Electrical measurement of the hydration state of the skin surfacein vivo

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Healthy skin surface is smooth and soft, because it is covered by the properly hydrated stratum corneum (SC), an extremely thin and soft barrier membrane produced by the underlying normal epidermis. By contrast, the skin surfaces covering pathological lesions exhibit dry and scaly changes and the SC shows poor barrier function. The SC barrier function has been assessed in vivo by instrumentally measuring transepidermal water loss (TEWL). However, there was a lack of any appropriate method for evaluating the hydration state of the skin surface in vivo until 1980 when we reported the feasibility of employing high-frequency conductance or capacitance to evaluate it quickly and accurately. With such measurements, we can assess easily the moisturizing efficacy of various topical agents in vivo as well as the distribution pattern of water in the SC by combining it with a serial tape-stripping procedure of the skin surface.

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