Supplementary Material for: The Effect of an Emollient Containing Urea, Ceramide NP, and Lactate on Skin Barrier Structure and Function in Older People with Dry Skin
Xerosis affects up to 75% of older people and develops as a result of a skin barrier defect. Emollients are widely used to treat xerosis; however, there is limited understanding of the differences between them and their effects on the skin barrier in older people. This study aimed to compare the effect of a commercially available emollient containing 5% urea, ceramide NP and lactate (test emollient) to an alternative emollient without these additives (control emollient) on the properties of the skin barrier in older people. Two cohorts of 21 volunteers aged >60 years with dry skin were recruited. The first applied the test emollient to one forearm and no treatment to the other for 28 days. The second compared the test emollient to the control emollient observing the same parameters. Effects on the skin barrier were determined by measuring skin barrier function, hydration, skin surface pH and by analysing Fourier transform infrared spectra before and after treatment. A third cohort of 6 young adults was recruited to investigate the effect of a single treatment with the test emollient on the molecular structure of the skin barrier at greater depths by employing the tape-stripping technique. The test emollient hydrated the skin to a significantly greater extent and for a longer period of time compared to the control emollient, an effect associated with a significant elevation of carboxylate groups (a marker of natural moisturizing factor content) within the stratum corneum. Furthermore, the test emollient imparted additional benefits to the structure and function of the skin barrier not exhibited by the control emollient. In conclusion, the test emollient addressed the pathological features of xerotic aged skin, supporting its use as first-line therapy for xerotic skin conditions in this population.