Although keratin hydrolysates (KH) are added to skin care agents, detailed studies on the moisturising effects of KH are lacking. The aim of this study is to test whether adding KH into an ointment base (OB) heighten hydration of the skin and diminish transepidermal loss of water (TEWL). Formulations containing 2%, 4%, and 6% of KH (based on OB weight) were prepared. Hydration, TEWL and skin pH were measured; intervals of measurements were as follows: 1, 2, 3, 4, 24 and 48 h. Testing was carried out on 10 men. In terms of hydration, supplementing the OB with 2% KH is optimal, as an 11–19% increase occurs in hydration of stratum corneum (SC). All the formulations with added KH as tested caused TEWL to decline after application. Keratin hydrolysate makes for an excellent occlusive; adding it to OB results in a 30–50% reduction in TEWL after application. KH functions as a humectant as well, as it helps to bind water from the lower layers of the epidermis to the SC. Formulations with additions of 2–6% of KH were stable in structure and did not cause phase separation even after 6 months storage.
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