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Journal of Biomedical Optics

Noninvasive selective detection of lycopene and β-carotene in human skin using Raman spectroscopy
Author(s): Igor V. Ermakov; Maia R. Ermakova; Werner Gellermann; Jürgen Lademann
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Paper Abstract

The predominant long-chain carotenoids found in human skin are lycopene and β-carotene. They are powerful antioxidants and thought to act as scavengers for free radicals and singlet oxygen formed by normal metabolism as well as excessive exposure of skin to sunlight. The specific importance of the particular representatives of the carotenoid antioxidants regarding skin defense mechanisms is of strong current interest. We demonstrate fast and noninvasive detection of β-carotene and lycopene concentrations in living human skin using Raman detection of the molecules' carbon–carbon double bond stretch vibrations. Employing excitation with suitable blue and green laser lines, and taking advantage of differing Raman cross sectional profiles for β-carotene and lycopene, we determine the relative concentration of each carotenoid species. This novel technique permits the quantitative assessment of individual long-chain carotenoid species rather than their composite level in human skin. The obtained results reveal significant differences in the carotenoid composition of the subjects' skin and show that the ratio between β-carotene and lycopene concentration can vary from 0.5 to 1.6. The technique holds promise as a method for rapid screening of carotenoid compositions in human skin in large populations and should be suitable for clinical studies correlating carotenoid status with risk for cutaneous diseases.

Paper Details

Date Published: 1 March 2004
PDF: 7 pages
J. Biomed. Opt. 9(2) doi: 10.1117/1.1646172
Published in: Journal of Biomedical Optics Volume 9, Issue 2
Show Author Affiliations
Igor V. Ermakov, Univ. of Utah (United States)
Maia R. Ermakova, Univ. of Utah (United States)
Werner Gellermann, Univ. of Utah (United States)
Jürgen Lademann, Charite Univ. Hospital (Germany)

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