European Journal of Dermatology


Long term culture of normal skin to test the efficacy of a hydroxy acid-containing cream Volume 7, issue 4, June 1997


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Service central d’anatomie et cytologie pathologiques, Hôpital Pitié-Salpêtrière, 47-83, boulevard de l’Hôpital, 75013 Paris, France.

The efficacy of a cosmetic cream containing alpha-hydroxy acids, a beta-hydroxy acid and vitamin A palmitate was studied by means of an ex vivo technique using human skin in order to approximate in vivo metabolic conditions. In this model, human skin was maintained by organ culture for 21 days. Creams to be tested were applied to the surface of the epidermis and compared with non-treated skin. After 21 days, epidermal and dermal changes were studied by histological and immunohistochemical methods. Moreover, in order to examine collagen synthesis, tritiated proline was added to the culture medium and its incorporation in the newly synthesized collagen was evaluated by Webster’s method. Analysis of skin treated with cream containing AHAs after 21 days demonstrated a decrease in stratum corneum thickness and an increase of the Malpighian layer in treated samples as compared to the controls. Treated samples showed a well-differentiated epidermis when exposed to an antibody directed against total cytokeratins. In the dermis, the elastic fiber network was improved in the superficial (oxytalan-elaunine fibers) and the reticular dermis. Moreover, analysis of collagen synthesis by the Webster method demonstrated an increase of 28.5% in the treated skin.