The stratum corneum or uppermost layer of the epidermis has been described of as consisting of bricks and mortar. Long thought of as an inactive layer of dead skin cells, in contrast, the stratum corneum is highly dynamic. The bricks are the corneocytes or differentiated keratinocytes that are tightly connected by links called corneodesmosomes and the mortar is the extracellular space composed of highly ordered lamellar lipids that form membranes. The lipids within the extracellular spaces help provide a barrier to moisture and electrolyte loss from the skin that is absolutely required for survival. These lipids include ceramides, cholesterol, and fatty acids.
Viniferamine® skin and wound care products contain ingredients that protect skin lipids and enhance the barrier function of skin to help prevent excessive transepidermal water loss (eTEWL). Oleuropein, an olive polyphenol found in Viniferamine®, has been shown to reduce TEWL indicating it’s ability to increase skin barrier function. Evidence also indicates that melatonin, another important ingredient in Viniferamine® skin and wound care products, has a stimulatory role in building and maintaining the epidermal barrier.
The lipids that form the extracellular lamellar membranes are secreted from lamellar bodies produced by keratinocytes as they differentiate into corneocytes. Interestingly, a calcium gradient exists within the epidermis consisting of higher levels of extracellular calcium found in the upper layers of the epidermis. When the skin barrier is disrupted, increased water movement through the stratum corneum causes decreased calcium in lower levels that stimulates lamellar body synthesis and secretion of lipids. This normal skin response is in place to assure that impairments in barrier function are corrected. Continue reading