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J Invest Dermatol. 2001 Dec;117(6):1452-7.

Skin melanin, hemoglobin, and light scattering properties can be quantitatively assessed in vivo using diffuse reflectance spectroscopy.

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Wellman Laboratories of Photomedicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard University Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.


Noninvasive and real-time analysis of skin properties is useful in a wide variety of applications. In particular, the quantitative assessment of skin in terms of hemoglobin and melanin content, as well as in terms of its light scattering properties, is a challenging problem in dermatology. We present here a technique for examining human skin, based on the in vivo measurement of diffuse reflectance spectra in the visible and near-infrared ranges of the electromagnetic spectrum. Spectra were measured by means of a fiber optic probe, and they were analyzed using an analytical model of light diffusion in the skin. The results of the analysis indicate that it is possible to obtain quantitative information about hemoglobin and melanin content, as well as basic information regarding the scattering properties of the skin.

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