The use of a capacitance device to evaluate the hydration of human skin

V. Zuang, C. Rona, F. Distante, E. Berardesca

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Directive 93/35/EEC on the testing of cosmetics requires that evidence is provided to support the efficacy claims made for marketed products. In order to fulfil this requirement without resorting to the use of animals, non-invasive skin bioengineering techniques are now being employed with human volunteers. These techniques provide quantitative and objective data, if the measurements are performed under rigorously standardised conditions. In this study, a non-invasive instrument, the Comeometer® CM 820, which measures skin capacitance, has been used to evaluate the short-term effects of three commercially available moisturisers, by monitoring the water content of the stratum corneum at different treated test sites of human skin (inner forearm) in comparison with that at an untreated site. The three products, respective leaders in the perfumery, pharmacy and supermarket distribution, have been confronted with a standard reference material (20% glycerol in distilled water), so that the results can be compared between laboratories and to avoid differences relating to instrumentation and methodologies. Measurements with the Corneometer® CM 820 were taken at the baseline visit, and at 1, 3 and 6 hours post-application, at each test and control site. The results show that all of the test products have a hydrating effect on skin, but that the effect is significantly different between the products at each timepoint, except 3 hours post-treatment, when there was no significant difference between one of the products and the standard reference. If used properly and according to appropriate protocols, the electrical methods for the evaluation of skin hydration, have proved to be useful for the non-invasive evaluation of the efficacy of cosmetic products on human volunteers, and consequently, for the reduction of animal tests.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)95-102
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Applied Cosmetology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1997


  • Bioengineering instrument
  • Capacitance
  • Corneometer®CM 820
  • Human skin
  • Hydration
  • Non-invasive

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology


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