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Acta Derm Venereol. 2000 May;80(3):188-91.

Skin surface pH, stratum corneum hydration, trans-epidermal water loss and skin roughness related to atopic eczema and skin dryness in a population of primary school children.

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Department of Dermatology and Allergy Biederstein, Technical University, Munich, Germany.


Non-invasive investigations of skin morphology and function are standard tools to study the pathophysiology of several cutaneous disorders, yet they have not been used in population-based epidemiological studies. Here we examined skin surface pH, stratum corneum hydration, trans-epidermal water loss (TEWL) and skin roughness by profilometry in a study population comprising 377 primary school children (8-9 years old) as part of a multicentre survey on risk factors for allergic diseases in school children. Skin surface pH showed significant higher values (p=0.029) in the group with atopic eczema (n=45) compared with the group without atopic eczema; all other parameters did not differ significantly between children with and without atopic eczema. With increasing skin dryness there was a significant increase in pH values (p=0.004). Stratum corneum hydration showed a significant decrease with increasing dryness (p<0.001). Measurement of skin roughness also revealed a significant linear relationship with skin dryness (p=0.02). It is concluded that measurement of skin surface pH, corneometry and profilometry are useful non-invasive techniques to objectively assess skin dryness in epidemiological studies regarding atopic skin disease.

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