Accelerated barrier recovery and enhancement of the barrier integrity and properties by topical application of a pH 4 vs. a pH 5·8 water-in-oil emulsion in aged skin

Br J Dermatol. 2018 Aug;179(2):471-477. doi: 10.1111/bjd.16591. Epub 2018 May 28.

Abstract

Background: Increased skin-surface pH is an important host-related factor for deteriorated barrier function in aged skin.

Objectives: We investigated whether restoration of skin pH through topical application of a water-in-oil emulsion with pH 4 improved the barrier homeostasis in aged skin, and compared the effects with an identical galenic formulation with pH 5·8.

Methods: The effects of the test formulations on barrier recovery were investigated by repeated measurements of transepidermal water loss (TEWL) and skin pH 3 h, 6 h and 24 h after acetone-induced impairment of barrier function in aged skin. The long-term effects of the pH 4 and pH 5·8 emulsions were analysed by investigation of the barrier integrity and cohesion, the skin-surface pH and the skin roughness and scaliness before and after a 4-week, controlled application of the formulations.

Results: The application of the pH 4 emulsion accelerated barrier recovery in aged skin: 3 h and 6 h after acetone-induced barrier disruption the differences in the TEWL recovery between the pH 4 treated and acetone control fields were significant. Furthermore, long-term application of the pH 4 formulation resulted in significantly decreased skin pH, enhanced barrier integrity and reduced skin-surface roughness and scaliness. At the same time points, the pH 5·8 formulation exerted only minor effects on the barrier function parameters.

Conclusions: Exogenous acidification through topical application of a water-in-oil emulsion with pH 4 leads to improvement of the skin barrier function and maintenance of the barrier homeostasis in aged skin.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Dermatologic Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Dermatologic Agents / chemistry
  • Emulsions
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Oils / chemistry
  • Prospective Studies
  • Skin / chemistry
  • Skin / drug effects*
  • Skin Aging / drug effects*
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Water / chemistry
  • Water Loss, Insensible / drug effects

Substances

  • Dermatologic Agents
  • Emulsions
  • Oils
  • Water