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J Dermatol Sci. 1998 Dec;18(3):163-9.

Dry condition affects desquamation of stratum corneum in vivo.

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Shiseido Research Center, Yokohama, Japan.


We examined whether a dry condition actually induces scaly skin in vivo. Hairless mice were kept in a high humidity condition or a low humidity condition and skin changes were examined. Scales appeared on the backs of mice kept for 3 days under the dry condition. The weight of stratum corneum (SC) was increased at this point, and these alterations were not accompanied with hyperproliferation of the nucleated cell layer of the epidermis. A decrease of desmosomal degradation was observed, though, desquamation-related enzyme activity was not altered. The regulation mechanism of desquamation is not yet clear, however, in vitro experiments suggest that the water content in SC is an important factor. The water content of SC was decreased in the dry condition. These results indicate that a dry environment perturbs desmosome degradation in intact SC by decreasing the water content of SC, and the consequent impairment of desquamation in normal skin in vivo may lead to the induction of a scaly skin surface.

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