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BioMed Research International
Volume 2016, Article ID 9704598, 7 pages
Research Article

Heavy Cigarette Smokers in a Chinese Population Display a Compromised Permeability Barrier

1Dalian Skin Disease Hospital, Dalian, Liaoning 116021, China
2Dermatology Services, San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center and University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA 94121, USA

Received 29 February 2016; Accepted 6 June 2016

Academic Editor: Nikolaos Siafakas

Copyright © 2016 Shujun Xin et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Cigarette smoking is associated with various cutaneous disorders with defective permeability. Yet, whether cigarette smoking influences epidermal permeability barrier function is largely unknown. Here, we measured skin biophysical properties, including permeability barrier homeostasis, stratum corneum (SC) integrity, SC hydration, skin surface pH, and skin melanin/erythema index, in cigarette smokers. A total of 99 male volunteers were enrolled in this study. Smokers were categorized as light-to-moderate (<20 cigarettes/day) or heavy smokers (≥20 cigarettes/day). An MPA5 was used to measure SC hydration and skin melanin/erythema index on the dorsal hand, forehead, and cheek. Basal transepidermal water loss (TEWL) and barrier recovery rates were assessed on the forearm. A Skin-pH-Meter pH900 was used to measure skin surface pH. Our results showed that heavy cigarette smokers exhibited delayed barrier recovery after acute abrogation ( versus ), and barrier recovery rates correlated negatively with the number of daily cigarettes consumption (). Changes in biophysical parameters in cigarette smokers varied with body sites. In conclusion, heavy cigarette smokers display compromised permeability barrier homeostasis, which could contribute, in part, to the increased prevalence of certain cutaneous disorders characterized by defective permeability. Thus, improving epidermal permeability barrier should be considered for heavy cigarette smokers.