Glabrous skin is hair-free skin with a high density of sweat glands, which is found on the palms, and soles of mammalians, covered with a thick stratum corneum. Dry hands are often an occupational problem which deserves attention from dermatologists. Urea is found in the skin as a component of the natural moisturizing factor and of sweat.
We report the discovery of dendrimer structures of crystalized urea in the stratum corneum of palmar glabrous skin using laser scanning microscopy. The chemical and structural nature of the urea crystallites was investigated in vivo by non-invasive techniques. The relation of crystallization to skin hydration was explored.
We analysed the index finger, small finger and tenar palmar area of 18 study participants using non-invasive optical methods, such as laser scanning microscopy, Raman microspectroscopy and two-photon tomography. Skin hydration was measured using corneometry.