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December 1991

Skin Aging: Effect on Transepidermal Water Loss, Stratum Corneum Hydration, Skin Surface pH, and Casual Sebum Content

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Dermatology, University of California—San Francisco, School of Medicine (Drs Wilhelm, Cua, and Maibach), and the Medical University of Lübeck (Federal Republic of Germany) (Dr Wilhelm).

Arch Dermatol. 1991;127(12):1806-1809. doi:10.1001/archderm.1991.04520010052006

• This study investigates the effect of cutaneous aging on transepidermal water loss, stratum corneum hydration (capacitance), skin surface pH, and casual sebum content. Because the physiologic condition of skin varies considerably with anatomic region and skin aging might demonstrate regional variability, all factors were studied on 11 anatomic locations in 14 young adult (seven female and seven male subjects; 26.7 ± 2.8 years [mean ± SD]) and 15 aged human volunteers (seven female and seven male subjects; 70.5 ± 13.8 years).

Significant anatomic variability was noted for all factors in both age groups. However, no significant differences between the two groups were noted for sebum, capacitance, and pH on most anatomic regions. Transepidermal water loss, however, was significantly lower in the aged population on all anatomic regions tested, except for the postauricular region and the palm. Comparing male and female volunteers, none of the four factors showed significant differences.

Of all measured factors, only transepidermal water loss showed significant age-related differences on most anatomic regions studied. The additionally observed differences between the age groups on the ankle for pH and sebum might be related to the stasis frequently observed on the lower limbs in aged individuals.

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