Effects of prolonged occlusion on stratum corneum barrier function and water holding capacity

Joachim W. Fluhr, S. Lazzerini, F. Distante, M. Gloor, E. Berardesca

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose of the Study: We aimed to evaluate whether prolonged occlusion can induce stratum corneum barrier damage, alterations in stratum corneum hydration or water-holding capacity (WHC) lasting longer than the occlusion time. Materials and Methods: 12 subjects were occluded on the forearm for 24, 48, 72 and 96 h. Two hours after occlusion removal, transepidermal water loss (TEWL) and skin hydration were measured and a sorption-desorption test performed. Results: TEWL showed an increase reaching a plateau on day 2. Hydration and WHC did not show significant changes. Hygroscopicity showed the highest level on day 1, decreasing during the following days. A highly significant correlation between capacitance values and the WHC could be detected ( p <0.0001, r = 0.8206). No correlation could be detected between hygroscopicity and TEWL. Conclusions: Prolonged occlusion induces barrier damage without skin dryness. Occlusion also induces an increased hygroscopicity. A correlation between these two findings could not be proven.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)193-198
Number of pages6
JournalSkin Pharmacology and Applied Skin Physiology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1999


  • Capacitance
  • Hardening
  • Hygroscopicity
  • Occlusion
  • Sorption-desorption test
  • Transepidermal water loss
  • Water-holding capacity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Dermatology
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)


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