All of us have experienced dry skin, but ironically our skin contains over 80% water. The answer to how this can occur lies in the way skin grows and maintains itself throughout life. Youthful skin is soft, pliable, and smooth. It has a radiant colorful appearance with no wrinkles other than facial expression lines. The surface gradually becomes rough, dry and perhaps even "flaky" due to a diminished exfoliation rate of the old surface cells.
Skin surface cells are essentially the empty small remains of once-living cells. They exist as empty cell walls connected by a very special intracellular substance that allows body moisture to rise to the skin surface while limiting evaporation. We call this intracellular matrix, the lipid barrier. The barrier acts to prevent evaporation and to hold water vapor within the skin cells while at the same time preventing harmful substances into the body.
This complex barrier substance is like the cement that holds bricks together in a wall. It is composed mainly of amino acids, ceramides, hyaluronic acid, cholesterol, fatty acids, triglycerides, glycosaminoglycans (GAGS), glycerin, phospholipids, and mucopolysaccharides. Numerous internal and external factors test the barrier daily. These factors include genetics, hormones (estrogen), dry environment inside or outside buildings, sun damage, and how often we wash our hands or bathe.
Normal soft skin surface layers contain only about 30% water. Many of the skin care products we use (bar soaps, toners, alcohol, harsh cleansers, and products that contain drying or irritating ingredients) today are so effective that they gradually “wash away” much of the lipid content in the fragile moisture retaining barrier system. When water content falls below 30% our skin begins to feel dry, is less pliable, and may even develop small cracks or fissures.
Common moisturizers merely coat the surface with a vegetable or mineral oil (cocoa butter, mineral oil or Vaseline) that cannot be absorbed into the skin, cannot repair the lipid barrier, and is easily washed away during the next cleansing. Flaking occurs due to the shedding of the dry skin cells held in place loosely. Thus we begin to experience physical discomfort as well as visible appearance commonly seen with aging.
Therapon utilizes a preventive approach to skin problems. The simple Theraderm Skin Renewal System for daily skin care repairs, restores, and maintains the skin. Gentle cleansing causes minimal disruption to the lipid barrier. Fruit Acid Exfoliation (a carefully formulated mixture of water, lactic acid, and alcohol) effectively cleanses the skin of excess oils, dirt, and dead skin cells. Specially formulated moisturizers supply the very lipids needed for replacement/repair and to prevent or restore dry skin.
Our secret is using the finest quality lanolin oil from an animal source, wool, in our moisturizers. This ensures optimum repair of the intracellular lipid matrix and restores the barrier function. The superfine lanolin used is hydrophilic to penetrate the water-based skin matrix. At the same time, it is hypo-allergenic for safe use on the most sensitive skin.