alexa Ethnic variation in vellus hair follicle size and distribution.


Journal of Cosmetology & Trichology

Author(s): Mangelsdorf S, Otberg N, Maibach HI, Sinkgraven R, Sterry W,

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Abstract It is a given fact that hair follicles play an important role in the penetration process of topically applied drugs and cosmetics. Since exact knowledge of the potential follicular reservoir is essential for understanding and calculating the penetration process, this knowledge may indeed help to optimize the development of topically applied drugs and cosmetic products. We know that variability in skin properties exists among the human population, but it is the deciphering and quantification of these differences that may help to explain racial disparities in dermatological disorders and provide a basic approach for treatment and prevention. Data pertaining to structural and functional differences within ethnic skin types (reviewed in this paper) support the assumption that hair follicles in the various skin types are not equal. Thus, the need to investigate follicular morphology in non-Caucasian skin types becomes more than apparent. The aim of the present study was to determine the potential reservoir of vellus hair follicles in non-Caucasian skin types in order to estimate their contribution to the penetration of topically applied substances. Cyanoacrylate skin surface biopsies were taken from seven body sites of Asians and African-Americans. To determine the follicular reservoir, the samples were evaluated under the light microscope. Follicular parameters were measured with the help of a digital imaging software program. In the evaluation and comparison of the results with those of Caucasians, significant differences were detected. Compared with Whites, follicular density on the forehead is significantly lower in Asians and African-Americans. Smaller values were detected for volume, surface, follicular orifice and hair shaft diameter on the thigh and in calf regions in Asians and African-Americans. Furthermore, the follicular reservoir, characterized by follicular volume, is generally higher in Caucasians. In comparison to African-Americans, larger follicular volumes on the forehead, back and on the upper arm were determined in Asians. The fairly similar density in these sites revealed that Asians have a higher follicular reservoir in these sites. Due to significant ethnic differences in the follicular reservoir, particularly on the calf and forehead, prospective skin absorption experiments need to be performed on different skin types in order to be representative. Likewise, the development of topically applied drugs should take place under adequate consideration of ethnic differences in skin physiology. 2006 S. Karger AG, Basel This article was published in Skin Pharmacol Physiol and referenced in Journal of Cosmetology & Trichology

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