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Giornale Italiano di Dermatologia e Venereologia 2005 June;140(3):229-36

Copyright © 2005 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English, Italian

Skin reactivity in relation to the menstrual cycle

Bonamonte D. 1, Foti C. 1, Ieva R. 1, Di Naro E. 2, Loverro G. 2, Angelini G. 1

1 Section of Dermatology Department of Internal Medicine Immunology and Infectious Diseases University of Bari, Bari, Italy 2 Third Unit of Obstetrics and Gynecology University of Bari, Bari, Italy


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Aim. Some literature studies have reported that hormonal fluctuations during the menstrual cycle may have some effect, to a more or less marked degree, both on some skin physiological parameters and on the clinical expression of contact irritation. The aim of the present study is to assess the influence of female sex hormones on contact irritation and on some physiological skin parameters (evaporimetric, corneometric, sebometric values).
Methods. We studied a selected group of 15 women aged between 20 and 45 years (mean age: 28.9) with a regular menstrual cycle and a control group of 15 women aged between 54 and 60 years (mean age: 56.8), who had been in menopause for at least 1 year. In both study groups contact irritation was assessed by patch tests with sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) at scaled aqueous dilutions from 0.1% to 1%, while the other physiological parameters were studied by means of evaporimetry, sebometry and corneometry.
Results. In the first group of women the response to the patch tests with SLS varied during the different phases of the menstrual cycle: in the premenstrual-progestinic period there was more marked reactivity of the skin to irritant stimuli than during the ovulatory period. The evaporimetric, sebometric and corneometric measurements also yielded generally higher values during the menstrual period than during the ovulatory period. Comparison between the 2 groups showed that skin reactivity in menopausal women is comparable to that in fertile women during the menstrual period. This is probably a consequence of the hormonal situation, characterized by low estrogen levels during the menstrual phase and in the menopause. The results obtained with evaporimetry, sebometry and corneometry demonstrated statistically significant differences in the 2 periods of the menstrual cycle, the values being higher during the menstrual phase.
Conclusion. The results of our study seem to demonstrate that the female sex hormones play an important role in cutaneous physiopathological mechanisms.

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