A novel approach to the understanding of human skin barrier function

J Dermatol Sci. 1997 Feb;14(2):115-25. doi: 10.1016/s0923-1811(96)00559-2.


The basis for externally caused skin disorders is penetration of the skin barrier. A recent model for the skin barrier, the domain mosaic model, based on current knowledge of the physics of lipid bilayer organization gave tentative explanations for several aspects of function. It is demonstrated here that a development of the model explains how the requirements are met for a water-tight structure that will still allow a controlled, minute loss of water, the perspiratio insensibilis, necessary for maintaining plasticity of the keratin. A major advantage of the extended model is that it allows an interpretation of the changes imposed on the structure when in contact with detergents and/or penetration enhancers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Cutaneous
  • Animals
  • Biological Transport
  • Body Water / metabolism
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism
  • Drug Delivery Systems
  • Extracellular Space / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Keratins / metabolism
  • Lipid Bilayers / metabolism
  • Models, Biological*
  • Skin Physiological Phenomena*


  • Lipid Bilayers
  • Keratins