Changes in Skin Barrier Function after Repeated Exposition to Phospholipid-Based Surfactants and Sodium Dodecyl Sulfate In Vivo and Corneocyte Surface Analysis by Atomic Force Microscopy

Pharmaceutics. 2021 Mar 24;13(4):436. doi: 10.3390/pharmaceutics13040436.


(1) Background: The aim of the study was to evaluate the effect of pure lecithins in comparison to a conventional surfactant on skin in vivo. (2) Methods: Physiological skin parameters were evaluated at the beginning and the end of the study (day 1 and day 4) (n = 8, healthy forearm skin) with an Aquaflux®, skin-pH-Meter, Corneometer® and an Epsilon® sensor. Confocal Raman spectroscopy was employed to monitor natural moisturizing factor, urea and water content of the participants' skin. Tape strips of treated skin sites were taken and the collected corneocytes were subjected to atomic force microscopy. Circular nano objects were counted, and dermal texture indices were determined. (3) Results: Transepidermal water loss was increased, and skin hydration was decreased after treatment with SDS and LPC80. Natural moisturizing factor and urea concentrations within the outermost 10 µm of the stratum corneum were lower than after treatment with S75 or water. Dermal texture indices of skin treated with SDS were higher than skin treated with water (control). (4) Conclusions: Results suggest very good (S75) or good (LPC80) skin-tolerability of lecithin-based surfactants in comparison to SDS and encourage further investigation.

Keywords: atomic force microscopy; corneocytes; dermal texture index; lecithins; natural moisturizing factor; phospholipids; skin hydration; sodium dodecyl sulfate; surfactants; transepidermal water loss.