It has long been recognized that the skin is responsible for preventing excessive loss of water from the body. In severe burns the fluids of the body are readily lost, and serious alterations in the electrolyte balance within the body result. Although the water-withholding function of the skin has long been generally recognized, there has not been, to our knowledge, any detailed study which attempted to determine which layer or layers of the skin are responsible for retarding loss of water through this structure. The following experiments were carried out to determine which layer of the skin is chiefly responsible for retention of water.
The terms diffusion water and sweat are used in these discussions as defined in a previous publication.1 The term diffusion water indicates water that has passed through the skin to the atmosphere by the process of diffusion; it does not include water secreted onto the