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Article
May 1939

ACTION OF SOAP ON SKIN

Arch Derm Syphilol. 1939;39(5):811-824. doi:10.1001/archderm.1939.01480230021003
Abstract

I. PATCH TESTS WITH FATTY ACIDS  In spite of rather extensive experimentation on the action of soap on the skin, the mechanism of this reaction is still undetermined. Is the fatty acid, the alkali or some added ingredient (perfume, dye, filler) the active etiologic agent of soap irritations? Does soap act as an allergen or as a primary irritant ? Definite answers to these questions are still lacking.Recently it has been shown that the skin has the power to neutralize externally applied alkali. Thus, the alkali in any soap residue on the skin is neutralized and the fatty acids of the soap remain on the skin at approximately the Ph of the cutaneous surface. It therefore seems important to determine the action of the fatty acids on the skin. Furthermore, the fatty acids come into contact with the skin at a higher Ph than that normal for

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