Background and objectives: Evidence suggests the importance of skin biophysical properties in predicting diseases and in developing appropriate skin care. The results to date of studies on skin surface pH, stratum corneum (SC) hydration and sebum content in both genders and at various ages have been inconclusive, which was in part due to small sample size. Additionally, little is known about the skin physical properties of Asian, especially Chinese, subjects. In the present study, we assess the difference in skin surface pH, sebum content and SC hydration at various ages and in both genders in a large Chinese population without skin diseases.
Methods: 713 subjects (328 males and 385 females) aged 0.5-94 years were enrolled in this study. The subjects were divided by age into 5 groups, i.e., 0-12, 13-35, 36-50, 51-70 and over 70 years old. A multifunctional skin physiology monitor was used to measure SC hydration, skin surface pH and sebum content on both the forehead and the forearms.
Results: In males, the highest sebum content was found on the forearm and the forehead in the age groups 36-50 (93.47 +/- 10.01 microg/cm(2)) and 51-70 years (9.16 +/- 1.95 microg/cm(2)), while in females, the highest sebum content was found on the forearm and the forehead in the age groups 13-35 (61.91 +/- 6.12 microg/cm(2)) and 51-70 years (7.54 +/- 2.55 microg/cm(2)). The forehead sebum content was higher in males aged 13-70 years than in age-matched females; the sebum content on the forehead in both males and females was higher than that on the forearm. Skin surface pH on the forehead of both males and females over the age of 70 years was higher than that in younger groups. SC hydration on the forehead in both males and females was lower above the age of 70, and the one in males aged 13-35 was higher than that in females (43.99 +/- 1.88 vs. 36.38 +/- 1.67 AU, p < 0.01). SC hydration on the forehead in both males and females did not significantly differ from that on the forearm.
Conclusions: In a large Chinese cohort, the skin surface pH, sebum content and SC hydration vary with age, gender and body site.
Copyright 2009 S. Karger AG, Basel.