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Summary

We have studied the clinically normal skin of eighty-four patients with quiescent dermatitis of different types, and fifty normal subjects. Increased susceptibility to chemical irritation was demonstrated in patients with atopic and exogenous dermatitis. There was a reduction in mean corneocyte area and a thinner horny layer in all patients, and an increased epidermal thickness in atopic dermatitis patients only. In forced desquamation studies, patients released more corneocyte clumps from the skin surface, but there were no significant differences between patients and controls in sensitivity to UVR or electrical conductivity.