Effect of ethnicity, gender and age on the amount and composition of residual skin surface components derived from sebum, sweat and epidermal lipids

Authors

  • Satyajit S. Shetage,

    1. Department of Pharmacy, Centre for Topical Drug Delivery and Toxicology Research, University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield, UK
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  • Matthew J. Traynor,

    1. Department of Pharmacy, Centre for Topical Drug Delivery and Toxicology Research, University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield, UK
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  • Marc B. Brown,

    1. Department of Pharmacy, Centre for Topical Drug Delivery and Toxicology Research, University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield, UK
    2. MedPharm Ltd, Surrey, UK
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  • Mahad Raji,

    1. Department of Pharmacy, Centre for Topical Drug Delivery and Toxicology Research, University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield, UK
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  • Diepiriye Graham-Kalio,

    1. Department of Pharmacy, Centre for Topical Drug Delivery and Toxicology Research, University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield, UK
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  • Robert P. Chilcott

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Pharmacy, Centre for Topical Drug Delivery and Toxicology Research, University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield, UK
    • Address:

      R. P. Chilcott

      Department of Pharmacy

      Centre for Topical Drug Delivery and Toxicology Research

      University of Hertfordshire

      College Lane Campus

      Hatfield AL10 9AB

      UK

      Tel: 01707 358 755

      Fax: 01707 284 506

      e-mail: r.chilcott@herts.ac.uk

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Abstract

Background/purpose

The superficial layer on the skin surface, known as the acid mantle, comprises a mixture of sebum, sweat, corneocyte debris and constituents of natural moisturizing factor. Thus, the phrase ‘residual skin surface components’ (RSSC) is an appropriate term for the mixture of substances recovered from the skin surface. There is no general agreement about the effects of ethnicity, gender and age on RSSC. The aim of this human volunteer study was to evaluate RSSC in relation to ethnicity, gender and age. A suitable acquisition medium for RSSC collection was identified and samples of RSSC were subsequently analysed using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) and gravimetry.

Methods

A total of 315 volunteers participated in the study from a range of self-declared ethnic backgrounds. Six acquisition media were compared to determine the most suitable media for RSSC collection. The effect of age, gender and ethnicity on RSSC collection was evaluated by gravimetric analysis while GC-MS was used to determine the composition of RSSC.

Results

Of the six candidate materials assessed, cigarette paper provided the most practical and reproducible sample acquisition medium. There was no significant difference in the amount of RSSC collected when based on gender and ethnicity and no significant correlation between RSSC recovery and age. Up to 49 compounds were detected from human RSSC when analysed by GC-MS.

Conclusions

The results of the present study suggest that RSSC can be effectively collected using cigarette paper and analysed by GC-MS. Ethnicity, gender and age had no significant impact on the quantity of RSSC recovered from the skin surface.

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