Skin-conditioning products in occupational dermatology

  • P. ElsnerEmail author
  • W. Wigger-Alberti


Moisturizers are frequently used in the prevention of occupational contact dermatitis. This review discusses their chemistry and mode of action. Methods to prove their preventive efficacy are presented. In addition to pharmacological efficacy, subjective factors that influence application of the products and compliance come into play. In conclusion, moisturizers are only one element of skin-disease prevention at the workplace that should be viewed as a complex, inter-dependent system. The efficacy of the complete, integrated system of occupational skin care has to be proven.


Occupational skin disease Skin protection Irritation Contact dermatitis Prevention 


  1. 1.
    Blanken R, van der Valk PG, Nater JP, Dijkstra H (1987) After-work emollient creams: effects on irritant skin reactions. Derm Beruf Umwelt 35:95–98PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Blichmann CW, Serup J, Winther A (1989) Effects of single application of a moisturizer: evaporation of emulsion water, skin surface temperature, electrical conductance, electrical capacitance, and skin surface (emulsion) lipids. Acta Derm Venereol 69:327–330PubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    El Gammal C, Pagnoni A, Kligman AM, el Gammal S (1996) A model to assess the efficacy of moisturizers—the quantification of soap-induced xerosis by image analysis of adhesive-coated discs (D-Squames). Clin Exp Dermatol 21:338–343PubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Gabard B (1994) Testing the efficacy of moisturizers. In: Berardesca PE, Maibach HI (eds) Bioengineering and the skin: water and the stratum corneum. CRC Press, Boca Raton, pp 147–167Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Ghadially R, Halkier-Sorensen L, Elias PM (1992) Effects of petrolatum on stratum corneum structure and function. J Am Acad Dermatol 26:387–396PubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Gloor M (2000) Moisturizer und andere die Hornschicht beeinflussende Wirkstoffe. In: Gloor M, Thoma K, Fluhr J (eds) Dermatologische Externatherapie. Springer, Berlin Heidelberg New York, pp 105–132Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Goh CL, Gan SL (1994) Efficacies of a barrier cream and an afterwork emollient cream against cutting fluid dermatitis in metalworkers: a prospective study. Contact Dermatitis 31:176–180PubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Halkier-Sorensen L, Thestrup-Pedersen K (1993) The efficacy of a moisturizer (Locobase) among cleaners and kitchen assistants during everyday exposure to water and detergents. Contact Dermatitis 29:266–271PubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Hannuksela A, Kinnunen T (1992) Moisturizers prevent irritant dermatitis. Acta Derm Venereol 72:42–44PubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Loden M (1996) Urea-containing moisturizers influence barrier properties of normal skin. Arch Dermatol Res 288:103–107CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Loden M (1997) Barrier recovery and influence of irritant stimuli in skin treated with a moisturizing cream. Contact Dermatitis 36:256–260PubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Loden M, Andersson AC (1996) Effect of topically applied lipids on surfactant-irritated skin. Br J Dermatol 134:215–220PubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Man MQ, Feingold KR, Elias PM (1993) Exogenous lipids influence permeability barrier recovery in acetone-treated murine skin. Arch Dermatol 129:728–738CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Ramsing DW, Agner T (1997) Preventive and therapeutic effects of a moisturizer. An experimental study of human skin. Acta Derm Venereol 77:335–337PubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Serup J, Winther A, Blichmann CW (1989) Effects of repeated application of a moisturizer. Acta Derm Venereol 69:457–459PubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Wigger-Alberti W, Elsner P (2000) Barrier creams and emollients. In: Kanerva L, Elsner P, Wahlberg J, Maibach HI (eds) Handbook of occupational dermatology. Springer, Berlin Heidelberg New YorkGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Wigger-Alberti W, Maraffio B, Wernli M, Elsner P (1997) Self-application of a protective cream. Pitfalls of occupational skin protection. Arch Dermatol 133:861–864PubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Wigger-Alberti W, Maraffio B, Wernli M, Elsner P (1997) Training workers at risk for occupational contact dermatitis in the application of protective creams: efficacy of a fluorescence technique. Dermatology 195:129–133PubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Wohlrab W (1989) Bedeutung von Harnstoff in der externen Therapie. Hautarzt 40:35–41PubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Zhai H, Maibach HI (1998) Moisturizers in preventing irritant contact dermatitis: an overview. Contact Dermatitis 38:241–244PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Dermatology and AllergologyFriedrich-Schiller University of JenaJenaGermany

Personalised recommendations