Sampling the skin surface chemistry for diagnosis and prognosis

Guy H.M. Stanley, Katie Wang, Patrick Daly, Christopher Lau, Aoife M. O'Brien, Cheryl Hamill, Mark Fear, Fiona M. Wood

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Skin and wound blotting are non-invasive techniques used to sample the skin and wound surface chemistry, whereby a nitrocellulose membrane is applied to an intact or broken cutaneous surface to detect biomarkers. However, there has been no comprehensive review of the evidence for the techniques used and data obtained to date. The primary aim of this study was to review the utilities of surface blotting for the diagnosis and prognosis of physiological, pre-disease, and pathological states. The secondary aim was to summarise the procedural steps. A systematic literature search was conducted on 9 July 2021 using Medline, Embase, and Google Scholar databases. Investigators used McMaster's Critical Review Form for Quantitative Studies to assess quality, then performed a narrative synthesis reporting according to Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. Twenty-five studies were reviewed. Eighteen studies were of good quality, and seven were of moderate quality. These studies conducted skin and wound blotting on 176 animals and 1546 humans. Studies reported physiological and pathological states for diagnosis and prediction of conditions, including skin tears, wound healing, biofilm detection, and skin barrier function. The four steps for blotting are surface preparation, blot preparation, application and removal of blot, and analysis. This review demonstrates that blotting can determine the skin and wound surface chemistry using a versatile and reproducible technique. However, future research is needed to validate the technique and skin biomarkers identified.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)509-525
Number of pages17
JournalWound Repair and Regeneration
Issue number4
Early online date31 May 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2022


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