The dermal route of exposure is important in worker exposure to biocidal products. Many biocidal active substances which are used on a daily basis may decrease the barrier function of the skin to a larger extent than current risk assessment practice addresses, due to possible skin effects of repeated exposure. The influence of repeated and single exposure to representative biocidal active substances on the skin barrier was investigated in vitro. The biocidal active substances selected were alkyldimethylbenzylammonium chloride (ADBAC), boric acid, deltamethrin, dimethyldidecylammonium chloride (DDAC), formaldehyde, permethrin, piperonyl butoxide, sodium bromide, and tebuconazole. Of these nine compounds, only the quaternary ammonium chlorides ADBAC and DDAC had a clear and consistent influence on skin permeability of the marker compounds tritiated water and [14C]propoxur. For these compounds, repeated exposure increased skin permeability more than single exposure. At high concentrations the difference between single and repeated exposure was quantitatively significant: repeated exposure to 300 mg/L ADBAC increased skin permeability two to threefold in comparison to single exposure. Therefore, single and repeated exposure to specific biocidal products may significantly increase skin permeability, especially when used undiluted. © 2005 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.