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Here’s how to treat a damaged skin barrier

#Acne #Skin Barrier

If you’re like others experiencing the red, sore, dry, flaking, bumpy skin that is the hallmark of a damaged skin barrier, you’ll also understand how frustrating it is to treat. You’ll also know that a damaged skin barrier can make your pores appear enlarged, and lines and wrinkles look worse.

Perhaps you’ve felt confused by conflicting advice about how to repair your skin and wonder what the most safe and effective treatment is. You may wish to use prescription skincare but feel your sensitive skin just won’t tolerate it.

And, you may be tired of spending hundreds of dollars on new skincare products, supplements, and treatments, that are designed for ‘sensitive skin’ to reduce the symptoms you’re experiencing, but often just make things worse.

You’re not alone. We see many people with damaged skin barriers, and they tell us their similar frustrations with treating their skin. But, there is an answer. And it begins by understanding that less is more when it comes to skincare.

The QR8 MediSkin Skin Barrier Repair service is a personalised and nurse-supported skincare service designed to nurse your skin barrier back to good health, using simple, inexpensive skincare and techniques (just a few minutes each day).

We help you:

  • Get an expert assessment of your skin – a damaged skin barrier can be repaired, and future damage minimised, making you eligible to chat with our friendly doctors about prescription treatment!
  • Get a simple-to use, skincare routine with evidence-based ingredients that are considered the gold-standard in the scientific literature to repair your skin barrier
  • Understand what your skin barrier actually does, the causes of an impaired skin barrier, and how to manage these in the long-term
  • With ongoing personalised support by your dermatology nurse during a 1 month intensive online program

Our online skincare team gets to know you and your skin (using a detailed questionnaire combined with a secure video consultation).

As part of this service you also receive skincare kit (cleanser, moisturiser and sunscreen) and ongoing support during your treatment from our dermatology nurse via SMS, phone, email, and or video call.

What is the Skin Barrier?

The skin barrier (aka the ‘stratum corneum’ – the outermost layer of your skin that you see in the mirror) is a complex defence mechanism – it is your body’s primary defence against the outside world.⁠ It might be 50 times thinner than a piece of paper, but it is mighty!

The skin barrier consists of layers of water resistant skin cells (‘corneocytes’) arranged into a 3D structure of horizontal layers and interlocking vertical columns, embedded into a highly organised arrangement of oily lipids.

Some people compare this structure to a brick wall: the skin cells are bricks, and the lipids are the mortar that ‘glues’ everything together.⁠

As you will see, this description doesn’t come close to the sophisticated system that is your skin barrier!

What does the Skin Barrier do?

One problem with the ‘bricks and mortar’ description is that people often think of the skin barrier as a static ‘wall’ that operates like cling wrap to keep things in and out, rather than the dynamic, ever-changing system that it is.

The skin barrier performs a constant elaborate dance between many cell types, proteins, chemicals, nerves, microbes and even your skin’s pH level. These all work together to adapt to the environment, and perform the important job of barrier function.

In the next section we go into detail about the specific functions of the skin barrier.

skin barrier Function

Regulating excessive trans-epidermal water loss (TEWL)
Trapping water for skin hydration
Defending against harmful microbes, physical damage and constant bombardment with UV light and free radicals, and environmental pollution
Sensing the environment like a biosensor, linking it to the body’s innate immune and nervous systems, and to other layers in the skin, such as the lower epidermis and dermis
Selectively absorbing or repelling chemicals applied to it
Continuously shedding old skin cells and renewing itself (a process called ‘desquamation’)
Producing its own ‘Natural Moisturising Factor’ (NMF) to keep itself soft and supple
Producing enzymes and proteins that regulate its own structure and function (e.g. the enzymes that unlink skin cells and allow them to shed)

We have been trained by the beauty industry to think that these outer skin layers are ‘dead’ (aka unnecessary), contribute to dull looking skin, and should be exfoliated away to reveal the glowing skin beneath. It should already be clear from the myriad functions that this tiny skin layer performs, that this isn’t true. Next time you feel like scrubbing away that layer of useless skin cells, remember that your skin barrier is critical to healthy, glowing skin, and should be nurtured, not attacked.

What are the Skin Barrier Lipids?

Cholesterol (10%), fatty acids (25%), and ceramides (50%) are the major lipids in our skin barrier, with some minor lipids making up the remaining 15%. The fatty acids component also includes lipids from the skin’s sebaceous glands (squalene, wax esters and triglycerides), especially at the skin surface where sebum exits the pores.

Ceramides are found throughout the body, but in the stratum corneum, they are the major lipid component. Ceramides aren’t just one type of lipid – at last count there are 15 different types of ceramides in your skin barrier, each with a slightly different structure. Some of these ceramides are bound to the surface of skin cells, others are located between the cells, mixed with the fatty acids and cholesterol.

These oily substances are essential to skin barrier structure and function, and, like corneocytes, are continuously replenished from the epidermis. They are arranged with extreme precision between skin cells, and work with those cells to provide a physical ‘barrier’. Experiments show that removing lipids from the skin, increases the skin’s permeability, diminishing it’s barrier function. The ceramides are of particular importance; the number and types of ceramides are altered in many diseases involving an impaired skin barrier.

Several of the skin barrier lipids are also antimicrobial, helping to protect against infection.


The most important job of your skin barrier is to prevent excessive water loss and keep your skin hydrated.

This is achieved by the skin cells and barrier lipids working together.

Each skin cell is surrounded by a water-resistant shell of protein and lipids, with each cell tightly connected to its neighbours with special proteins that act like rivets.

Between and attached to the cells are the skin barrier lipids, which, like all oily substances, repel water.

So the major route for water to leave the skin from the dermis (the most hydrated layer of skin), is a tortuous pathway between water-repellent skin cells, and through equally water-repellent lipids.

This same mechanism keeps topically applied substances from penetrating into the lower levels of the skin (and from there into the bloodstream) – and why even topical drugs must be formulated into special drug delivery bases to help them get past the skin barrier.

Don’t believe the old wives tale that 60% of everything you apply to your skin is absorbed!


Dull skin that lacks a healthy glow
Sometimes flakes or peels
Bumpy rashes (can be mistaken for breakouts/purging)
Inflamed/irritated, red skin
Enlarged pores, more prominent lines & wrinkles
Itchy skin
Burns when skincare is applied (sometimes even just water!)
Feels uncomfortable (tight, dry)

Apart from feeling uncomfortable, and not looking your glow-y best, a disrupted skin barrier can no longer perform its excellent protective duty.⁠ So anything you apply to your skin can result in burning and stinging, contact dermatitis, and an exaggerated inflammatory response, exacerbating the problem even further, and sometimes causing infections.

⁠In extreme cases, just washing your face with water can cause burning!

What causes a damaged skin barrier?

Mechanical stress (‘scrubby’ exfoliants, cleansing devices, trauma), dehydration (reduced humidity, long hot showers/baths, cold winds, indoor heating, reduced sebum production with age, drying skincare), detergents (soaps, body washes), irritants (skincare actives, especially chemical exfoliants and prescription retinoids), allergens, and even chronic sun damage can all push skin past its tolerance limits, disrupting the delicate physical architecture of the stratum corneum, and subsequently, the skin microbiome.

This leads to increased water loss (TEWL), and production of chemicals that activate the body’s immune system, causing inflammation. An impaired skin barrier is also the hallmark of several chronic diseases, such as rosacea, perioral dermatitis and eczema.

In the early stages of skin barrier damage (the tight, dull, dry stage, that can involve some breakouts and bumps), many people turn to exfoliants to get their glow back, or add in an acne treatment to treat the ‘bumps’ (that are actually part of the inflammatory process). This is like using steel wool to repair gravel rash and will make things much worse.⁠


The epidermis can repair a damaged skin barrier within 4 days, so the easiest fix is to simply remove the trigger that caused damage, and let your skin do all the heavy lifting to repair itself.

Unfortunately many people don’t recognise the early signs of barrier impairment, and increase their use of skincare products and exfoliants, or add new active skincare products, further aggravating the skin, and delaying the healing process. And if you’re using a complex, multistep skincare routine, it can be hard to identify the culprit. With continued damage, secondary issues like infection, rosacea and perioral dermatitis can also become apparent.

That’s where Qr8 MediSkin comes in! Our experienced Dermal Therapy Nurse can customise the best treatment plan for you. Without the need to visit a clinic, or wait in line at the pharmacy or cosmetic counter.

Our Skin Barrier Repair Service is a personalised treatment package, that includes everything you need to get your skin health back on track.



We don’t just give you access to the best customised anti-aging skin treatments. We are the Australia’s go-to medical service for support so you can use them safely and effectively to get results:


Questionnaire & Photos

Tell us about yourself and the challenges you’re having with your skin. Click here to get started.


Online Consult

Schedule a Video Consultation with one of our Trained Doctors who will diagnose your skin and prescribe a medical treatment cream specifically for you.


Receive Treatment

Your very own custom treatment will be delivered within days via Medical Express Shipping.


Expert Support

Schedule a Video Consultation with our nurse to receive your personal skincare recommendations, then get ongoing support via SMS, phone, email, or video call during your 3-month treatment cycle.

Does QR8 actually treat your skin barrier? See our results

Thousands of customers are thrilled to finally discover skincare that works. Some even say using QR8 Mediskin has eliminated the need for expensive salon treatments, uncomfortable laser therapies, and invasive injectables and surgery. Here are some of the untouched before-and-after images we’ve received from our incredible community.

#Acne #Skin Barrier

Your Biggest
Questions Answered

What skin conditions can QR8 treat?

We have customisable medical solutions for:

  • Skin ageing concerns (lines & wrinkles, sagging skin, pigmentation)
  • Sun damage
  • Acne
  • Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH)
  • Melasma
  • Texture, congestion, enlarged pores
  • Rosacea
  • Perioral Dermatitis

Our doctors only prescribe skin treatments where it is safe and appropriate to do so. You may be advised during your consult that it is in your best interests to see a dermatologist or other medical professional in person.

How much does it cost?

Our 3-month service is supportive, all-inclusive,  and convenient – no more trips to the pharmacy or GP, no waiting in line, no unexpected costs, and no more wasted money on skincare products that don’t work. Just effective, evidence-based results with minimal wait time.

The one-off cost of $220 / 3 months includes:

  • A review of your questionnaire and photos by your doctor prior to your video consult
  • A 1:1 video consult to design your treatment plan with an experienced doctor
  • 50g treatment cream with a customised blend of prescription-only active ingredients sufficient for 3 months of daily application. Our ingredients are the gold-standard for treating skin concerns like acne, sun damage, pigmentation, melasma, rosacea, lines & wrinkles, sun damage, and perioral dermatitis. The concentration and inclusion of active ingredients will be customised to suit your specific skin requirements and allergies/intolerences. We can generally treat multiple concerns in a single cream but sometimes you may require more than 1 cream to address your concerns. Your doctor will discuss this with you, and provide treatment options to fit with your goals and budget. The cost for 2 creams purchased in a single transaction is $380 (discounted from $440).
  • Detailed instructions
  • Australia Post Medical Express delivery to your door within 5 working days following payment
  • Unlimited SMS, email and phone support by our expert support team for 3 months
  • A video skincare routine consult with our dermatology nurse to assess your current skincare products to ensure they are safe to use with medical treatment creams, including personalised product recommendations if required
  • Access to our patient library
  • Monthly virtual masterclasses
  • Discounts, gifts and giveaways exclusive to our MediSkin patients

PLEASE NOTE: There is no government Medicare or private health telehealth rebate currently available for our service. You may be able to claim the drug component of the service on your private health (and we can provide a receipt for this upon request.

Can I claim it on private health insurance?

Yes, you may be able to claim the prescription cream component of your treatment using Extras cover on your private health insurance.

The rebate amount will differ depending on your fund and level of cover, but we’re happy to provide you with a pharmacy receipt that you can present to your insurer to help you claim your rebate.

Unfortunately, neither Medicare nor private health insurers currently offer rebates for the telehealth or support components of our service. However, we believe that our support services are an essential part of your treatment plan and we’re committed to providing you with the best possible care and attention.

How long does it take to arrive?

We’re so excited to help you achieve your skincare goals with our personalised treatment! Our team is dedicated to processing your order quickly, so you can start seeing the benefits as soon as possible.

Once our Qr8 admin team receive your payment, we’ll process your order within 24 working hours and confirm with you via text message. Then the pharmacy will work hard to compound your treatment promptly. Please allow 2-5 working days for your treatment to be compounded and shipped.

For your peace of mind, please note that orders cannot be safe dropped and will require a signature on delivery. If you’re not available to sign for your order, it will be taken to the closest post office for collection. If the order is not collected within 5 working days, it will be returned to the pharmacy.

Your order will be shipped directly from the pharmacy to the address you provided on your form, so please ensure this is up-to-date. If your address changes, or you have a special request for your delivery, please let us know so we can update your details and ensure a seamless delivery.

Do I have to subscribe?

We want you to feel completely in control of your treatment, which is why we’re not a subscription service. You’ll never have to worry about us taking money from your account without your permission.

Instead, you’ll be the one in charge of your payments. Every three months, we will remind you to book with your doctor for a progress and treatment review, and you can decide when the pharmacy dispenses your treatment.

Then we’ll take care of all the logistics for you, so you can focus on what matters most – getting the results you want.

How do I pay?

After your video consult, your doctor will send you an email confirming your recommended treatment plan and cost. We want to make sure you have all the details you need to make an informed decision about your treatment.

If you are ready to move forward, simply log into your profile using the link in the email, and pay the invoice. We process all orders within 24 working hours of payment being cleared into our account.

To make the payment process as easy as possible, we accept online payments via Visa and Mastercard, and we also offer Afterpay. You can also pay by direct debit. The choice is yours!

If you have any questions or concerns about payment or the treatment process, please don’t hesitate to contact our friendly team HERE, or phone us on (07) 3325-9700 M-F, during QLD business hours.

Meet our Founder

Dr Michele Squire

PhD, BSc (Hons), BBus

Dr Michele Squire, PhD scientist and former healthcare executive and Registered Nurse, recognised the crucial synergy between medicine, science and skincare in treating chronic skin concerns. In 2019, she established Qr8 (pronounced ‘curate’), a ground-breaking venture aimed at offering video telehealth-delivered medical consultations and uncomplicated skincare guidance rooted in scientific evidence. By promoting evidence-based medicine and combining it with the kind of expert support known to significantly improve treatment outcomes for patients, Qr8 empowers patients to make informed decisions about their skin and get results.

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Meet our Clinical Team

Dr Kristina Jonaityte

Vrac, FRACGP AHPRA Registration Number:MED0001907048

Dr Kristina has a keen interest in skincare and skin health. Helping her patients achieve their best skin and improve their self-confidence is the part of her practice she enjoys most.⁠ She believes beautiful skin needs commitment, not a miracle, combined with a knowledgeable support team to help patients reach their best skin health!

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Dr Yeshika Naidoo

MBBS, FRACGP AHPRA Registration Number:MED0000962959

Dr Yeshika focusses on what the patient is trying to achieve and adapts their treatment according to their individual lifestyles. She loves to see long-term and returning patients who are happy with their results, and she finds this to be the most rewarding part of her practice.

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Dr Sarah Newby

MD AHPRA Registration Number:MED0002066429

Dr Sarah has a warm and empathetic approach to her practice and listens deeply to ensure that she can work with patients to get to the root of the problem and arrive at an effective solution together. She finds being trusted with her patient’s stories and seeing how simple changes can make a world of difference to be the most rewarding part of her practice.

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Dr Jeremy Chou

MChD, FRACGP AHPRA Registration Number:MED0002066673

Dr Jeremy is holistic, thorough, and willing to take the necessary time and care to ensure his patients are empowered to take charge of their health. He specifically enjoys seeing patients enjoy positive results and become empowered to make better decisions for their skin and wellbeing.

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Dr Kathy Robinson

MBBS, MSc (Pharmacy), MForensMed, FACLM AHPRA Registration Number:MED0001399354

Dr Kathy combines science and evidence-based practice with a warm and compassionate approach to achieve the best possible outcomes for patients. She enjoys seeing the holistic benefits for patients that come with achieving great skin health and providing patients with the knowledge and tools to empower them to maintain great skin for life.

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Dr Maeve Anna

MBChB, BSc Med Sci (Hons), MSc (Aesthetic Med) AHPRA Registration Number:MED0001841436

Dr Maeve Anna approaches her patient’s skin concerns with warmth and empathy. Her personal journey with skin became the driving force behind her Master’s Degree Thesis which focused specifically on the science of skincare in Acne, her area of particular interest. Dr Maeve gains significant fulfilment from contributing to the positive transformation of her patients’ self-esteem throughout their treatment.

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Dr Danielle ten Brink

MD BMedSci AHPRA Registration Number:MED0002308228

I enjoy truly listening to a patient’s concerns and creating a relaxing environment where they feel heard and valued. My kind & approachable nature allows me to build strong relationships and trust, while my eagerness to help and offer support ensures each patient receives personalized and compassionate care tailored to their needs.

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Dr Maanasa Bandla

BMedScMD BBiomedSc AHPRA Registration Number:M900128682

Dr Maanasa enjoys being able to support patients on their clinical journey and build meaningful theraputic relationships with them. She is personable, friendly and approachable, and provides a judgment-free zone for patient interaction and support.

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Nurse Natasha Bruyn

EN AHPRA Registration Number:NMW0002618266

Nurse Natasha works closely with Nurse Kristen to help patients receive the highest calibre of support possible. If you have questions, she is your go-to alongside Nurse Kristen!

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Nurse Kristen Meiklejohn

EEN AHPRA Registration Number:NMW0001612708

Kristen is an integral part of our Qr8 MediSkin Skincare Support Team. If you have questions, need skincare product recommendations, or help setting up a simple but personalised skincare routine to support your prescription treatment, Kristen is your skincare guardian angel.⁠⁠

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Pharmacist Matthew Belgrove

BPharm AHPRA Registration Number:PHA0000982524

I have been a pharmacist for 14 years, owned and worked in a variety of Pharmacies including NCC for the last 10 years. When not working, I enjoy spending time with my wife, 4 kids & dog and also swim, bike and running. I find compounding pharmacy a rewarding profession because of NCC’s ability to customise medicine for any type of patient. I often find ourselves solving challenges which standard medicine couldn’t and the gratitude from Patients is very humbling.

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Your Customised Skin Barrier

Is ONLY A Few Clicks Away

You’ve heard the science that enables QR8 Mediskin to work so well. You’ve seen the difference in real customers. Isn’t it time to try QR8 Mediskin for yourself? Click the button below to get started.