Simultaneous Measurements of Structure and Water Permeability in an Isolated Human Skin Stratum Corneum Sheet

Polymers (Basel). 2019 May 8;11(5):829. doi: 10.3390/polym11050829.


Stratum corneum (SC), the outermost layer of human skin, acts as an intelligent physicochemical interface between the inside and the outside of our body. To make clear the relationship between structure and physical barrier properties of SC, we developed a method that enables us to simultaneously acquire X-ray diffraction (XD) patterns and transepidermal water loss (TEWL) values using a spread SC sheet isolated from human skin. The synchrotron X-ray was incident on the SC sheet surface at an angle of 45° to avoid interference between the two kinds of measurements. Detailed comparison between XD and TEWL data suggested that the thermal behavior of water permeability is closely related to the thermal expansion of the lattice spacings of the hexagonal phases above 40 °C and to the existence ratio of the orthorhombic phase below 40 °C. Thus, the new method we developed can give useful information on the mechanism of water permeation in SC without ambiguity caused by separate measurements of structure and water permeability with different samples.

Keywords: intercellular lipid; stratum corneum; transepidermal water loss; wide-angle X-ray diffraction.