Self-reported skin changes by a selected number of astronauts after long-duration mission on iss as part of the skin B project

Nicole Braun, Simone Thomas, Hagen Tronnier, Ulrike Heinrich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: One of the most challenging and important factors of manned space missions is to keep astronauts healthy on orbit. In a study on 46 ISS crew members who were on 6-month (average) missions, skin rashes were the most self-reported event. Furthermore, among notable events, 40% were classified as skin rashes/hypersensitivities. Thus, especially skin conditions during space travel are of major clinical interest and require further research. Aims: The aim of the study was to determine skin conditions in space flight among US and European astronauts, especially taking into account the terrestrial skin conditions as well as on-orbit skin care habits. Methods: A preflight questionnaire was given to the astronauts asking about their terrestrial skin care habits and skin conditions/atopy before launch. In addition, they were asked to fill out a postflight questionnaire asking about their on-orbit skin care routine and whether any special observations regarding the skin were made during flight. Results: A total of 23 skin symptoms were recorded by 8 nonatopic astronauts (mean age: 41 years) during the mission. The symptoms were peeling (21.74%), rash (17.39%), dryness (13.04%), severe dryness (8.70%), reddening (8.70%), itchiness (8.70%), bruising (4.35%), skin sensitivity (4.34%), bumps (4.35%), acne (4.35%) and slow healing of contusions and lacerations (4.35%). Especially the hands and feet were affected by skin problems. As a result of this examination, it was shown that the skin symptoms correlate with poor hygiene on orbit, whereas the factor "environment" on the ISS plays a minor role. Surprisingly, 2 astronauts even experienced positive effects on their skin. Conclusion: Based on these preliminary data, it is important to pay more attention to skin hygiene and maintenance in space.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)52-57
Number of pages6
JournalSkin Pharmacology and Physiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018


  • Astronauts
  • International Space Station
  • Long-duration stay
  • Skin symptoms
  • Survey

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Pharmacology
  • Dermatology


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