Further observations on the pathogenesis of acne

Br Med J. 1972 Aug 19;3(5824):444-6. doi: 10.1136/bmj.3.5824.444.


The composition of the lipid of the forehead skin surface and the sebum excretion rate were determined in 217 subjects and controls. Acne was associated with an increase in serum excretion rate and in the squalene and wax and sterol esters in surface lipid. The changes in sebum excretion rate and squalene were statistically significant only in women, but acne in men was associated with a significant decrease in the free fatty acid content or surface lipid.The increased amounts of squalene and wax esters may lead to pilosebaceous obstruction in acne subjects. The increased sebum excretion rate in acne may ensure increased production of sebaceous triglyceride substrate available for lipolysis to irritant free fatty acids, which may then mediate the inflammatory changes of acne.

MeSH terms

  • Acne Vulgaris / etiology*
  • Acne Vulgaris / metabolism
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Cholesterol / metabolism
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified / metabolism
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lipid Metabolism
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Sebum / metabolism
  • Secretory Rate
  • Sex Factors
  • Skin / metabolism
  • Squalene / metabolism
  • Sterols / metabolism
  • Triglycerides / metabolism
  • Waxes / metabolism


  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified
  • Sterols
  • Triglycerides
  • Waxes
  • Squalene
  • Cholesterol