Content » Vol 74, Issue 1

Investigative Report

Evaluation of barrier creams: an in vitro technique on human skin.

Treffel P, Gabard B, Juch R
DOI: 10.2340/0001555574711


A method was developed to measure in vitro on human skin the effectiveness of barrier creams against three dyes (eosin, methyl-violet and oil red O) with different n-octanol/water partition coefficients (0.19, 29.8 and 165, respectively). Some galenic properties (water washability, water content and viscosity) of the products were also evaluated to try to understand the mechanisms of such a protection. The barrier creams were assayed by measurements of the dyes in the epidermis of protected skin samples after an application time of 30 min. Whereas some products showed some degree of protection, as claimed on the packaging, we demonstrated in several cases disagreement with the manufacturer's information. Surprisingly, petrolatum was found to provide the best protection of all tested products in our in vitro model. There was no correlation between the galenic parameters of the assayed products and the level of protections, indicating that neither the water content nor the consistence of the formulations influenced the protection effectiveness. In conclusion, regarding the possible skin effects of some irritants, our results stress that barrier creams should be used with caution, knowing the protection limits of some of the formulations marketed.


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