Medical and Biological Engineering and Computing

, Volume 21, Issue 6, pp 739–749 | Cite as

Skin impedance and electro-osmosis in the human epidermis

  • S. Grimnes


It is well known that skin conductance is dependent on current flow through skin. It is shown that this may be due to an electro-osmotic effect. This can explain why in some cases negative and in other cases positive potentials increase skin conductance. Electro-osmosis implies current rectification, a powerful skin breakdown mechanism with potentials larger than 50V, and that negative d.c. potentials are more dangerous than positive on dry skin. Electro-osmosis may be a source of error in skin ionic permeability studies with electrical parameters.


Electrical safety Electro-osmosis Skin electrical breakdown Skin impedance Skin permeability 


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Copyright information

© IFMBE 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. Grimnes
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biomedical EngineeringRikshospitaletOslo 1Norway

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