Bioengineering and subjective approaches to the clinical evaluation of dry skin

Int J Cosmet Sci. 2010 Dec;32(6):410-21. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-2494.2010.00584.x.


Dry skin (also known as xerosis) is a cutaneous reaction pattern indicative of abnormal desquamation, which has not only cosmetic considerations, but can also lead to the penetration of irritants and allergens through the stratum corneum (SC). Over the last few decades, our understanding of the structure, composition, formation and function of the SC has advanced tremendously; however, despite these advancements, the occurrence of dry skin remains prevalent in the adult population. The clinical evaluation of dry skin is therefore of significant importance to the cosmetic industry not only for understanding the condition but also for measuring the effects of treatment. Traditionally, dry skin has been evaluated by visual inspection, however, recently a variety of bioengineering techniques have emerged enabling the investigator to objectively assess the extent of xerotic conditions. The most frequently employed methods for the evaluation of dry skin are discussed in this review, including regression testing, squametry, measurement of transepidermal water loss, epidermal hydration, profilometry, confocal Raman spectroscopy, optical coherence tomography, in vivo confocal microscopy and magnetic resonance imaging.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Electric Impedance
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Microscopy, Confocal
  • Skin Diseases / pathology*
  • Spectrum Analysis, Raman
  • Tomography, Optical Coherence
  • Water Loss, Insensible / physiology*