Comparison of sebum secretion, skin type, pH in humans with and without acne

Arch Dermatol Res. 2006 Aug;298(3):113-9. doi: 10.1007/s00403-006-0666-0. Epub 2006 Jun 20.


Differences of skin type and pH between subjects with and without acne have not been investigated. In addition, the relationship between sebum secretion and pH in these populations has not been determined. This study assessed the differences in objective and subjective skin types between these two groups. Secondly, this study evaluated the difference in pH on five facial areas (forehead, nose, chin, right and left cheeks) between the two populations. Lastly, the relationship between pH and sebum secretion was analyzed in each population. Sebum casual levels (CL) of the five facial areas in 36 Koreans with acne and 47 Koreans without acne were measured by using a Sebumeter SM 815 and subjects were classified into objective skin types by CL. Subjects reported the type of skin they believed they had, which determined the subjective skin type. The pH levels of the five facial areas were measured by the Skin-pH-Meter PH 905. Data were assessed with adequate statistical tests depending on data type and distribution. Among the five areas, the nose of the subjects with acne showed a significantly higher CL, compared to the subjects without acne. This difference in CL on the nose resulted in the difference in CL on the T-zone and mean facial sebum excretions (MFSE). Although CL differed, objective skin types did not differ between the two groups (P > 0.05), but the subjective skin types differed significantly (P = 0.001). In addition, the objective skin types were significantly different than the subjective skin types in subjects with acne (P = 0.001), whereas the two skin types did not differ in subjects without acne. Subjects with acne actually overestimated their skin types and stated their skin types were "oilier" than they were. In respect to pH, none of the five areas differed significantly between the two groups. Among the five sites in subjects with acne, CL showed a significant negative correlation with pH on the left (r (2 )=0.12) and right (r ( 2 )=0.15) cheeks, which resulted in a significant negative correlation on the U-zone (r ( 2 )=0.14). In contrast, in subjects without acne, there was a significant negative correlation between CL and pH on the forehead (r ( 2 )=0.10) and chin (r ( 2 )=0.16), which led to a significant negative correlation on the T-zone (r ( 2 )=0.14).

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Acne Vulgaris / metabolism
  • Acne Vulgaris / physiopathology*
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Male
  • Oils / metabolism*
  • Sebum / metabolism*
  • Skin / metabolism*


  • Oils