Archives of Dermatological Research

, Volume 305, Issue 4, pp 315–323 | Cite as

Transepidermal water loss in young and aged healthy humans: a systematic review and meta-analysis

  • Jan Kottner
  • Andrea Lichterfeld
  • Ulrike Blume-Peytavi
Original Paper


Transepidermal water loss (TEWL) is regarded as one of the most important parameters for characterizing skin barrier function but an agreed upon definition of what a “normal” TEWL is does not exist. In order to determine generalizable TEWL values for healthy adults, a systematic review and meta-analysis was conducted. The databases MEDLINE and EMBASE and publication lists were screened. After full-text appraisal of 398 studies, 231 studies were excluded due to unclear or insufficient reporting. 167 studies providing data about 50 skin areas were included in the final data synthesis. Pooled sample sizes ranged from n = 5 for the left cheek and the left lower back to a maximum of n = 2,838 for the right midvolar forearm area. The lowest TEWL of 2.3 (95 % CI 1.9–2.7) g/m2/h was calculated for the breast skin, the highest TEWL of 44.0 (39.8–48.2) g/m2/h for the axilla. TEWL in individuals being 65 years and above was consistently lower compared to the group of 18- to 64-year-old individuals. The quality of reporting TEWL in humans should be increased in future studies.


Adult Aged Dermatology Humans Meta-analysis 



This research was supported by the Clinical Research Center for Hair and Skin Science, Department of Dermatology and Allergy, Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Germany.

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (PDF 22 kb)
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Supplementary material 2 (PDF 180 kb)
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Supplementary material 3 (PDF 295 kb)
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Supplementary material 4 (PDF 324 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jan Kottner
    • 1
  • Andrea Lichterfeld
    • 1
  • Ulrike Blume-Peytavi
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Dermatology and Allergy, Clinical Research Center for Hair and Skin ScienceCharité-Universitätsmedizin BerlinBerlinGermany

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