Scaling, dry skin and gender. A bioengineering study of dry skin
Jemec GB, Serup J
Dry skin and scaling was studied in a group of 72 healthy volunteers by using subjective self-assessment and by clinical assessment by a dermatologist, as well as application of noninvasive bioengineering techniques to measure scaling and epidermal hydration. The study revealed that 67% of the volunteers had subjective complaints, while only 5.6% had definite clinical signs of dry skin at the time of examination. Subjective complaints were more common in women than in men (p < 0.001), though neither clinical nor objective measurements showed any sex difference, which suggests that other factors may play a role in the way men and women perceive dry skin. Subjective and clinical scores were correlated (p < 0.02), though neither was significantly correlated to objective measurements. Grading of skin scaling on D-squame tapes correlated with densitometry of the tapes (p < 0.001), as did the electrical capacitance (p < 0.001). Both clinical and objective methods can identify dry skin. However, the study showed that in healthy persons a number of irrational factors play a role in the use of moisturizers, and while these factors cannot be measured, they must be taken into account. Healthy, but dry skin is a vaguely defined clinical entity, which may explain the generally poor correlation between the two methods. This underlines the need for several methods to be used simultaneously in order to elicit complementary information.