Background: Cutaneous ‘barrier’ recovery is a main objective in wound healing. Despite its potential interest, transepidermal water loss (TEWL) measurement has not yet entered the healing follow-up routine, in part due to instrumental limitations. Objective: To develop an experimental model using TEWL data, to quantify the in vivo ‘barrier’ function. Methods: Thermal burn trauma patients referred for autografting surgery, were submitted to a 24-hour ‘plastic occlusion stress test’ (POST) in the grafted and donor areas during the healing process, and TEWL data were parameterised as the evaporation half-life and the dynamic water mass. Results: Chosen parameters clearly differentiate the 2 processes at the grafted and donor sites, with the latter involving a slower recovery. Conclusion: The interest of TEWL as an indicator of the ‘barrier’ recovery in such a complex condition is well demonstrated, especially if rigorously obtained allowing a quantitative follow-up and results comparison.

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