The stratum corneum is the most important barrier to a wide range of molecules, irritants, allergens, small particles, and microorganisms. However, small amounts of water continuously diffuse from the inside to the outside which is called transepidermal water loss (TEWL). TEWL is regarded as one of the most important parameters characterizing skin barrier integrity. Elevated TEWL is usually associated with skin barrier impairments, whereas reduced or low TEWL is considered as skin barrier integrity or improvement. Available evidence suggests that the water diffusion through the stratum corneum seems to remain stable and/or to decrease during aging. Possible reasons are the flattening of the corneocytes, altered and reduced intercellular lipids, reduced natural moisturizing factor content, and/or a reduced skin surface temperature. Such a “normal” TEWL masks the decreases of functional capacity of the skin barrier function in intrinsically and extrinsically aged skin.
- Intercellular lipids
- Skin barrier
- Stratum corneum
- Transepidermal water loss
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Tax calculation will be finalised at checkout
Purchases are for personal use onlyLearn about institutional subscriptions
Loewy A, Wechselmann W. The physiology and pathology of water changing and heat regulation on the part of the skin organs. (After tests on three people who are related by blood and have ectodermal inhibition cultivation, especially of the skin gland systems). Virchows Arch Pathol Anat Physiol Klin Med. 1911;206(1):79–121.
Rothman S. Insensible water loss. In: Rothman S, editor. Physiology and biochemistry of the skin. Chicago: The University of Chicago; 1955. p. 233–43.
Hadgraft J, Lane ME. Transepidermal water loss and skin site: a hypothesis. Int J Pharm. 2009;373(1–2):1–3.
Xiao P, Imhof RE. Two dimensional finite element modelling for dynamic water diffusion through stratum corneum. Int J Pharm. 2012;435(1):88–92.
Kottner J, Lichterfeld A, Blume-Peytavi U. Transepidermal water loss in young and aged healthy humans: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Arch Dermatol Res. 2013;305(4):315–23.
du Plessis J, et al. International guidelines for the in vivo assessment of skin properties in non-clinical settings: part 2. Transepidermal water loss and skin hydration. Skin Res Technol. 2013;19(3):265–78.
Imhof B, McFeat G. Evaluation of the barrier function of skin using transepidermal water loss (TEWL): a critical overview. In: Barel AO, Paye M, Maibach HI, editors. Handbook of cosmetic science and technology. Boca Raton: CRC Press; 2014. p. 131–9.
Imhof RE, et al. Closed-chamber transepidermal water loss measurement: microclimate, calibration and performance. Int J Cosmet Sci. 2009;31(2):97–118.
Rogiers V. EEMCO guidance for the assessment of transepidermal water loss in cosmetic sciences. Skin Pharmacol Appl Skin Physiol. 2001;14(2):117–28.
Pinnagoda J, et al. Guidelines for transepidermal water loss (TEWL) measurement. A report from the standardization group of the European Society of Contact Dermatitis. Contact Dermatitis. 1990;22(3):164–78.
Tagami H. Location-related differences in structure and function of the stratum corneum with special emphasis on those of the facial skin. Int J Cosmet Sci. 2008;30(6):413–34.
Firooz A, et al. Variation of biophysical parameters of the skin with age, gender, and body region. Sci World J. 2012;2012:386936.
Luebberding S, Krueger N, Kerscher M. Skin physiology in men and women: in vivo evaluation of 300 people including TEWL, SC hydration, sebum content and skin surface pH. Int J Cosmet Sci. 2013;35(5):477–83.
Lu N, et al. Characteristic differences in barrier and hygroscopic properties between normal and cosmetic dry skin. I. Enhanced barrier analysis with sequential tape-stripping. Int J Cosmet Sci. 2014;36(2):167–74.
Sextius P, et al. Large scale study of epidermal recovery after stratum corneum removal: dynamics of genomic response. Exp Dermatol. 2010;19(3):259–68.
Kottner J, et al. Characterisation of epidermal regeneration in vivo: a 60-day follow-up study. J Wound Care. 2013;22(8):395–400.
Angelova-Fischer I, et al. Tandem repeated irritation in aged skin induces distinct barrier perturbation and cytokine profile in vivo. Br J Dermatol. 2012;167(4):787–93.
Boireau-Adamezyk E, Baillet-Guffroy A, Stamatas GN. Age-dependent changes in stratum corneum barrier function. Skin Res Technol. 2014;20(4):409–15.
Rawlings AV. The stratum corneum and aging. In: Farage MA, Miller KW, Maibach HI, editors. Textbook of aging skin. Berlin/Heidelberg: Springer; 2010. p. 55–75.
Alikhan A. Transepidermal water loss and aging. In: Farage MA, Miller KW, Maibach HI, editors. Textbook of aging skin. Berlin/Heidelberg: Springer; 2010. p. 696–703.
Wilhelm K-P, Brandt M, Maibach HI. Transepidermal water loss and barrier function of aging human skin. In: Fluhr J et al., editors. Bioengineering of the skin: water and the stratum corneum. New York/London: Informa Healthcare; 2005. p. 143–58.
Sato N, Kitahara T, Fujimura T. Age-related changes of stratum corneum functions of skin on the trunk and the limbs. Skin Pharmacol Physiol. 2014;27(4):181.
Trojahn C, et al. Characterizing facial skin ageing in humans: disentangling extrinsic from intrinsic biological phenomena. Biomed Res Int. 2015;2015:318586.
Kottner J, et al. Do repeated skin barrier measurements influence each other’s results? An explorative study. Skin Pharmacol Physiol. 2014;27(2):90–6.
Marks R. Measurement of biological ageing in human epidermis. Br J Dermatol. 1981;104(6):627–33.
Helmbold P, et al. Detection of a physiological juvenile phase and the central role of pericytes in human dermal microvascular aging. J Invest Dermatol. 2006;126(6):1419–21.
Ghadially R. Aging and the epidermal permeability barrier: implications for contact dermatitis. Am J Contact Dermat. 1998;9(3):162–9.
Pierard GE. The quandary of climacteric skin ageing. Dermatology. 1996;193(4):273–4.
Bhawan J, et al. Photoaging versus intrinsic aging: a morphologic assessment of facial skin. J Cutan Pathol. 1995;22(2):154–9.
Zheng Y, et al. Cathepsin d repairing role in photodamaged skin barrier. Skin Pharmacol Physiol. 2015;28(2):97–102.
Reed JT, Elias PM, Ghadially R. Integrity and permeability barrier function of photoaged human epidermis. Arch Dermatol. 1997;133(3):395–6.
Kikuchi-Numagami K, et al. Functional and morphological studies of photodamaged skin on the hands of middle-aged Japanese golfers. Eur J Dermatol. 2000;10(4):277–81.
Blaak J, et al. Irritability of skin barrier: a comparison of chronologically aged and photo-aged skin in elderly and young adults. Eur Geriatr Med. 2011;2:208–11.
Ghadially R, et al. The aged epidermal permeability barrier. Structural, functional, and lipid biochemical abnormalities in humans and a senescent murine model. J Clin Invest. 1995;95(5):2281–90.
Tagami H, et al. Environmental effects on the functions of the stratum corneum. J Investig Dermatol Symp Proc. 2001;6(1):87–94.
Jia Q, Nash F. Pathology of aging skin. In: Farage MA, Miller KW, Maibach HI, editors. Textbook of aging skin. Berlin/Heidelberg: Springer; 2010. p. 277–91.
Kuh D, et al. Life course epidemiology, ageing research, and maturing cohort studies: a dynamic combination for understanding healthy ageing. In: Kuh D et al., editors. A life course approach to healthy ageing. Oxford: Oxford University Press; 2014. p. 3–15.
Sextius P, et al. Analysis of gene expression dynamics revealed delayed and abnormal epidermal repair process in aged compared to young skin. Arch Dermatol Res. 2015;307:351–64.
Ranzer MJ, DiPietro LA. Impaired wound repair and delayed angiogenesis. In: Farage MA, Miller KW, Maibach HI, editors. Textbook of aging skin. Berlin: Springer; 2010. p. 897–906.
Editors and Affiliations
© 2017 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg
About this entry
Cite this entry
Kottner, J., Vogt, A., Lichterfeld, A., Blume-Peytavi, U. (2017). Transepidermal Water Loss in Young and Aged Healthy Humans. In: Farage, M., Miller, K., Maibach, H. (eds) Textbook of Aging Skin. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-662-47398-6_127
Publisher Name: Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg
Print ISBN: 978-3-662-47397-9
Online ISBN: 978-3-662-47398-6