Introduction: Xerosis is a common problem with significant sequelae in competitive swimmers, and it results from transepidermal water loss. This study evaluates moisture barriers for reducing xerosis in competitive swimmers. Methods: An artificial skin model was used to evaluate five products. Models were measured for changes in thickness and weight over 7 days. The optimal barrier was tested in a randomized controlled trial (RCT) of 20 swimmers. Skin moisture content was serially measured. Skin micrographs were scored in a blinded fashion. Results: The moisture barrier #1 treated skin model at day 7 maintained a mean thickness of 7.08 mm versus 2.38 mm for control (p = .0001). The mean weights of group 1 treated and control groups at day 7 were 40.1 and 8.65 g (p = .03). In the RCT, the group treated with moisture barrier #1 and the controls exhibited low moisture content and moderate xerosis scores at baseline. At week 3, moisture measurements for treated and control groups were 28.6% and 18.2% (p = .003). The mean xerosis scores for the treated and control groups were 8.5 and 12.9 (p = .0008). Conclusions: Artificial skin preservation varied for five commercially available moisture barriers. Moisture barrier application improved moisture content and reduced xerosis in competitive swimmers.
Keywords: Xerosis; dermatology; swimming.