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Skin Barrier

2005 Edition, September 22, 2005

Complete Document

Detail Summary

Active, Most Current

Additional Comments:
ISBN: 978-0-8247-5815-8
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Product Details:

  • Revision: 2005 Edition, September 22, 2005
  • Published Date: September 22, 2005
  • Status: Active, Most Current
  • Document Language: English
  • Published By: CRC Press (CRC)
  • Page Count: 634
  • ANSI Approved: No
  • DoD Adopted: No

Description / Abstract:


The skin is an underappreciated organ playing a crucial role in the survival of animals and humans. The major role of the skin is to provide a barrier between a hostile external environment and the organism. Even modest defects in this barrier can have catastrophic impacts on the organism, threatening its survival. Whereas many of the body's organs have an enormous functional reserve (e.g., one kidney can be removed with minimal impact), the skin barrier must be completely intact and functional for good health. Even relatively minor defects in the stratum corneum can lead to abnormalities in water and electrolyte balance, increase the risk of infection, and result in localized and systemic inflammation. The barrier functions of the skin are primarily mediated by the stratum corneum—the outermost layer of the epidermis.

The stratum corneum is derived from the terminal differentiation of the epidermis. It is a complex structure consisting of corneocytes surrounded by lipid membranes, which allows it to subserve numerous barrier functions, including serving as a barrier to the movement of water and electrolytes, blocking the entry of microorganisms and xenobiotics, as well as providing strength and resistance to external mechanical trauma. Yet, its outermost cells must desquamate invisibly from the skin surface allowing for the continual renewal of the stratum corneum.

The aim of this book is to describe in detail the structure and function of the stratum corneum. In addition, the factors that regulate the formation of the stratum corneum and the abnormalities of the stratum corneum that occur secondary to various disease states will be discussed. In the last several years, innumerable advances in our understanding of the structure, function, and formation of the stratum corneum have occurred and much of this new information has been incorporated into the various chapters with the goal of providing as up-to-date a review as possible. This book will provide, in a single source, comprehensive information on the stratum corneum and its multiple barrier functions. It can be read in its entirety or individual chapters referred to as needed to provide an up-to-date review of specific topics of interest. We are confident that it will be a standard reference for obtaining information on the stratum corneum.

This book will be of interest to dermatologists, skin biologists, individuals developing skin-care products, and scientists concerned with the effect of toxic compounds on the skin. It is expected that readers of this book will emerge with an enhanced understanding and appreciation of the importance of the stratum corneum.

Part I provides definitions and broad concepts regarding stratum corneum function. In addition, chapters by Albert M. Kligman and Peter M. Elias review the history of the development of our current concepts of the stratum corneum from the days when the stratum corneum was considered akin to ‘‘Saran wrap'' to our current concepts of the stratum corneum as a dynamic biosensor with multiple integrated functions.

Part II focuses on the structure of the stratum corneum with detailed information on the lipid and protein components. In addition, information on the structural integration of these components will be presented.

Part III discusses the dynamic properties of the stratum corneum. The role of pH and lipid processing by enzymes localized to the stratum corneum will be detailed.

Part IV presents current information on the formation of the stratum corneum during fetal development and in adults. In addition, the factors that regulate the formation of the stratum corneum are discussed.

Part V provides information on the various functions of the stratum corneum including the permeability barrier, microbial defense, antioxidant barrier, hydration, and the formation of vitamin D.

Part VI examines the abnormalities that occur in the stratum corneum including abnormalities in permeability barrier function, diseases of cornification and desquamation, occupational disorders, and atopic dermatitis. In addition, this section also discusses the effect of aging, psychological stress, and various cutaneous disorders on stratum corneum structure and function.

Last, Part VII discusses strategies for improving stratum corneum barrier function.

Thus, this book provides the reader with a single complete source of information on the stratum corneum and should serve as a definitive reference when one seeks information pertaining to stratum corneum structure, function, or disorders.