Documentation of Impaired Epidermal Barrier in Mild and Moderate Diaper Dermatitis In Vivo Using Noninvasive Methods


Address correspondence to Georgios N. Stamatas, Ph.D., Johnson & Johnson Consumer France 1, rue Camille Desmoulins, 92787 Issy-les-Moulineaux, France, or e-mail:


Abstract:  The presence of irritants from feces and urine with the concurrent mechanical friction and occlusion creates an environment in the diapered area that renders the skin prone to diaper dermatitis. Besides being a source of discomfort to the infant, these skin irritations pose a risk of secondary infections. In this study, we used noninvasive in vivo techniques to define measurable parameters that correlate with diaper dermatitis pathophysiology. In 35 infants (16 with mild or moderate and 19 without diaper dermatitis) we compared skin of diapered areas afflicted with diaper dermatitis to lesion-free diapered sites and to skin outside the diapered area (thigh). Our findings show significantly elevated cutaneous erythema, pH, and hydration, with significantly compromised water barrier function in involved areas compared to nonlesional sites both within and outside the diapered area. Furthermore, skin pH in nonlesional diapered skin for the diaper dermatitis cohort was significantly higher compared to the nondiapered sites. These observations are consistent with the current understanding of pathological skin changes in diaper dermatitis. In this study, we demonstrate that noninvasive methods can document relevant parameters to diaper dermatitis in vivo.