John Libbey Eurotext

European Journal of Dermatology


Evaluation of skin susceptibility to irritancy by routine patch testing with sodium lauryl sulfate Volume 11, issue 5, September - October 2001


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Department of Dermatology, Philipp University, Marburg, Deutschhausstr. 9, D-35033, Germany.
  • Key words: evaporimetry, visual score, back, forearm, irritant patch test, sensitivity, specificity
  • Page(s) : 416-9
  • Published in: 2001

Irritant patch testing with sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) will become more and more a routine test determining skin susceptibility in men. Recently, it has been shown that for practical reasons, irritant SLS patch testing can take place on the back simultaneously with a routine allergic patch test to other contact allergens. However, SLS patch testing has mostly been performed on the forearm in studying experimental skin irritation so far. The aim of this study was to determine whether there is a relationship in skin response to aqueous SLS (0.125%; 0.25%; 0.5% and 1.0%) between the forearm and the back assessed by visual scoring and measurement of transepidermal water loss (TEWL). We found a pronounced reaction of the forearm compared to the back. TEWL values as well as visual scores correlated well with SLS concentration. There was also a high correlation in visual scoring between the forearm and the back. Based on test sensitivity and specificity we suggest a 48 hrs patch test for routine screening with 0.5% SLS on the forearm evaluated by TEWL measurement or visual scoring 24hrs after patch removal. A mild erythema (scored as ¾ 1) is considered to be normal. If for practical reasons, the SLS patch is placed on the back simultaneously with the allergic patch test, 0.5% SLS may be sufficient, too. TEWL measurement so far provides a reliable method and will certainly be necessary for experimental studies on irritant skin reactions, particularly when different SLS concentrations are used. After a 48 hrs patch test with SLS 0.5% TEWL measurement should be performed at 72 hrs. A value of ¾ 31.6 g/m2hr seems to follow the normal distribution