Confocal Raman microspectroscopy of stratum corneum: a pre-clinical validation study.Int J Cosmet Sci. 2008 Feb; 30(1):47-56.IJ
Skin moisturization is not only important for maintaining skin functional properties but also has great impact on the skin's aesthetic properties. The top layer of the skin, the stratum corneum (SC), plays a key role in protecting and preventing against external aggressions as well as in regulating water flux in and out. Confocal Raman microspectroscopy is the first commercially available technique that provides a non-invasive, in vivo method to determine depth profiles of water concentration in the skin, however, in this case it was applied in an in vitro setting. As the first phase of validating the usefulness of confocal Raman microspectroscopy, we used porcine skin as a surrogate for human skin. Water concentration profiles were obtained using confocal Raman microspectroscopy from isolated pigskin SC and compared with that using the Karl Fischer titration method. The two methods correlated very well with a regression coefficient of 1.07 as well as a correlation coefficient, R(2) = 0.989, which demonstrated the consistency and accuracy of confocal Raman microspectroscopy for water concentration determination. To evaluate the instrument's response to different skin care/cleansing products, a wide range of products were tested to compare their skin moisturization ability. Among those tested were a lotion, commercial soap bar, syndet bar, traditional non-emollient shower gel (water, Sodium Laureth Ether Sulfate (SLES), cocamidopropyl betaine system) and emollient containing shower gel (water, sunflower oil, SLES, cocamidopropyl betaine, glycerin, petrolatum). The results were consistent with what was expected. The water content on skin treated with (A) lotion was significantly higher than the non-treated control; (B) syndet bar-treated skin had a significantly higher water content than soap-based bar-treated sites; (C) non-emollient shower gel washed sites were more moisturized than soap-based bar-treated samples; and (D) emollient shower gel-treated skin was significantly more hydrated than non-emollient shower gel washed skin. The unique and direct quantitative water content information provided by confocal Raman microspectroscopy offers a whole new perspective for fundamental skin moisturization studies and will play an important role in evaluating moisturizing profiles and the hydration potential of products designed for personal care in the cosmetic industry.