Content » Vol 91, Issue 4

Investigative Report

Scalp Stratum Corneum Histamine Levels: Novel Sampling Method Reveals Association with Itch Resolution in Dandruff/Seborrhoeic Dermatitis Treatment

Kathy Kerr, James R. Schwartz, Thomas Filloon, Angela Fieno, Ken Wehmeyer, Jacek C. Szepietowski, Kevin J. Mills
DOI: 10.2340/00015555-1073


Dandruff and seborrhoeic dermatitis are accompanied by bothersome itch. We have established a novel non-invasive methodology to sample histamine levels in the stratum corneum in order to facilitate an understanding of pruritogenesis in this condition. Histamine levels were assessed in two groups of subjects with dandruff before and after 3 weeks of treatment with a commercial potentiated zinc pyrithione shampoo. A comparative population without dandruff was also studied. Itch self-perception was quantified on a visual analogue scale. The histamine level in subjects with dandruff was more than twice that in those who did not have dandruff. Under conditions known to resolve flaking symptoms, the shampoo led to a reduction in histamine in subjects with dandruff to a level that was statistically indistinguishable from those who did not have dandruff. This reduction in histamine was accompanied by a highly significant reduction in the perception of itch intensity. These findings suggest an association between the subjective perception of itch in the scalp and the level of histamine in the skin.


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