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Issue March 2001

Cream with Derma-Membrane Structure (DMS)
New Approach for the Care of Dry Skin

Disturbances of the epidermal lipid barrier play an essential role in the pathogenesis of dry skin and dermatoses connected with this skin condition. An amelioration of the barrier function is therefore given priority in the care of dry skin. Additional targets include an increase of the moisture content and a smoothing of the skin. These requirements are met by a new cream with derma-membrane structure (Physiogel® cream, Stiefel Laboratories) offering advantages due to its innovative galenics and carefully selected ingredients compared with conventional o/w- and w/o- emulsions.

Backgroud for the development of the new DMS-cream has been the search for a dermocosmetic product for the care of dry skin which simultaneously improves the barrier function at high user acceptance, increases the moisture content and induces a smoothing effect of the skin surface. Furthermore, importance is attached to the observance of the following criteria:


Due to the fact that fragrance oils and preservatives can trigger contact-allergic reactions, the product has been conceived in a way that the use of these ingredients can be dispensed with.

Selection of Lipids

DMS-cream contains exclusively phytogenic skin-related lipids such as triglycerides, cholesterol, phospholipids, free fatty acids, squalenes and ceramides which are naturally best suited for lipid substitution in impaired skin. On account of the occlusive effects of paraffin and silicon, they have not been included in the DMS-cream formulation.

Lamellar Structure
DMS-cream has a lamellar structure, similar to the natural lipid barrier structure of skin (illustration 1), unlike conventional o/w- and w/o-emulsions. The production of this lamellar structure is based on a special hightech-production procedure, employing high-grade and cost-intensive ingredients.

No Wash-out Effect

The production method allows manufacture without making use of artificial emulsifiers. Emulsifiers applied in conventional creams can accumulate in the skin, and the natural barrier lipids of the skin can be washed out in subsequent wash processes.

In a study comprising 20 female participants between the ages of 25 and 58 years a comparison was made between the reaction of the new preparation with derma-membrane structure and conventional topical preparations relating to important physiological skin parameters. The test included an o/w cream (A), DMS cream (B), a w/o cream containing linolenic acid and (C) additionally another lamellar-structured cream (D). The skin elasticity had been analysed by means of the cutometer SEM 474, the skin roughness with the optical 3D in vivo skin measuring system "PRIMOS", the moisture content with the corneometer CM 825 and the transepidermal waterloss (TEWL) with the Tewameter TM 210.

All measurements were taken at exactly defined places on the inside of the forearm: before the initial application and then after a two- and four-week application, in each case eight hours after the last daily application. The treatment was discontinued on day 28. In order to determine the lasting effects of the products, further measurements were performed on day 29, 31 and 33. A test area remained untreated and served as control.

Figure 1:
Comparison of Different Structures


Lipid Barrier of the Skin


Proof of
Barrier Restitution
In order to prove the barrier restitution, an increase in TEWL from 18 to 20 units above normal was achieved by application of sodium laurylsulfate as an irritant to the test site. The application of the four test products led to a TEWL-reduction of 10 to 13 units after a fortnight which could only be recorded after 28 days on the untreated control area. There were no statistically significant distinctions between the test products.

Superiority for
Skin-Physiological Parameters
The test results showed a superiority of DMS-cream as against the other test products for the parameters skin elasticity, skin roughness and skin moisture. The application of all products entailed a statistically significant tightness of the skin (p < 0,05) compared with the untreated control area, whereas the DMS-cream featured the uppermost effectiveness at all test times. After 29 and 31 days, there was a significant distinction in contrast to the three other products and after 28 and 33 days a visible difference showed compared with products A and C (p < 0,05).

Figure 2: Moisture Increase Comparatively to Day 0, (normalized)

Similar results were achieved for the measurements of the skin roughness and skin moisture. Also in this case all four test products showed a statistically significant effectiveness when compared with the untreated control area (p < 0,05). When the skin roughness was measured, the level of superiority of DMS-cream was statistically significant superior to the three remaining test products after 28, 29, 31 and 33 days, whereas when measuring the skin moisture at all measuring times, a significant superiority could be recorded compared with products A and C after 28 and 29 days additionally as against product D (p < 0,05; Fig. 2).

It was shown, by means of the implemented tests that DMS-cream is a convincingly effective dermocosmetic for the care of dry skin. The special composition and superiority of this cream relative to major skin-physiological measures strongly indicate that the demands by dermatologists and allergists of a modern skin care preparation are met to a higher extent than by using conventionally applied o/w and w/o emulsions. (hwr/jk)


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