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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Noninvasive selective detection of lycopene and beta-carotene in human skin using Raman spectroscopy.

The predominant long-chain carotenoids found in human skin are lycopene and beta-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 beta-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 beta-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 beta-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.[1]


  1. Noninvasive selective detection of lycopene and beta-carotene in human skin using Raman spectroscopy. Ermakov, I.V., Ermakova, M.R., Gellermann, W., Lademann, J. Journal of biomedical optics. (2004) [Pubmed]
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