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Free Radic Res. 2015;49(7):827-34. doi: 10.3109/10715762.2014.976213. Epub 2014 Nov 11.

Lipid oxidation in the skin.

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Health Research Institute, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science & Technology , Ikeda, Osaka , Japan.


Skin is the largest organ of the body and exerts several physiological functions such as a protective barrier against moisture loss and noxious agents including ultraviolet irradiation. Oxidation of skin may impair such functions and induce skin disorders including photoaging and skin cancer. Skin surface lipids, a mixture of sebaceous and epidermal lipids, have unique species and fatty acid profile. The major unsaturated lipids are squalene, sebaleic aicd, linoleic acid, and cholesterol. Singlet oxygen and ozone as well as free radicals and enzymes are important oxidants for skin lipids. Squalene is the major target for singlet oxygen, giving rise to twelve regio-isomeric squalene hydroperoxides. Ultraviolet radiation activates lipoxygenase and cyclooxygenase, inducing specific enzymatic oxidation of lipids. Free radical mediated lipid peroxidation gives multiple oxidation products. Lipid oxidation products produced by these mechanisms are observed in human skin and induce various skin diseases, but in contrast to plasma and other tissues, identification and quantitative measurement of lipid oxidation products in skin are scarce and should be the subjects of future studies.


cholesterol; free radical; lipid oxidation; singlet oxygen; skin; squalene

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