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Article
October 1933

SELF-STERILIZING POWERS OF THE SKIN: V. ARE THEY ENDOWED BY THE SURFACE ACID?

Author Affiliations

CHICAGO

From the Department of Dermatology, University of Illinois, service of Dr. F. E. Senear.

Arch Derm Syphilol. 1933;28(4):526-531. doi:10.1001/archderm.1933.01460040069008
Abstract

In a previous study1 it was shown that the skin arrests the activity of micro-organisms on its surface. In a later report2 this restraining capacity of the skin was shown not to be uniform, but to be subject to constant fluctuations. These fluctuations can be brought about in numerous ways, the degree of the variation from the optimal depending on the specific method or agent used. The sterilizing process, therefore, is sensitive to both internal metabolic and environmental changes. In discussing the data, it was postulated that whatever upsets the equilibrium of the skin causes the self-sterilizing powers to sag for the moment until compensation for the previous change occurs. It was felt that there was no choice but to assume some such mechanism, because agents of opposite physiologic action all gave rise to the same immediate qualitative results. Of course, as was stated, it would be desirable

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