The acute effects of sun-bathing on the near-infrared absorption spectra of human skin were studied by exposing the shoulders of a mate test subject to bright Finnish high summer mid-day sun. The spectra were measured before, immediately after and for several days after exposure. Four different spectral processing and classification methods were applied to the data set to identify differences caused by exposure to the sun. The spectrophotometer and measuring procedure were found to cause some systematic errors, calling for further development, even though they could, to a large extent, be compensated for computationally. Spectral regions indicating ultraviolet radiation-induced erythema were located and the degree of erythema could be predicted correctly but the signal is weak. This paper discusses promising wavelength selection methods to study the dermal effects of exposure to the sun, as well as difficulties and remedies of near infrared spectroscopic measurements of the skin.
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