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J Invest Dermatol. 1986 Aug;87(2):260-3.

Measurement of sebum output using a lipid absorbent tape.


A sebum absorbent tape is introduced as a reproducible and convenient method for estimation of sebaceous gland output. We have tested the reproducibility of this method by serial measurements of sebum excretion rates (SER) of 10 individuals over a 6-week period, and in addition we have correlated this method with the conventional hexane extraction technique. The sebum absorbent tapes gave consistent values for the SERs, and within subjects variation over the 6-week period was statistically nonsignificant. A coefficient of variation for the tapes was calculated as 16.25 +/- 6.78% based on these serial measurements. Furthermore, the amount of total lipid collected using this technique (n = 16) correlated well with the hexane extraction technique, r = 0.89. Free fatty acids (r = 0.87), triglycerides (r = 0.92), wax and cholesterol esters (r = 0.83), and squalene (r = 0.88) also showed a good correlation. Cholesterol occasionally suffered from incomplete separation on thin-layer chromatograms; however, a sample cleanup procedure was developed for tape extracts that removed interfering materials and allowed complete separation of all sebum components.

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