American Journal of Clinical Dermatology

, Volume 5, Issue 4, pp 217–223

Stratum Corneum pH in Atopic Dermatitis

Impact on Skin Barrier Function and Colonization with Staphylococcus Aureus


    • Beiersdorf AG
  • Volker Schreiner
    • Beiersdorf AG
  • Thomas Doering
    • Beiersdorf AG
  • Howard I. Maibach
    • Department of DermatologyUniversity of California San Francisco Medical Center
Leading Article

DOI: 10.2165/00128071-200405040-00002

Cite this article as:
Rippke, F., Schreiner, V., Doering, T. et al. Am J Clin Dermatol (2004) 5: 217. doi:10.2165/00128071-200405040-00002


Recent studies have provided new insights into the occurrence, causes, and pathogenetic consequences of changes in the skin pH in atopic dermatitis, particularly with respect to skin barrier function and colonization with Staphylococcus aureus. Growing evidence suggests an impaired release of proton donors, such as amino acids, urocanic acid, and lactic acid, to the stratum corneum in atopic dermatitis, as a result of reductions in filaggrin proteolysis and sweat secretion. In addition, an impaired formation of free fatty acids from sebaceous lipids and epidermal phospholipids seems to be involved. Because both lipid organization and lipid metabolism in the stratum corneum requires an acidic pH, these alterations might contribute to the disturbance of skin barrier function observed in atopic dermatitis. Furthermore, bacterial growth and virulence of S. aureus, as well as defensive host mechanisms, have increasingly been delineated as pH dependent, giving rise to a new understanding of the pathophysiology underlying increased skin colonization seen in atopic dermatitis.

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© Adis Data Information BV 2004