Gender-related differences in the physiology of the stratum corneum

Dermatology. 2005;211(4):312-7. doi: 10.1159/000088499.


Background: Only few studies on gender-related differences in skin physiology have been performed--and they provided conflicting results.

Objective: In the present study, the effect of gender on the physiology of the stratum corneum was studied.

Methods: The physiological parameters transepidermal water loss, pH value, hydration and sebum content were determined on the flexor forearms of 6 female and 6 male volunteers. In addition, stratum corneum samples, removed by tape stripping, were studied for amount, spectroscopic properties, protein content, and mass.

Results: The skin of women was characterized by a significantly higher pH value (5.6 +/- 0.4) than that of men (4.3 +/- 0.4, p < 0.05). Protein absorption was the only other parameter significantly dependent on gender (p < 0.05). Both effects might be caused by differences in human biology, such as hormonal status.

Conclusion: Therefore, the gender of the volunteers should be considered in dermatologic studies.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Water / metabolism
  • Cell Count
  • Colorimetry
  • Epidermis / physiology*
  • Female
  • Forearm
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Male
  • Proteins / analysis
  • Sebum / metabolism
  • Sex Characteristics*
  • Skin Absorption / physiology
  • Spectrophotometry
  • Spectrophotometry, Ultraviolet
  • Water Loss, Insensible / physiology


  • Proteins