Controlled removal of human stratum corneum by pulsed laser

Steven L. Jacques, Daniel J. McAuliffe, Irvin H. Blank, John A. Parrish

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

110 Scopus citations


A new method is presented for controlled removal of the stratum corneum of human skin. An excimer laser (193 nm wavelength, 14 ns pulsewidth) was used to remove stratum corneum from in vitro human skin samples by an ablative process. The tritiated water (3H2O) permeability constant and electrical resistance of skin samples were measured in a diffusion chamber apparatus to quantify the enhancement of skin permeability. Each laser pulse ablates about a micrometer of stratum corneum, which allows controlled removal of tissue. The maximum specific enhancement of the 3H2O permeability constant obtained after complete stratum corneum removal depends on the laser pulse energy used. The most gentle laser ablation, achieved with a radiant exposure of 70 mJ/cm2 per pulse, produced a 124-fold enhancement, which is comparable to that achieved after stratum corneum removal by tape-stripping or removal of epidermis by mild heat treatment. Rapid tissue ablation occurred at higher radiant exposures of 170-480 mJ/cm2 per pulse, but only a 45-fold enhancement of permeability was achieved. The precision with which stratum corneum can be ablated using excimer laser pulses may allow further basic research on the internal structure of stratum corneum and on the reepithelization in controlled wounds. The technique may prove useful clinically to enhance percutaneous transport in applications such as topical delivery of drugs, patch testing, and percutaneous blood gas monitoring.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)88-93
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Investigative Dermatology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1987
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Dermatology
  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Controlled removal of human stratum corneum by pulsed laser'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this