Quantitation of 24-Hour Moisturization by Electrical Measurements of Skin Hydration

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Abstract

PURPOSE:

The purpose of this study was to quantify the effects of several moisturizers on hydration of the stratum corneum by measuring their effect on electrical conductance over a 24-hour period.

DESIGN:

Double-blind, randomized controlled trial.

SUBJECTS AND SETTING:

Twenty-five healthy female volunteers aged 18 to 65 years with dry skin on the lower legs and no other known dermatologic pathology participated in the study. Additional exclusion criteria were pregnant or taking anti-inflammatory steroids. The study was carried out in a clinical research facility in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

METHODS:

Subjects underwent a 3-day conditioning period using a natural soap bar on the lower legs and no application of moisturizer to the skin. Participants then came to the test site and equilibrated for at least 30 minutes under controlled conditions of temperature and humidity. After baseline hydration measurements on test sites on the lower legs of each subject, a single application of each of 5 test products at a dose of 2 mg/cm2 was made. Skin hydration was assessed by electrical conductance measurements with a specialized probe. The probe was briefly placed on the skin surface with light pressure, and the measurement recorded in units of microsiemens (μS). Conductance was measured at 2, 4, 6, 8, and 24 hours after product applications.

RESULTS:

Although all but 1 of the test products increased conductance at 2 hours, only 2 moisturizers containing high levels of glycerin (products C and E) maintained increased conductance relative to baseline at 24 hours, +37.8 (P < .001) and +103.5 (P < .001), respectively.

CONCLUSIONS:

Moisturizers containing high levels of glycerin can provide a measurable moisturization benefit as determined by skin conductance for at least 24 hours after a single application.

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