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Acta Derm Venereol. 1996 Jul;76(4):274-6.

Temperature dependency of skin susceptibility to water and detergents.

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  • 1Department of Dermatology, University of Copenhagen, Gentofte Hospital, Hellerup, Denmark.


Exposure to water and detergents is an important factor for development of irritant contact dermatitis. The aim of the present study was to investigate the effect of temperature on the damaging effects of water and detergents on the skin. Twenty healthy volunteers participated in the study. Ten participants had right and left forearms immersed into a detergent (soap) solution for 2 days twice daily for 10 min. Another 10 participants had both forearms immersed into sterile water. Right and left forearms were randomized to immersion into 20 degrees C and 40 degrees C solutions, respectively. Reactions were evaluated clinically, and by measurement of transepidermal water loss, electrical capacitance and erythema. Immersions into 40 degrees C sodium lauryl sulphate solution caused significantly increased transepidermal water loss as compared to immersion into 20 degrees C sodium lauryl sulphate solution. Electrical capacitance and erythema were not significantly influenced by temperature. Immersion into water caused no significant changes in any observed parameter. Water temperature influences the irritant capacity of a detergent. Change of temperature may be a simple but important means for prevention of irritant contact dermatitis.

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