Surfactant-induced skin irritation and skin repair: evaluation of a cumulative human irritation model by noninvasive techniques.J Am Acad Dermatol. 1994 Dec; 31(6):981-7.JA
Although surfactant-induced acute irritant dermatitis has been extensively studied, our understanding about the induction and repair of the clinically more relevant chronic form is limited.
Our purpose was to investigate qualitative and quantitative differences in surfactant-induced irritant skin reactions from cumulative exposure to structurally unrelated surfactants and to compare the maximal irritant responses from this model with corresponding reactions noted in a previously reported acute irritation model.
Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), dodecyl trimethyl ammonium bromide (DTAB), and potassium soap were the model irritants. Surfactant solutions (7.5%) were applied for 20 minutes daily (for 8 consecutive days excluding the weekend) to the volar aspect of the forearm of 11 volunteers. Irritant reactions were repeatedly assessed until complete healing was indicated by visual assessment and by measurements of transepidermal water loss (TEWL), erythema (skin color reflectance), and stratum corneum hydration (electrical capacitance). Maximum irritant responses were compared with corresponding reactions from an acute irritation model.
TEWL was increased by SLS and DTAB to the same extent, but erythema was significantly higher in DTAB-treated skin. Skin dryness, as demonstrated by decreased capacitance values and increased scores for scaling and fissuring, was significantly more pronounced than in an acute irritation model for SLS and DTAB, although no difference was detected between the two surfactants. Potassium soap led to a slight increase in TEWL, whereas the remaining features were not significantly changed.
This chronic irritation model appears to represent the clinical situation of irritant contact dermatitis with pronounced skin dryness more closely than the acute irritation model. The present study confirms that an extended time is needed for complete healing of irritant skin reactions. We also demonstrated that the evaluation of the irritation potential of diverse surfactants depended significantly on the feature evaluated (erythema vs electrical capacitance and TEWL), on the mode of application (acute vs cumulative), and, in the cumulative model, on the point of observation.