Our skin is the first line of defence against chemicals and micro-organisms, as well as preventing uncontrolled water loss, forming the most formidable barrier between our body and the outside world. Natural Moisturizing Factor (NMF) plays an important role in keeping this barrier effective. This mixture of salts and amino acid derivatives constitutes about 25% of the dry weight of the stratum corneum. NMF derives in large part from the enzymatic breakdown of filaggrin: a key skin protein.


Filaggrin-gene Mutation

Unfortunately, about 10 percent of the population is born with an impaired skin barrier, caused by a filaggrin-gene mutation. This means their body does not produce enough NMF to keep the skin healthy.

Many children born with such a gene mutation develop Atopic Dermatitis and allergies. One hypothesis regarding causation is increased exposure to environmental allergens


NMF-Scan is a prototype device for the quick and easy, non-invasive determination of NMF concentration in the skin. RiverD collaborated with hospitals in Ireland, Denmark, Germany and The Netherlands to explore several use cases such as:

  • Identifying newborn babies at increased risk of developing Atopic Dermatitis (AD)
  • Identifying adults at risk of developing occupational related skin conditions
  • Stratification of AD patients to enable tailored treatment and disease management


In vivo Raman spectroscopy discriminates between FLG loss-of-function carriers vs wild-type in day 1-4 neonates
C. ni Chaoimh, et al.

Ann Aller Asthma Immunol; 124:500-504 (2020)

Natural moisturizing factor as a clinical marker in atopic dermatitis
A.E.M. Nouwen, et al.

Allergy; 75:188-239 (2020)

Raman Profiles of the Stratum Corneum Define 3 Filaggrin Genotype-Determined Atopic Dermatitis Endophenotypes
G.M. O'Regan, et al.

J. Allergy Clin Immunol; 236:574-580 (2010)

Natural moisturizing factor as a biomarker for filaggrin mutation status in a multi‐ethnic paediatric atopic dermatitis cohort
M.M.F. van Mierlo, et al.