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Int J Dermatol. 1979 Nov;18(9):722-30.

Patterns and intensity of autofluorescence and its relation to melanin in human epidermis and hair.


The skin of 41 patients including 16 blacks, 15 Caucasians, and 10 Hispanics, was observed using a fluorescent microscope. Three patterns of autofluorescence were observed: intercellular, cytoplasmic, and a combination of intercellular and cytoplasmic. The hair of 75 subjects, including 18 Negroes and 55 Caucasians, was observed. Two patterns were found: medullar and at the cortex. Skin form black patients was associated with the cytoplasmic pattern of autofluorescence. Compared to lighter skin, black skin was also significantly associated with increased intensity of autofluorescence, indicating that autofluorescence of the epidermis parallels the clinical degree of pigmentation. In the hair of 75 subjects, similar results were obtained: Negro hair exhibited more fluorescence than Caucasian hair, and darker hair (brown to black) exhibited more fluorescence than lighter hair (blond). This may be related to melanin and it breakdown products.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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