The skin's most important function, its raison d'être, is the formation of an effective barrier between the "inside" and the "outside" worlds of the organism. An intact and well-functioning skin barrier is necessary to prevent desiccation, which permits terrestrial life on dry land. It also determines the function and appearance of the skin, ranging from tough and scaly to soft and smooth. We now know that derangements of the epidermal barrier are central to the development of all dry skin conditions, plus a myriad of diseases, including atopic dermatitis, irritant contact dermatitis, ichthyosis, and psoriasis, as well as of the development of allergies.
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© 2012 Published by Elsevier Inc.