Drug Discov Ther. 2012;6(3):157-162. (DOI: 10.5582/ddt.2012.v6.3.157)
Evaluation of skin surface hydration state and barrier function of stratum corneum of dorsa of hands and heels treated with PROTECT X2 skin protective cream.
Skin roughness is a term commonly used in Japan to describe a poor skin condition related to a rough and dry skin surface that develops as a result of various damaging effects from the environment or skin inflammation. Recovery from skin roughness requires skin care for a long period, thus it is important to prevent development of such skin changes. PROTECT X2 contains agents used for a protective covering of the skin from frequent hand washing or use of alcohol-based disinfectants. These unique components are also thought to be effective to treat skin roughness of the dorsa of the hands and heels. In the present study, we evaluated the effectiveness of PROTECT X2 to increase skin surface hydration state, as well as enhance the barrier function of the stratum corneum of the dorsa of the hands and heels in elderly individuals. A total of 8 elderly subjects and their caretakers without any skin diseases participated in the study. They applied PROTECT X2 by themselves to the dorsum area of 1 hand and heel 3 to 5 times daily for 1 month, while the opposite sides were left untreated. We measured stratum corneum (SC) hydration and transepidermal water loss (TEWL) before beginning treatment, then 1 week and 1 month after the start of treatment to compare between the treated and untreated skin. SC hydration state after applications of PROTECT X2 was 1.5- to 3.0-fold higher than that of the untreated skin in the dorsa of both hands and heels, indicating that the moisturizing ingredients accompanied by water were replenished in those areas where the cream was applied. Also, TEWL in the dorsum of the hands was 17.0-27.9% lower on the treated side, indicating improvement in SC barrier function. On the basis of these findings, we concluded that PROTECT X2 enhances water-holding in the SC and aids the barrier function of the skin in the dorsum of the hands. In addition, we consider that this formulation is useful for not only protecting the hands from the effects of such agents as detergents and alcohol-based disinfectants, but also for protecting heel skin covered by a thick SC from dry and cold conditions such as those encountered in winter. However, since the SC in that area is much thicker than that of the hands, the barrier function was not significantly improved within 1 month of daily treatments.