Moisturizers are often used in the prevention and treatment of irritant contact dermatitis. The present study was to determine whether long-term daily use of a moisturizer on normal skin would affect skin barrier function, hydration state, or susceptibility to sodium lauryl sulphate. Healthy volunteers used a moisturizer on one forearm 3 times daily for 4 weeks. The other forearm served as a control. Afterwards both forearms were challenged with a patch-test of sodium lauryl sulphate. Skin barrier function was evaluated by measuring trans-epidermal water loss and skin hydration by measuring electrical capacitance. Electrical capacitance was significantly increased on the treated arm during the treatment period. After challenge with sodium lauryl sulphate, transepidermal water loss was significantly higher on the arm treated with moisturizer than on the control arm. The results suggest that long-term treatment with moisturizers on normal skin may increase skin susceptibility to irritants.
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