Acute barrier disruption by adhesive tapes is influenced by pressure, time and anatomical location: integrity and cohesion assessed by sequential tape stripping. A randomized, controlled study.Br J Dermatol. 2007 Feb; 156(2):231-40.BJ
Tape stripping is an established procedure in stratum corneum (SC) physiology research. Adhesive films are pressed to the surface of the skin and then removed. The superficial layers of the SC adhere to the film and are accessible for further investigations. Although this method is widely used, only scant information about standardization is known. Various protocols are used but are difficult to compare.
The aim of the present study was to investigate the effects of the type of tape, pressure, time, anatomical site and type of applied pressure.
Twelve healthy volunteers (age range 20-31 years) were entered in a randomized, controlled study with sequential tape stripping at the volar forearm, upper arm, cheek and back. Different methods (roller, stamp, thumb, stretched skin), total duration of applied pressure (2 s, 10 s), degrees of pressure (2 N stamp, 7 N stamp) and different tapes (D-Squame, Corneofix, Blenderm) were investigated and the impact on barrier function assessed by transepidermal water loss measurements. Furthermore, measurements of SC hydration, skin colour and skin surface pH were performed. Spectroscopic measurements and a Bradford protein assay to determine the mass of removed SC were carried out in parallel.
The degree of barrier disruption, irritation and SC cohesion is influenced by the character of adhesive tapes, total duration of applied pressure (2 s, 10 s; 2 N, 7 N), the kind of method for pressure application (roller, stamp, thumb, stretched skin), anatomical site and condition before stripping (occlusion vs. nonocclusion). The spectroscopic assessment and Bradford protein assay determination showed a significant correlation (P < 0.0001; r = 0.7041).
The present study showed significant differences between different factors on controlled barrier disruption. The results indicate the importance of defining these factors when a study is initiated and when results of different studies should be compared. Based on our data we propose using a 2 N stamp for a duration of 2 s on 15 sequential D-Squame tape strips on the volar forearm and then discarding the first and second strips. This approach allows the performance of a standardized study with a reasonable amount of resources.