Electrical impedance index in human skin: measurements after occlusion, in 5 anatomical regions and in mi Id irritant contact dermatitis


  • Lennart Emtestam,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Dermatology, Huddinge University Hospital, S-141 S6 Huddinge. Sweden
    • Lennart Emtestam, Department of Dermatology M 43, Huddinge University Hospital, S-14186 Huddinge, Sweden

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  • Stig Ollmar

    1. Center for Denial Technology and Biomaterials. Karolinskn Institute, P.O. Box 4064, S-141 04 Huddinge, Sweden
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The electrical impedance in 23 healthy volunteers at 2–6 different skin sites was measured with a new impedance device, which makes possible non-invasive local measurements to a controlled depth. In 11 subjects, the lest sites were occluded for 24 h using empty Finn Chambers and chambers with water, physiological saline, a paper disc or 0.002% sodium lauryl sulfate (SI.S). In the normal skin of 10 subjects, the electrical impedance was measured from 5 different body areas for 5 consecutive days. In 3 subjects, daily measurements for I month were done, both from normal skin and from skin following the application of 2% SLS. The results show that the irritation index based on electrical skin impedance gives little day-to-day variation at one and the same lest site, in comparison to the variations between different test sites on the same subject and the inter individual variations observed. Significant differences in impedance values between different anatomical regions of normal skin were found. Occlusion does not affect readings taken 24 h or later alter removal, but increases variance for readings taken 1 after removal. Effects on the skin of mild irritation and its recovery phase are easily monitored wslh the new device. Technology based on electrical impedance, in ils newly presented form, with the advantages of improved geometrical dellnilinn and depth control, can be used as an objective tool to measure skin irritation. For detection of subclinical irritant contact dermatitis, repeated readings taken over several days may be needed.