Enhanced comedo formation in rabbit ear skin by squalene and oleic acid peroxides

Br J Dermatol. 1983 Aug;109(2):191-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2133.1983.tb07080.x.


The comedogenicity of UVA-irradiated and non-irradiated substances (squalene, oleic acid, tetradecane, isopropyl myristate, squalane and liquid paraffin) was evaluated by surface microscopy and histological examination after treating the ventral skin of rabbit ears with these substances. The lipid peroxide levels of these substances were also measured. Squalene itself was scarcely comedogenic but squalene peroxides were highly comedogenic. Both oleic acid and its peroxides were able to induce fairly large comedones and there was a good correlation between the lipid peroxide levels and the size of the comedones. The specimens biopsied from these comedones showed marked hyperplasia and hyperkeratosis of the epithelium in the follicular infundibulum and marked proliferation of the sebaceous glands. Although free fatty acids might play a role in the pathogenesis of acne, it is proposed that squalene and free fatty acids in sebum may be less comedogenic than their peroxides.

MeSH terms

  • Acne Vulgaris / chemically induced*
  • Acne Vulgaris / pathology
  • Animals
  • Ear, External / pathology
  • Epithelium / pathology
  • Lipid Peroxides / toxicity*
  • Male
  • Oleic Acid
  • Oleic Acids / radiation effects
  • Oleic Acids / toxicity*
  • Rabbits
  • Sebaceous Glands / pathology
  • Skin / pathology
  • Squalene / radiation effects
  • Squalene / toxicity*
  • Ultraviolet Rays


  • Lipid Peroxides
  • Oleic Acids
  • Oleic Acid
  • Squalene