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Catastrophic drought – Cry for help from the death zone

I recently received a call for an extra donation from a small hospital in Zimbabwe I’ve been financially supporting for many years now. The village is suffering from a mega drought, and additional money is urgently needed to overcome the most acute problems with the patients. Why am I telling you this, and what is the connection to our industry, you ask?

Well, the outermost layer of our skin, the stratum corneum, consists of dead cells – another kind of death zone. The thickness of this “death zone” is only a fifth of that of the sheet of paper this article is written on, but without this delicate, highly protective yet vulnerable membrane human life on earth would not be possible. When we suffer from dry skin it’s only the stratum corneum that lacks water – all the layers of skin below it remain well hydrated. This layer of dead cells is the driest tissue in the human body. Yet a while ago, in another issue of this journal (1), we estimated that dry body skin needs only 3 ml of water to become well hydrated and dry facial skin requires as little as 100 µl. So why is it that dry skin has been the number one unmet consumer need in skin care for de ...

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