Fluorescence spectroscopy for endogenous porphyrins in human facial skin

I. Seo, Sheng-Hao Tseng, G. O. Cula, P. R. Bargo, N. Kollias

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


The activity of certain bacteria in skin is known to correlate to the presence of porphyrins. In particular the presence of coproporphyrin produced by P.acnes inside plugged pores has been correlated to acne vulgaris. Another porphyrin encountered in skin is protoporphyrin IX, which is produced by the body in the pathway for production of heme. In the present work, a fluorescence spectroscopy system was developed to measure the characteristic spectrum and quantify the two types of porphyrins commonly present in human facial skin. The system is comprised of a Xe lamp both for fluorescence excitation and broadband light source for diffuse reflectance measurements. A computer-controlled filter wheel enables acquisition of sequential spectra, first excited by blue light at 405 nm then followed by the broadband light source, at the same location. The diffuse reflectance spectrum was used to correct the fluorescence spectrum due to the presence of skin chromophores, such as blood and melanin. The resulting fluorescence spectra were employed for the quantification of porphyrin concentration in a population of healthy subjects. The results show great variability on the concentration of these porphyrins and further studies are being conducted to correlate them with skin conditions such as inflammation and acne vulgaris.

Original languageEnglish
Article number716103
JournalProgress in Biomedical Optics and Imaging - Proceedings of SPIE
Publication statusPublished - 2009 Jun 8
EventPhotonic Therapeutics and Diagnostics V - San Jose, CA, United States
Duration: 2009 Jan 242009 Jan 26

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Applied Mathematics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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