The influence of tap-water (TW) and salt solutions on the minimal erythema dose (MED) was investigated for normal human skin and uninvolved skin of psoriasis patients. MED (UVB) determinations on the forearm revealed that: (1) the MED definitely decreases whenever the arm is immersed in TW or NaCl solutions with a low concentration (4%) prior to UVB exposure, whereas almost saturated NaCl solution (26%), as well as locum Dead Sea water (LDSW), do not produce a change in the MED, and (2) the decrease in MED obtained by wetting the skin with TW was no longer present when the skin was allowed to dry for 20 min.
A decrease in water uptake by skin (in vivo) and by callus (in vitro) was found as the salt concentration of the external solution increased. It is proposed that water taken up by the skin plays an important role in the sensitivity of the skin to UVB exposure.
Bathing in TW or 4% NaCl prior to UVB exposure offered a slight to moderate improvement in psoriasis over UVB irradiation alone. Finally, it was shown that there is no obvious difference in clearance of the psoriatic skin between a bath in TW, 4% NaCl, or LDSW prior to UVB exposure.