliation (desquamation) process of the skin, these Alpha Hydroxy Acids are known to help improve textural problems associated with dehydration, leaving the skin feeling softer and smoother. This is especially applicable very photodamaged skins which have a much thicker stratum corneum.


BHA’s also exfoliate the top layer but are known for their deep penetrative qualities. BHA’s dissolve sebum that clogs pores, as well as dead skin cells. They have anti-infl ammatory and antibacterial properties, therefore help to clear breakouts and help acne prone skin.

Salicylic Acid is a Beta Hydroxy Acid which helps to promote the natural exfoliation of dead and dying skin cells thereby preventing your pores from becoming congested/clogged.

“BHAs, in the form of Salicylic Acid, have the unique property of penetrating through pores, eliminating breakout-causing bacteria and helping to restore the irritated skin surrounding the pore.”

Environ® Founder, Dr Des Fernandes. 


Vitamin A is crucial within the skins cell renewal process. Skin cannot be normalised without vitamin A. It has been built into genes. Vitamin A has an eff ect on the DNA of our cells and has the ability to normalise them. It also strengthens the stratum corneum making it function more eff ectively.


1. Take time to do an in-depth consultation. This is the most important fi rst step. It will help both sides understand the changes sustained to the stratum corneum as a result of exposure to the summer sun and provide the basis for an autumn revival programme. Recommend the #100DayReset programme.

A 90 minute Active Vitamin treatment will leave post summer skin revitalised and glowing with health. This uniquely prescriptive approach includes deep cleansing, mild exfoliation and intensive preparation. Patented soundwave and electrical pulse technology allows active forms of vitamin A, C and antioxidants to penetrate deep into the lower layers of the skin and target specifi c areas of concern.


  • Corneotherapy is the practice of repairing and maintaining the skin’s defence barrier
  • Using ingredients that the skin can tolerate and are naturally found within the skin is key
  • Manual exfoliation can cause various skin issues including: redness, sensitivity and dryness
  • Skin concerns such as photodamage and problematic skin, can be treated by combining vitamin A and AHA/BHA acids will help shed dead skin cells and encourage skin cell renewal naturally.
  • AHAs’, such as Glycolic and Lactic acid, are natural acids and encourage the skin’s natural exfoliation (desquamation) process.
  • BHA’s, such as Salicylic Acid, are known for their deep penetrative qualities and dissolve sebum that clogs pores and can lead to breakouts. These are most eff ective when used in a problematic skin remedial programme

2. Source: Dermascope