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Cleanser-induced effects on skin barrier function.

DeHaven J; Beighley C; Kashon M; Solderholm S
American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition, May 8-13, 2004, Atlanta, Georgia. Fairfax, VA: American Industrial Hygiene Association, 2004 May; :61
Dermal exposure to toxic chemicals is associated with health risks. Intuitively, health risks should be reduced by skin decontamination. As a preliminary step in studies of decontamination, we have looked at the modulation of skin barrier integrity by selected cleansers. Using the standard in vitro tritiated water barrier assay in a flow-through diffusion cell system, we evaluated five cleansers and two controls (water, no treatment). We chose cleansers (none containing abrasives) from the many readily-available or specifically marketed for decontamination. Cleansers were: 10% (v/v) Ivory Liquid, 100% Safe Solvent, 100% D-TAM, 100% GoJo Smooth Orange, 0.5% Clorox. They were used with mild scrubbing (Q-tip) and according to the printed instructions of the manufacturer or, for Clorox, per U.S. Army recommendations. Dorsal skin from three aged (29-36 mo) female hairless guinea pigs was stored, full-thickness, at -85C for 130-260 days. Each dermatomed skin produced 14 skin disks. Disks were weighed, randomized to one of 14 cells, and tested for barrier integrity (tritiated water assay #1). Then intact disks (typical result 0.1% penetration) were exposed to acetone to simulate application of a contaminating chemical. Following 2 hours rest, 2 disks from each animal were randomized to each cleanser treatment (cleanser and 2 water rinses within 5 minutes). After 2 more hours, cells were re-tested for barrier integrity (tritiated water assay #2). Acetone alone did not perturb barrier function. None of the cleansers destroyed barrier integrity, i.e., all <0.35% penetration. Analysis of covariance using skin disk weight as the covariate indicated a significant effect of treatment (p = 0.018). Pair-wise comparisons of each cleanser vs. water using Dunnett's test showed evidence that the two most lipophilic cleansers significantly increased tritiated water penetration (p<0.05), suggesting that lipophilic cleansers might reduce barrier function in this test system.
Toxins; Health-hazards; Skin-disorders; Skin-irritants; In-vitro-studies; Exposure-levels; Acetones; Skin-exposure
Publication Date
Document Type
Fiscal Year
NIOSH Division
Priority Area
Disease and Injury: Allergic and Irritant Dermatitis
Source Name
American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition, May 8-13, 2004, Atlanta, Georgia
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division