Skin Surface pH, Stratum Corneum Hydration, Trans-epidermal Water Loss and Skin Roughness Related to Atopic Eczema and Skin Dryness in a Population of Primary School Children: Clinical Report
B. Eberlein-König, T. Schäfer, J. Huss-Marp, U. Darsow, M. Möhrenschlager, O. Herbert, D. Abeck, U. Krämer, H. Behrendt, J. Ring
Non-invasive investigations of skin morphology and function are standard tools to study the pathophysiology of several cutaneous disorders, yet they have not been used in population-based epidemiological studies. Here we examined skin surface pH, stratum corneum hydration, trans-epidermal water loss (TEWL) and skin roughness by profilometry in a study population comprising 377 primary school children (8-9 years old) as part of a multicentre survey on risk factors for allergic diseases in school children. Skin surface pH showed significant higher values (p=0.029) in the group with atopic eczema (n=45) compared with the group without atopic eczema; all other parameters did not differ significantly between children with and without atopic eczema. With increasing skin dryness there was a significant increase in pH values (p=0.004). Stratum corneum hydration showed a significant decrease with increasing dryness (p<0.001). Measurement of skin roughness also revealed a significant linear relationship with skin dryness (p=0.02). It is concluded that measurement of skin surface pH, corneometry and profilometry are useful non-invasive techniques to objectively assess skin dryness in epidemiological studies regarding atopic skin disease.