Background: Many elderly people have chronic xerosis, and frequently experience an exacerbation during winter. Objectives: To investigate the barrier state of aged murine skin with or without barrier disruption in a dry environment. Methods: Aged and young hairless mice were kept separately in dry and normal conditions for 9 days. Acetone treatment was used to perturb the skin barrier. Skin barrier function was measured as transepidermal water loss (TEWL), and morphological changes in the epidermis were studied by electron microscopy. Results: The baseline TEWL was not higher in the dry environment. The number of stratum corneum (SC) layers and the epidermal thickness of aged mice increased in the dry environment. The recovery rate of the aged skin barrier was neither accelerated nor delayed in the dry environment. In the normal environment, aged mice recovered more slowly than young mice. After barrier perturbation in the aged mice, changes in SC layers and in epidermal thickness were similar in the two environments. The secretion and number of lamellar bodies did not differ between the two environments. Conclusions: We confirmed that a dry environment induces epidermal proliferation and scaling in both aged and young mice. However, no remarkable difference was found in the skin barrier recovery of aged hairless mice in a dry environment.
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