Percutaneous Absorption and Principles of Corneotherapy/Skin Care

Key Features

  • Those substances with a molecular weight larger than 500 Da can hardly penetrate through the skin covered by just a 10- mm thick SC as skin barrier.

  • The SC barrier function depends on the presence of its unique intercellular lipids that are tightly bound to maturated corneocytes, whose formation is disturbed in diseased skin.

  • The SC barrier function is not uniform and greatly differs among various body locations with extremely poor barrier function in the face and genital skin.

  • The bypass pathway penetration through hair follicles and sweat ducts may allow quick but only small amount of penetration of externally applied substances.

  • Excessive SC hydration induced by occlusion causes swelling of the corneocytes to lead to several to more than tenfold increase in percutaneous absorption of applied drugs.

  • Normal SC binds water to keep the skin surface smooth and soft in contrast to pathologic SC with deficient water-binding capacity that produces a scaly or cracked skin surface.

  • Corneotherapy consisting of daily applications of a highly moisturizing agent not only induces long-lasting increase in skin surface hydration but also repairs mild SC barrier dysfunction such as noted in atopic xerosis.


Atopic Dermatitis Stratum Corneum Allergic Contact Dermatitis Atopic Dermatitis Patient Percutaneous Absorption 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Stratum corneum.


Transepidermal water loss.


  1. 1.
    Tagami H (2002) What is the ‘true’ function of skin. Viewpoint 9. Exp Dermatol 11:180–182Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Elias PM, Feingold KR, Fluhr JW (2003) Skin as an organ of protection. In: Freedberg IM, Eisen AZ, Wolff K, Austen KF, Goldsmith LA, Katz S, Fitzpatrick TB (eds) Fitzpatrick's dermatology in general medicine, 6th edn. McGraw Hill, New York, pp 107–118Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Schaefer H, Redelmaier TE (1996) Skin barrier: principles of percutaneous absorption. Karger, BaselGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Hirao T, Denda M, Takahashi M (2001) Identification of immature cornified envelopes in the barrier-impaired epidermis by characterization of their hydrophobicity and antige-nicity of the components. Exp Dermatol 10:35–44PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Kobayashi H, Tagami H (2004) Functional properties of the surface of the vermilion border of the lips are distinct from those of the facial skin. Br J Dermatol 150:563–567PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    O'goshi k, Okada M, Iguchi M, Tagami H (2002) The predilection sites for chronic atopic dermatitis do not show any special functional uniqueness of the stratum corneum. Exog Dermatol 1:195–202CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Ya-Xian Z, Suetake T, Tagami H (1999) Number of cell layers of the stratum corneum in normal skin— relationship to the anatomical location on the body, age, sex and physical parameters. Arch Dermatol Res 291:555–559PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Bos JD, Meinardi MMHM (2000). The 500 Dalton rule for the skin penetration of chemical compounds and drugs. Exp Dermatol 9:165–169PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Tagami H, Watanabe S, Ofuji S, Minami K (1977) Trichophytin contact sensitivity in patiens with dermatophy-tosis. Arch Derm 113:1409–1414PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Tagami H, Urano-Suehisa S, Hatchome N (1985) Contact sensitivity to Candida albicans. Comparative studies in man and animals (guinea pigs). Br J Dermatol 113:415–424PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Levin J, Maibach HI (2005) Correlating transepidermal water loss and percutaneous absorption: an overview. Cosmet Toilettries 120:28–31Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Tagami H, Ogino A (1973) Kerosine dermatitis. Factors affecting skin irritability to kerosene. Dermatologica 146:123–131PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Tagami H, Ohi M, Iwatsuki K, Kanamaru Y, Yamada M, Ichijo B (1980) Evaluation of skin surface hydration in vivo by electrical measurement. J Invest Dermatol 175:500–507CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Kikuchi K, Kobayashi H, le Fur I, Tschachler E, Tagami H (2002) The winter season affects more severely the facial skin than the forearm skin: comparative biophysical studies conducted in the same Japanese females in later summer and winter. Exog Dermatol 1:32–38CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Kobayashi H, Kikuchi K, Tsubono Y, Tagami H (2003) Measurement of electrical current perception threshold of sensory nerves for pruritus in atopic dermatitis patients and normal individuals with various degrees of mild damage to the stratum corneum. Dermatology 206:204–211PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Aoyama H, Tanaka M, Hara M, Tabata N, Tagami H (1999) Nummular eczema: an addition of senile xerosis and unique cutaneous reactivities to environmental allergens. Dermatology 199:135–139PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Tabata N, O'Goshi K, Zhen YX, Kligman AM, Tagami H (2000) Biophysical assessment of persistent effects of moisturizers after their daily applications: evaluation of cor-neotherapy. Dermatology 220:308–313CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Kikuchi K, Kobayashi H, Hirao T, Ito A, Takahashi H, Tagami H (2003) Improvement of mild inflammatory changes of the facial skin induced by winter environment with daily applications of a moisturizing cream. A half-side test of biophysical skin parameters, cytokine expression pattern and the formation of cornified envelope. Dermatology 207:269–267PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Tagami H, Kobayashi H, O'goshi K, Kikuchi K (2006) Atopic xerosis: employment of noninvasive biophysical instrumentation for the functional analyses of the mildly abnormal stratum corneum and for the efficacy assessment of skin care products. J Cosmet Dermatol 5:140–149PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Tohoku University School of MedicineAoba-ku SendaiJapan

Personalised recommendations