BACKGROUND: Tape stripping is a common method for investigating stratum corneum (SC) physiology as well as bioavailability and bioequivalence of topical drugs.
OBJECTIVES: To investigate the influence of procedures (anatomical site, pressure, pressure duration, tape removal rate) inherent in each stripping protocol on changes in skin physiology.
METHODS: Tape stripping was performed using tapes on the forearm, forehead and back. On the forearm different pressures (165 and 330 g cm(-2)), durations of pressure (2 and 10 s), and removal rate (slow and rapid removal) were used. Changes in skin physiology were evaluated by measurement of transepidermal water loss (TEWL) and hydration.
RESULTS: A significant influence of all parameters on the TEWL increase as a function of tape strip number was observed. The fastest increase was demonstrated on the forehead, followed by the back and, lastly, the forearm. Rapid removal produced a protracted increase in comparison with slow removal. Pressure for 10 s induced a faster increase in TEWL than 2 s pressure. Likewise, pressure at 330 g cm(-2) induced an earlier increase than pressure at 165 g cm(-2). Skin hydration was not influenced by the variables tested.
CONCLUSIONS: Tape stripping results are influenced dramatically by all investigated parameters. A dynamic SC stress test to investigate SC cohesion more closely is proposed based on the present observations.
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