• skin irritation;
  • nitrocellulose-replica method;
  • closed patch testing;
  • occlusion;
  • film;
  • perspiration;
  • microscopic observation

In order to investigate the el led of occlusion on the skin, the flexor sides of both upper arms were covered with column-shaped closed chambers, 30 mm in outer diameter. 20 mm in inner diameter. and 5 mm in height, which were made of polyethylene loam. The tops of the chambers were sealed be plastic films with various levels of water vapor permeability to control moisture in each chamber. The raised chamber walls prevented direct contact between the skin and the plastic film. After 24 h of application, morphological changes of the skin surface were observed microscopically by the nitrocellulose-replica method. Although no visual alterations were found on all areas of occluded skin, microscopic evaluation showed that simple occlusion by films induced an increase in the number of deepened skin furrows on the skin surface. This increase was associated with lower water vapor permeability of the films, as well as with higher values of both temperature and humidity on the test day. Thus, since conditions which facilitate perspiration from the skin lend to cause skin irritation, prolonged exposure of the skin to sweat by simple occlusion may act as a primary skin irritant