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J Biomed Opt. 2011 Mar;16(3):035002. doi: 10.1117/1.3555183.

Kinetics of carotenoid distribution in human skin in vivo after exogenous stress: disinfectant and wIRA-induced carotenoid depletion recovers from outside to inside.

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  • 1Charité-Universitätsmedizin, Center of Experimental Applied Cutaneous Physiology, Department of Dermatology and Allergology, Berlin, Germany.


The human organism has developed a protection system against the destructive effect of free radicals. The aim of the present study was to investigate the extent of exogenous stress factors such as disinfectant and IR-A radiation on the skin, and their influence on the kinetics of carotenoids distribution during the recovery process. Ten healthy volunteers were assessed with resonance spectroscopy using an Argon-laser at 488 nm to excite the carotenoids in vivo. Additionally, Raman-confocal-micro-spectroscopy measurements were performed using a model 3510 Skin Composition Analyzer with spatially resolved measurements down to 30 μm. The measurements were performed at a baseline of 20, 40, 60, and 120 min after an external stressor consisting either of water-filtered infrared A (wIRA) with 150 mW∕cm(2) or 1 ml∕cm(2) of an alcoholic disinfectant. Both Raman methods were capable to detect the infrared-induced depletion of carotenoids. Only Raman-microspectroscopy could reveal the carotenoids decrease after topical disinfectant application. The carotenoid-depletion started at the surface. After 60 min, recovery starts at the surface while deeper parts were still depleted. The disinfectant- and wIRA-induced carotenoid depletion in the epidermis recovers from outside to inside and probably delivered by sweat and sebaceous glands. We could show that the Raman microscopic spectroscopy is suited to analyze the carotenoid kinetic of stress effects and recovery.

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