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Br J Dermatol. 2003 Jan;148(1):65-9.

Effects of skin occlusion in patch testing with sodium lauryl sulphate.

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  • 1Department of Dermatology, Philipp University of Marburg, Deutschhausstr. 9, Germany.



When evaluating transepidermal water loss (TEWL) in patch testing, the occlusive effect of the patch must be considered as an important artificial impairment of the measurement.


To investigate the time course of effects of occlusion.


Epicutaneous patches with sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS) 0.25%, SLS 0.5%, water and an empty test chamber (control) were applied on the volar forearm for different time intervals (12, 24, 48 h). Test reactions were evaluated by measurement of TEWL immediately, every 15 min during the first hour, every 30 min during the following 3 h and 24 h after patch removal.


After patch removal, TEWL values showed a steep increase. When compared with basal values, TEWL values after SLS patch testing remained increased for 24 h, whereas TEWL values on water patch sites were only significantly increased for up to 180 min, and on empty patch sites for only up to 120 min after patch removal. The prolonged increase in TEWL values in SLS patch testing seemed to be induced by barrier function damage caused by SLS itself, as shown in various earlier studies. After the initial increase, TEWL values showed a significant decrease for all patches from 0 to 120 min after patch removal. Patch testing with water gave a significant decrease in TEWL values up to 180 min, and for empty chambers (control) up to 150 min after removal of patches. These data suggest that the occlusive effect on TEWL in patch testing ends 3 h after the removal of test chambers.


We recommend TEWL measurement in SLS patch testing after a period of at least 3 h after patch removal. For practical purposes a 24-h period after patch removal may be useful.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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