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Arch Gynecol Obstet. 2005 Jul;272(2):167-72. Epub 2005 May 19.

Vulvar susceptibility to contact irritants and allergens: a review.

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  • 1Feminine Care and Family Care Research and Development, The Procter & Gamble Company, 6110 Center Hill Avenue, Box 136, Cincinnati, OH, 45224, USA.


Vulvar tissue differs from cutaneous epithelia in structure, morphology and biophysical characteristics. For example, the skin of the labia majora exhibits elevated hydration, occlusion and frictional properties, which may increase susceptibility to irritants and contact sensitizers. Furthermore, the nonkeratinized vulvar vestibule is likely to be more permeable than keratinized regions. These differences heighten vulvar susceptibility to topical agents. This reviews the structure and properties of vulvar tissue, emphasizing their impact on susceptibility contact irritants and allergens.

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