Sebum Output as a Factor Contributing to the Size of Facial Pores

M. Roh; M. Han; D. Kim; K. Chung


The British Journal of Dermatology. 2006;155(5):890-894. 

In This Article

Materials and Methods


A total of 60 healthy volunteers, 30 males and 30 females, were recruited for this study in the Department of Dermatology, Severance Hospital in Seoul. The selection of volunteers was randomized, all the volunteers consented to participation in the study and they were provided with a copy of the consent form. The volunteers did not have any dermatological disease and were not taking any medications during the study. The mean age of male participants was 29 years old, ranging from 23 to 41 years. The mean age of female participants was 32 years old, ranging from 23 to 43 years. The study was initiated during the winter and spring seasons when the outdoor and indoor temperatures were lower than 23 °C. Participants were asked about the prior severity of acne (evaluated on a 0 to 4 scale: 0—no history of previous acne; 1—noninflammatory acne lesions; 2—inflammatory papulopustular acne lesions; 3—inflammatory nodulocystic acne lesions; 4—severe acne lesions with scar and sinus tract formation) and the female participants were asked about the phase of menstruation at the time of measurement.

Assessment of Sebum Outpul Level

Biometric assessments were made each time early in the afternoon. To fulfil the European Group for Efficacy Measurements on Cosmetics and Other Topical Products (EEMCO) recommendations,[2] the subjects sat in a room with temperature set at 21 ± 1 °C and relative humidity controlled at 48 ± 2%. The participants were told to wash their faces with plain water around 7 o' clock in the morning. Afterwards, they were not allowed to wash their faces nor apply cosmetics or any other topical products until the measurement. They were asked not to drink hot beverages and to refrain from touching the area under investigation. The sebum level was measured using a Sebumeter® (SM 815; Courage-Khazaka, Köln, Germany).[11,12] This device works on the principle of photometry of a special plastic strip that becomes transparent with fat absorption. Lipids are collected from the skin on the plastic strip with a constant pressure of 6 N for 30 s. The Sebumeter® measures the variation of light transmission through the strip. This variation is proportional to the quantity of lipids absorbed and the value of the level is calculated by the Sebumeter®. We measured three spots on each cheek where the central spot was 2 cm below the pupil and the two others 1 cm medial and lateral to the first. The values recorded were the means of three measurements.

Assessment of Pore Size

Pore sizes were measured with a dermoscopic video camera (Coscam CCL-205; Sometech Cosmetic, Eui Wang City, Korea), which magnifies the skin surface 100 times. Using the magnified images, the areas of randomly selected enlarged pores from each side of the cheeks were measured using an image analysis program (Simple PCIp®; Compix Inc., C-Imaging Systems, Sewickley, PA, U.S.A.) (Fig. 1).

Figure 1.

Measurement of randomly selected enlarged pores using an image analysis program (Simple PCIp®; Compix Inc., C-Imaging Systems, Sewickley, PA, U.S.A.).

Statistical Analysis

Statistical analysis using t-tests, multiple linear regression analysis and ANOVA were completed using Statistical Product and Service Solutions software (SPSS Inc., Chicago, IL, U.S.A.) for Windows (version 12). A P-value < 0·05 was considered significant.


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