Detection of autofluorescence at the skin surface is highly influenced by melanin and hemoglobin. Epidermal absorption and scattering may also be an influencing factor and is represented in this article as a quantitative parameter, epidermal thickness. To examine this parameter we measured the 370 nm fluorescence in vivo after excitation with 330 nm and the 455 nm fluorescence after excitation with 330 and 370 nm. Measurements were performed on sun-exposed skin at the dorsal aspect of the forearm and shoulder and on nonexposed buttock skin. Skin pigmentation and redness of the same body sites were measured by reflectance spectroscopy. The thickness of the stratum corneum and the cellular part of epidermis was quantified by light microscopy of skin biopsies. Multiple regression analysis was used to find correlations between autofluorescence and the potential influencing factors. We found a highly significant correlation of skin autofluorescence with pigmentation and redness for both emission wavelengths (Em). A small but significant correlation to epidermal thickness was found only for excitation wavelength (Ex) 370 nm and Em455 nm if body site was included in the analysis. No correlation between Ex330:Em370 and Ex330:Em455 and thickness of epidermis was found. For practical use, correction of skin autofluorescence for pigmentation is essential, correction for redness is of less importance and correction for epidermal thickness is unnecessary.
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Vol. 77 • No. 6