Scars are well known to have a stratum corneum (SC) that is malfunctional. Increases in transepidermal water loss and decreases in SC capacitance and conductance have been reported. Occlusion therapy is a well-known route to improving the signs and symptoms of scarring. Until recently that has been assumed to be totally pressure related. However, studies have demonstrated that the direct effects of hydration on keratinocytes and fibroblasts contribute to the reduction in hypertrophic scarring. Now it is well known that occlusion can regulate epidermal cytokine and growth factor production; changes in profibrotic and anti-fibrotic factors have been established. As a result, it is to be expected that moisturizers may improve the signs and symptoms of scars. As striae have been suggested to be anatomically similar to scars and as it is well established that paracrine signalling occurs in skin, it is expected that striae have similar SC issues. While one cannot exclude the effects of some of the ingredients used in the products, several studies are reported in this review that demonstrates that moisturization is a key component to reducing the clinical signs and symptoms of scars and striae. This is a good example of how knowledge of corneobiology leads to corneotherapies for these skin condition problems. The review is being written in memory of Professor Johann Wiechers who, before he died tragically in November 2011, performed two of the reported studies together with colleagues.
© 2012 Society of Cosmetic Scientists and the Société Française de Cosmétologie.