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Biomedical Engineering

In vivo and in vitro investigations of skin hydration and barrier function using Near Infrared Spectroscopy (NIRS)

Principal Investigator:  Prof P A Kyriacou

Researcher:  Dr M Qassem

Funding:  City University London

Project Description

Electrical probe-based instruments are considered the standard for skin hydration measurements. Nevertheless, the output of such devices is given on an arbitrary scale and so they can never serve as more than indicators, and the principle of their operation lacks a direct relationship with water content and thus, the readings can often be influenced by many factors. As an alternative, this project aims to develop a reliable method for comprehensive skin analysis using Near-Infrared Spectroscopy (NIRS), as well as to design an optical device that is specific for skin hydration measurements. NIRS has been chosen because predominant and specific water absorption bands exist in the NIR region, which relate directly to skin water content, and the technique is capable of providing additional information regarding skin health. So far, it has been possible to assess accurate changes in skin water level as well as other skin parameters that relate to skin hydration on both healthy and pathological skin, and developmental work continues on building an optical system for skin measurements.