The stratum corneum (SC) is characterized by highly hydrophilic compounds exhibiting osmotic properties. The role of osmosis in iontophoretic transdermal drug delivery has been a subject in numerous studies. However, the effects of osmosis on the water-holding capacity (WHC) of SC and skin hydration need to be clarified. In the present study, the WHC and skin hydration were found to be correlated with osmotic pressure and the SC permeability of osmolytes. The WHC and skin hydration enhancement were related to the increase in SC osmolality. A mathematical model was proposed to predict the WHC and skin hydration from physicochemical parameters of compounds.

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