Many different drugs including systemic drugs like Roaccutane® (isotretinoin), topical drugs such as Differin® (adapalene), and creams and cosmetic products containing Vitamin A, Alpha Hydroxide Acids (AHA) etc. have been developed to regulate the rate of desquamation of the stratum corneum.
As the desquamation rate of the epidermis is the measure of efficacy for such drugs and products, this parameter has always been of interest for the purpose of documentation.
Fluorescence as a measure for desquamation rate has previously been applied by use of the fluorescent dye dansyl chloride. However this method has been abandoned due to suspicion of a harmful cardiogenic potential of the dye.
Dihydroxyacetone (DHA) has found to be a promising chemical and a valid substitution for dansyl chloride as a fluorescence-generating compounds. As DHA is an ingredient in many commercial skin tanning compositions with temporary effect, its use can be considered very safe.
By applying DHA to the skin and performing daily fluorescence measurements with FluoDerm, the stratum corneum turnover rate may be determined in vivo by objective and quantified assessment.