Background: Extensive questioning of patients with a wide variety of skin disorders led to the impression that nocturnal overheating was probably an important factor in the initiation and the perpetuation of many skin disorders.
Methods: In order to test the hypothesis, 12 "clean-skinned" subjects (6M/6F) aged 18 to 45 years were monitored electronically every 30 seconds during an 8 hour sleep period (2300 to 0700 hours), sleeping under a standard 10 tog duvet.
Results: All the subjects were too hot by 3 to 4 degrees C. All showed changes in their EEG patterns with reduced REM sleep, increased awakenings, and all showed changes in their sleep stage patterns. In addition, they all showed evidence of increased sweating in the "heat-sink" area.
Conclusions: The mechanisms where by such changes could be implicated in the precipitation and perpetuation of skin disease are discussed. "Lifestyle" modification as a very effective, noninvasive, therapeutic regime is recommended. Further research along these lines would probably be very valuable and instructive.