Professor Robert Lochhead of the Institute for Formulation Science (University at Southern Mississippi) will give a polymer chemist's view of the epidermal barrier at C&T's Advanced Technology Conference (ATC) in Barcelona, to be held in conjunction with in-cosmetics.
Lochhead will explain that the conventional view of the stratum corneum comprises a bricks-and-mortar model in which the bricks are desquamated corneocytes and the mortar consists of lamellar bodies and water soluble/swellable macromolecules, such as glycosaminoglycans. The lamellar bodies are observed as segregated globules in the lower layers and they fuse in the upper layers to form an extensive lamellar barrier.
Attempting to understand the underlying mechanism of these phase changes is a fascinating exercise in polymer/colloid science, according to Lochhead. In his research, he has been developing simple models with the aim of understanding the molecular driving forces that are responsible for the observed micro-segregation and eventual fusing of the lamellae into contiguous structures.