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bryan

Does sebum help "moisturize" the skin??

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Does this mean that all the commercial moisturizers are ineffective at hydrating the skin? Because sebum contains almost the same ingredients, except the preservatives;

I think it's probably a matter of quantity: there's not enough sebum around to make that much of a difference, although it might theoretically have a slight moisturizing effect. It's a different matter when you take a commercial moisturizer and smear several drops of it all over your face.

.

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Sebum may not have moisturizing properties itself, but in amounts that aren't excessive it does help to seal in moisture on skin and hair.

WebMD-Oily Skin Article

Also, my dad, my aunt, and my grandpa all suffer from oily skin and do not have very many wrinkles at all. In fact, my aunt and dad are totally wrinkle free and my grandpa, who is 80, only has a handful of wrinkles.


my regimen.

Morning:

Drink at least a glass of water.

Wash face with Olay Sensitive Skin Foaming Wash or water.

Apply Cetaphil Lotion.

Night:

Take Ortho Tri-Cyclin

Remove makeup with wipes.

Wash face with Olay.

Status: 90% clear of active acne. I just stopped giving a crap and got on a good birth control. Your skin can work itself out 80% of the time and nothing you put ON it is going to help forever. Your skin doesn't work like that. Topical stuff just delays skin's problems or makes them stop temporarily. You have to stop trying so damn hard to control your skin and, if that doesn't work, you probably need Accutane or something else to correct the INTERNAL cause of your external problem.


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well id rather have wrinkles when im old rather than excessive oiliness in my young years.


How To Wash Your Face The Right Way

Product Ingredients To Avoid

Why Moisturizer Is Important

products I currently use:

L'Bri Pure N Natural Deep Pore Cleanser & Oil-Free Moisturizer

Forever Living Products "Aloe Vera Gelly" Moisturizer


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Well, I'd rather look good my entire life.

I want to go to my 30 year high school reunion and laugh at all the bitches that look like leather handbags while my face is still practically wrinkle free thanks to my oily skin genes.

Oily skin is not a social death sentence. It just means you have to blot a few times a day. Big effing deal.

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my regimen.

Morning:

Drink at least a glass of water.

Wash face with Olay Sensitive Skin Foaming Wash or water.

Apply Cetaphil Lotion.

Night:

Take Ortho Tri-Cyclin

Remove makeup with wipes.

Wash face with Olay.

Status: 90% clear of active acne. I just stopped giving a crap and got on a good birth control. Your skin can work itself out 80% of the time and nothing you put ON it is going to help forever. Your skin doesn't work like that. Topical stuff just delays skin's problems or makes them stop temporarily. You have to stop trying so damn hard to control your skin and, if that doesn't work, you probably need Accutane or something else to correct the INTERNAL cause of your external problem.


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I saw a post that caught my attention, asking if jojoba oil or emu oil are redundant if sebum does not moisturize the skin.

I don't think they are redundant, since there is a theory that they "trick" the skin into thinking it is producing more sebum than it actually is, but they are not as prone to create blocked pores as actual sebum is.

So please correct me if I'm wrong, but the jojoba/emu oil could assist in clearing up skin because they help discourage sebum production?


Click Here for my Topical Retinoid blog.

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I saw a post that caught my attention, asking if jojoba oil or emu oil are redundant if sebum does not moisturize the skin.

I think jojoba and emu oils are MUCH more likely to "moisturize" the skin than sebum, for the simple reason that they are applied in FAR higher quantities than sebum.

I don't think they are redundant, since there is a theory that they "trick" the skin into thinking it is producing more sebum than it actually is, but they are not as prone to create blocked pores as actual sebum is.

So please correct me if I'm wrong, but the jojoba/emu oil could assist in clearing up skin because they help discourage sebum production?

<groan>

The skin doesn't know and doesn't care about the presence or absence of sebum. The sebaceous glands just keep doing their thing, producing oil at a relatively steady clip, regardless of the presence or absence of oil on the surface (although the glands are indeed influenced by certain hormones and drugs). Therefore, you can't "trick" the sebaceous glands into producing less sebum by such a simplistic method, unless the oil that you apply has some kind of drug or hormone in it which can seep down into the sebaceous glands and alter their metabolism directly.

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I saw a post that caught my attention, asking if jojoba oil or emu oil are redundant if sebum does not moisturize the skin.

I think jojoba and emu oils are MUCH more likely to "moisturize" the skin than sebum, for the simple reason that they are applied in FAR higher quantities than sebum.

I don't think they are redundant, since there is a theory that they "trick" the skin into thinking it is producing more sebum than it actually is, but they are not as prone to create blocked pores as actual sebum is.

So please correct me if I'm wrong, but the jojoba/emu oil could assist in clearing up skin because they help discourage sebum production?

<groan>

The skin doesn't know and doesn't care about the presence or absence of sebum. The sebaceous glands just keep doing their thing, producing oil at a relatively steady clip, regardless of the presence or absence of oil on the surface (although the glands are indeed influenced by certain hormones and drugs). Therefore, you can't "trick" the sebaceous glands into producing less sebum by such a simplistic method, unless the oil that you apply has some kind of drug or hormone in it which can seep down into the sebaceous glands and alter their metabolism directly.

Ah, it's kind of hard to wrap my brain around the idea that the sebum glands aren't influenced by things you put on your skin. It just seems like the entire body is always striving for equilibrium, constantly reacting to its environment.

I guess I just don't understand why they would keep producing oil regardless. It seems like they wouldn't be there at all if they did not serve any purpose, and also weren't affected by our environment.


Click Here for my Topical Retinoid blog.

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Ah, it's kind of hard to wrap my brain around the idea that the sebum glands aren't influenced by things you put on your skin.

Huh?? The sebum glands _are_ influenced by certain things you can put on your skin, just not certain OTHER things that posters on this forum are accustomed to talking about! :)

Washing the skin doesn't influence them, but a small amount of GLA (gamma-linolenic acid, a fatty acid) applied to human skin has been shown to reduce sebum production, presumably because of its ability to inhibit 5a-reductase and even interfere with androgen receptors; similarly, topical 17a-propylmesterolone and other antiandrogens have also been shown to reduce sebum production to some extent. So it's possible to find topical agents which can do the job, you just have to know which ones to try.

I guess I just don't understand why they would keep producing oil regardless. It seems like they wouldn't be there at all if they did not serve any purpose, and also weren't affected by our environment.

It's still relatively early in our evolutionary history. I suspect they're on their way out.

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Thank you for this information, I'm glad to keep learning what I can about my skin.


Click Here for my Topical Retinoid blog.

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Hey, why do you think it is said that people whose skin produce more sebum age slower? Don't you think sebum has antiwrinkle properties?

Hmmm.... No, not to my knowledge.

Think about the lips, palms, soles witch are known not to produce any sebum, and how wrinkled they are in compare to the rest of the body.

I don't think they're "wrinkled". There are certainly LINES in them, some of them quite pronounced, but those aren't wrinkles. Look at the underside of each of your 10 fingers, where the fingerprints are. Do you see any "wrinkles" there, or just fingerprints?

If excess sebum doesn't moisturize the skin so are all the oils? Sebum is oil right?

I think the bottom-line to all this is that theoretically sebum might have a tendency to "moisturize" the skin slightly, but it's such a minor effect that it's of no practical significance.

.

If you say theoretically that sebum moisturizes the skin slightly, should i be upset that accutane has completely shrunk my sebaceous glands and i no longer have any surface sebum on my skin? Won't i start to age quicker, and wrinkles will become more obvious without sebum?

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Oil (in this case, in the form of sebum) and moisturization are two different concepts. Moisturization is introducing hydration (e.g. water) into the skin. However, as we all know, water evaporates quite quickly from the skin's surface and the environment will cause the water within the skin to dry out, too. Oil or lipids act as lubrication or protection for the skin by trapping the water molecules within the skin and keeping it from evaporating as quickly.

Example: skin care experts advise putting a thin layer of body oil over your skin after towel drying yourself following a shower. The purpose is to trap the hydration from the water molecules in the skin.

Bottom line: "Moisturizers" provide a balance between infusing the skin with hydration and applying a thin layer of protection to keep that hydration along with other so-called "beneficial ingredients" within the skin. So, yes, people with oily skin will still see wrinkles over time because of the skin's loss of hydration.

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Below is a rather extended excerpt from the same article I referenced in the first post in this thread: "The Uses of Sebum", by Albert M Kligman MD, Phd. The whole article is quite long and involved, so I only had time to copy some of his comments about the (alleged) effects of sebum as a "moisurizing" agent. What I found particularly fascinating is his description of the experiment near the end, showing that it takes FAR more sebum than is normally present on the skin of a human (10-20 times as much) before the amount of water loss even BEGINS to be diminished just a bit! :)

The lipid film.--The surface lipids form a film whose thickness has been estimated to be 3-10 um (Miescher and Schonberg, 1944). We must know the physical structure of this film, if it is to reveal its numerous protective roles.

For emphasis let us calculate the thickness of the film on the forehead of a very oily subject whose casual sebum level is 0.4 mg. per sq. cm. The casual level is the fairly constant and maximum amount of oil which the surface supports unless some artificial trap is provided to check the run-off. Assuming a specific gravity of 0.9, the film would be only about 0.45 um (micron) thick. Since the forehead is one of the oiliest regions, let us consider the extremities, the abdomen or most other skin territories with a low density of sebaceous glands. An average casual level for these regions is perhaps 0.05 mg. per sq. cm and a corresponding thickness of about 50 m-um (milli-microns). This puts us squarely in the realm of submicroscopic ultrafilms. Too little attention has been paid to the really trivial quantities of sebum which cover most of the body surface. The large number of important roles assigned to sebum are disproportionate to the miniscule amounts that are actually present.

If one liberally inuncts sebum on to a sheet of isolated stratum corneum (see below) wiping off the excess with the finger but still leaving the surface visibly greasy, the amount deposited is of the order of 0.03 to 0.05 mg. per sq. cm. If the sebum is warmed and literally poured over the surface, shaking off the excess, the amount rises to about 0.5 mg. per sq. cm., corresponding to a film with thickness just about visible in the light microscope. The skin surface does not hold much fat.

Actually, the above calculations of film thickness are inappropriate and misleading. The skin is not a plane surface. It is transected by furrows which carve out intricate patterns in different regions, giving rise to the characteristic skin markings or dermatoglyphics. When one closely observes a freshly defatted area, the sebum droplets that arise in the orifices soon run off into the furrows amd are carried away. Butcher and Parnell (1948) were the first to emphasize that sebum streamed preferentially into the furrows. The speed with which sebum is lost from an unprotected area is responsible for another esteemed myth, the so-called "feed-back" mechanism for controlling sebaceous secretion. As soon as a certain fat level was reached on the surface, the economy-minded glands were supposed to shut down. No such thing happens. Shelley and I have dealt with this appealing fallacy elsewhere (Kligman and Shelley, 1958). The gland secretes continuously.

When one exposes various areas of the skin to osmic acid fumes and examines the disposition of the lipids directly under the skin microscope, with a magnification of 40-80 diameters, it becomes clear that there is often no simple uniform film. In oily areas much of the visible fat is in the form of droplets and rivulets of varying sizes and shapes, principally in the valleys. In low sebum regions, that is, over most of the body, surprisingly little is seen. The lipid is smeared out into submicroscopic films which are too thin to be visualized even with the aid of osmic acid.

In summary, the general surface is smeared with an ultrafilm; in oily regions enough fat may accumulate to form droplets and globules, whose size and shape are continuously changing. The ultrafilm extends into crevices of the outermost cell layers of the stratum corneum. Our previous concept that the whole stratum corneum is porous and acts as a sebum reservoir, like a sponge, is mistaken.

Comparative physiology.--Biologists long ago learned to take advantage of the diversity of species to understand the function of a given structure. The method of comparitive physiology is applicable to the present discussion for there is a curious animal, the prepubertal child, whose sebaceous glands are decidedly undeveloped. This animal has been celebrated by poets and mothers for its smooth, soft, non-greasy skin. Yet, the tiny supply of sebum does not embarrass or compromise the skin of this animal in any way.

The prepubertal subject does have some surface fat. This is derived largely from the epidermis itself, by the steady exfoliation of keratinized cells, giving rise to the so-called horn fat. This source is evidently sufficient for whatever use grease might have on the surface of the skin of man.

No dermatologic condition is known in which only the sebaceous glands are missing or are abnormal. The dryness and scaling associated with genetic ectodermal defects or heavy metal poisoning, for example, cannot be ascribed simply to a lack of sebum. Other profound changes are present, notably abnormalities of sweating and a malfunctioning epidermis. The same is true of aged skin. There is no justification for using such examples to demonstrate the value of sebum. In sum, the prepubertal example is enough to illustrate that skin can be healthy and have charming cosmetic qualities in the virtual absence of sebum.

Surface lipids as adjuncts to the barrier function of skin.--The prime function of skin is protection. One aspect of this is the relatively high impermeablity of skin to water and other substances. This important barrier function resides mainly in the stratum corneum. It should be noted that the horny later is a two-way barrier, preventing equally the ingress and egress of materials. It is a true seal.

In the past the idea was prevalent that the removal of surface lipids facilitated the penetration of water-soluble substances; sebum was supposed to help to keep things out. For example, the treatment of skin with organic solvents such as benzene and alcohol was said to weaken the skin's impermeability to water soluble materials (Calvery, Draize, and Lang, 1946). Yet no quantitative proof was offered. Rothman (1954) thinks the idea has been overdone. Blank and Gould (1961) have removed the surface lipids by pretreating isolated skin for several hours with acetone, ethyl alcohol and ether mixtures. Yet this did not render the skin permeable to sodium dodecyl sulphate. However, when pieces of skin were immersed in such solvents for three days, grossly degrading the tissue, penetration occurred. This seems to be the very point. When used excessively, lipid solvents will increase permeability by disrupting the barrier. Not lipid removal, but injury is the means by which solvents can enhance penetration.

Brun (1952) found that defatting with ether-alcohol intensifies the anhidrosis produced by aluminum chloride. He believes that the sebaceous layer protects the skin against the action of aluminum salts. I repeated this study several times by weighing the quantities of thermogenic sweat retained in cotton pads and was not able to verify this result.

There is a belief that the surface lipids might impede the loss of water to the environment, thus preventing drying out of the horny layer. However, Winsor and Burch (1956) and later Blank (1952) showed that defatting of excised skin had no effect on the rate of water loss. In view of the small quantity of surface lipids, one would hardly expect any other result. Liberal amounts of hydrophobic greases, such as petrolatum, do indeed retard the transpiration of water. Actually the stratum corneum is a remarkably effective water-tight seal comparing favourably with many plastic films of similar thickness (Rosenberg, et al., 1962). The rate of water transpiration of skin both in vitro and in vivo, is of the order of 0.2 - 0.5 mg./cm.^2/hr. for average atmospheric conditions.

It seemed worth while to obtain some quantitative extimate of the effect of adding known amounts of sebum to excised skin using diffraction chamber techniques (Winsor et al., 1956; Blank, 1952). The sebum used was a pooled sample obtained by dipping scalps in a basin of either. The epidermis of fresh abdominal skin was separated by immersion in water at 65 degrees C. for one minute and briefly defatted in ether. The epidermal membranes were kept in the refrigerator until they were mounted on the chamber, after which ether solutions of sebum were evenly spread over the surface. The chambers were kep in a silica gel dessicator at room temperature and weighted daily for four days. Maximum water loss can be expected when the relative humidity is zero. Four pieces of skin were used and the transpiration rate for each specimen was determined for each sebum level, defatting the surface anew for each four-day period.

Table I. -- The Effect of Sebum on the Transpiration of Water.

Sebum Level .......... Transpiration rate of water

(mg/cm^2) ............ (mg/cm^2/hr)

None ...................... 0.71

0.05 ....................... 0.64

0.20 ....................... 0.80

0.61 ....................... 0.73

2.1 ......................... 0.65

3.7 ......................... 0.52

Table I displays the averages for the four samples. It is not until the level approaches 3.5 mg. per sq. cm., at least ten times the average amount found in an oily region, that some modest interference with water loss occurs. Within and well above the normal levels there can be no doubt of the insignificance of sebum as a waterproofing material. Even if the lipid layer were far thicker than it actually is, its effectiveness would be largely minimized by its tendency to flow in the valleys, leaving the major evaporating surface unchanged.

The intricate surface sculpturing of human skin mainly absent in furry animals additionally reduces the water conserving role of sebum.

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Below is a rather extended excerpt from the same article I referenced in the first post in this thread: "The Uses of Sebum", by Albert M Kligman MD, Phd. The whole article is quite long and involved, so I only had time to copy some of his comments about the (alleged) effects of sebum as a "moisurizing" agent. What I found particularly fascinating is his description of the experiment near the end, showing that it takes FAR more sebum than is normally present on the skin of a human (10-20 times as much) before the amount of water loss even BEGINS to be diminished just a bit! :)

The lipid film.--The surface lipids form a film whose thickness has been estimated to be 3-10 um (Miescher and Schonberg, 1944). We must know the physical structure of this film, if it is to reveal its numerous protective roles.

For emphasis let us calculate the thickness of the film on the forehead of a very oily subject whose casual sebum level is 0.4 mg. per sq. cm. The casual level is the fairly constant and maximum amount of oil which the surface supports unless some artificial trap is provided to check the run-off. Assuming a specific gravity of 0.9, the film would be only about 0.45 um (micron) thick. Since the forehead is one of the oiliest regions, let us consider the extremities, the abdomen or most other skin territories with a low density of sebaceous glands. An average casual level for these regions is perhaps 0.05 mg. per sq. cm and a corresponding thickness of about 50 m-um (milli-microns). This puts us squarely in the realm of submicroscopic ultrafilms. Too little attention has been paid to the really trivial quantities of sebum which cover most of the body surface. The large number of important roles assigned to sebum are disproportionate to the miniscule amounts that are actually present.

If one liberally inuncts sebum on to a sheet of isolated stratum corneum (see below) wiping off the excess with the finger but still leaving the surface visibly greasy, the amount deposited is of the order of 0.03 to 0.05 mg. per sq. cm. If the sebum is warmed and literally poured over the surface, shaking off the excess, the amount rises to about 0.5 mg. per sq. cm., corresponding to a film with thickness just about visible in the light microscope. The skin surface does not hold much fat.

Actually, the above calculations of film thickness are inappropriate and misleading. The skin is not a plane surface. It is transected by furrows which carve out intricate patterns in different regions, giving rise to the characteristic skin markings or dermatoglyphics. When one closely observes a freshly defatted area, the sebum droplets that arise in the orifices soon run off into the furrows amd are carried away. Butcher and Parnell (1948) were the first to emphasize that sebum streamed preferentially into the furrows. The speed with which sebum is lost from an unprotected area is responsible for another esteemed myth, the so-called "feed-back" mechanism for controlling sebaceous secretion. As soon as a certain fat level was reached on the surface, the economy-minded glands were supposed to shut down. No such thing happens. Shelley and I have dealt with this appealing fallacy elsewhere (Kligman and Shelley, 1958). The gland secretes continuously.

When one exposes various areas of the skin to osmic acid fumes and examines the disposition of the lipids directly under the skin microscope, with a magnification of 40-80 diameters, it becomes clear that there is often no simple uniform film. In oily areas much of the visible fat is in the form of droplets and rivulets of varying sizes and shapes, principally in the valleys. In low sebum regions, that is, over most of the body, surprisingly little is seen. The lipid is smeared out into submicroscopic films which are too thin to be visualized even with the aid of osmic acid.

In summary, the general surface is smeared with an ultrafilm; in oily regions enough fat may accumulate to form droplets and globules, whose size and shape are continuously changing. The ultrafilm extends into crevices of the outermost cell layers of the stratum corneum. Our previous concept that the whole stratum corneum is porous and acts as a sebum reservoir, like a sponge, is mistaken.

Comparative physiology.--Biologists long ago learned to take advantage of the diversity of species to understand the function of a given structure. The method of comparitive physiology is applicable to the present discussion for there is a curious animal, the prepubertal child, whose sebaceous glands are decidedly undeveloped. This animal has been celebrated by poets and mothers for its smooth, soft, non-greasy skin. Yet, the tiny supply of sebum does not embarrass or compromise the skin of this animal in any way.

The prepubertal subject does have some surface fat. This is derived largely from the epidermis itself, by the steady exfoliation of keratinized cells, giving rise to the so-called horn fat. This source is evidently sufficient for whatever use grease might have on the surface of the skin of man.

No dermatologic condition is known in which only the sebaceous glands are missing or are abnormal. The dryness and scaling associated with genetic ectodermal defects or heavy metal poisoning, for example, cannot be ascribed simply to a lack of sebum. Other profound changes are present, notably abnormalities of sweating and a malfunctioning epidermis. The same is true of aged skin. There is no justification for using such examples to demonstrate the value of sebum. In sum, the prepubertal example is enough to illustrate that skin can be healthy and have charming cosmetic qualities in the virtual absence of sebum.

Surface lipids as adjuncts to the barrier function of skin.--The prime function of skin is protection. One aspect of this is the relatively high impermeablity of skin to water and other substances. This important barrier function resides mainly in the stratum corneum. It should be noted that the horny later is a two-way barrier, preventing equally the ingress and egress of materials. It is a true seal.

In the past the idea was prevalent that the removal of surface lipids facilitated the penetration of water-soluble substances; sebum was supposed to help to keep things out. For example, the treatment of skin with organic solvents such as benzene and alcohol was said to weaken the skin's impermeability to water soluble materials (Calvery, Draize, and Lang, 1946). Yet no quantitative proof was offered. Rothman (1954) thinks the idea has been overdone. Blank and Gould (1961) have removed the surface lipids by pretreating isolated skin for several hours with acetone, ethyl alcohol and ether mixtures. Yet this did not render the skin permeable to sodium dodecyl sulphate. However, when pieces of skin were immersed in such solvents for three days, grossly degrading the tissue, penetration occurred. This seems to be the very point. When used excessively, lipid solvents will increase permeability by disrupting the barrier. Not lipid removal, but injury is the means by which solvents can enhance penetration.

Brun (1952) found that defatting with ether-alcohol intensifies the anhidrosis produced by aluminum chloride. He believes that the sebaceous layer protects the skin against the action of aluminum salts. I repeated this study several times by weighing the quantities of thermogenic sweat retained in cotton pads and was not able to verify this result.

There is a belief that the surface lipids might impede the loss of water to the environment, thus preventing drying out of the horny layer. However, Winsor and Burch (1956) and later Blank (1952) showed that defatting of excised skin had no effect on the rate of water loss. In view of the small quantity of surface lipids, one would hardly expect any other result. Liberal amounts of hydrophobic greases, such as petrolatum, do indeed retard the transpiration of water. Actually the stratum corneum is a remarkably effective water-tight seal comparing favourably with many plastic films of similar thickness (Rosenberg, et al., 1962). The rate of water transpiration of skin both in vitro and in vivo, is of the order of 0.2 - 0.5 mg./cm.^2/hr. for average atmospheric conditions.

It seemed worth while to obtain some quantitative extimate of the effect of adding known amounts of sebum to excised skin using diffraction chamber techniques (Winsor et al., 1956; Blank, 1952). The sebum used was a pooled sample obtained by dipping scalps in a basin of either. The epidermis of fresh abdominal skin was separated by immersion in water at 65 degrees C. for one minute and briefly defatted in ether. The epidermal membranes were kept in the refrigerator until they were mounted on the chamber, after which ether solutions of sebum were evenly spread over the surface. The chambers were kep in a silica gel dessicator at room temperature and weighted daily for four days. Maximum water loss can be expected when the relative humidity is zero. Four pieces of skin were used and the transpiration rate for each specimen was determined for each sebum level, defatting the surface anew for each four-day period.

Table I. -- The Effect of Sebum on the Transpiration of Water.

Sebum Level .......... Transpiration rate of water

(mg/cm^2) ............ (mg/cm^2/hr)

None ...................... 0.71

0.05 ....................... 0.64

0.20 ....................... 0.80

0.61 ....................... 0.73

2.1 ......................... 0.65

3.7 ......................... 0.52

Table I displays the averages for the four samples. It is not until the level approaches 3.5 mg. per sq. cm., at least ten times the average amount found in an oily region, that some modest interference with water loss occurs. Within and well above the normal levels there can be no doubt of the insignificance of sebum as a waterproofing material. Even if the lipid layer were far thicker than it actually is, its effectiveness would be largely minimized by its tendency to flow in the valleys, leaving the major evaporating surface unchanged.

The intricate surface sculpturing of human skin mainly absent in furry animals additionally reduces the water conserving role of sebum.

Thanks for posting this Bryan. So, what they are saying is that you would need atleast 10 times the amount of oil on a subject with already very oily skin to make a difference in transpiration of water?

Also, I didn't exactly understand what Kligman's findings were in relation to sebum and its effect on hair. What did he find in that study. The sebum was not needed or it was?

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Thanks for posting this Bryan. So, what they are saying is that you would need atleast 10 times the amount of oil on a subject with already very oily skin to make a difference in transpiration of water?

To make something approaching a significant difference. Yes. Exactly!

Also, I didn't exactly understand what Kligman's findings were in relation to sebum and its effect on hair. What did he find in that study. The sebum was not needed or it was?

You didn't understand it, for the simple reason that I didn't bother to TELL you what it is that Kligman and his colleagues found! :) The only reason I mentioned it at all was just to provide another example of how dermatogists (even Kligman!) can make assumptions about what they only think they know, without bothering to put it to a careful physical test, just like what those doctors in New York told you about how sebum is (supposedly) a "moisturizer".

Just to satisfy your curiosity, I'll tell you about what it is they found: it had nothing at all to do whether or not hair "needs" sebum, it just had to do with the exact way that sebum gets onto hair, in the first place. The assumption had always been that sebum just naturally flows along the length of hair, coating it uniformly, by a kind of "wicking" or capillary action. But Kligman and his colleagues did some careful testing that completely disproved those notions. They simply couldn't get sebum to flow along the length of a hair, no matter WHAT they tried. It was almost as if sebum has a natural aversion to hair! :) The only conclusion they could draw from all that is that sebum gets onto hair only from actual physical contact, like when we touch or scratch our heads, comb our hair, sleep on a pillow, etc. They were so surprised to see that result, they admitted they were "incredulous". But any good doctor or scientist should alway question what he knows, or simply thinks he knows.

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Hey, I found an old post of mine on another site where I had actually copied that same passage from the study! That would be from: "Studies on the Effect of Shampoos on Scalp Lipids and Bacteria", A. M. Kligman, K. J. McGinley, and J. J. Leydon, from the book Hair Research Ed. by Orfanos, Montagna, Stuttgen. Copyright Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1981.

Refatting of Hair

Apart from the amount of sebum on the hair is the fascinating question of how it gets there. Hardly anyone has thought to look into the matter for the answer seems too obvious from the anatomy of the pilosebaceous unit. What could be more natural than to suppose that the sebum, excreted into the follicular canal, simply spreads up the hair shaft and uniformly coats it. Credit to Eberhardt for the imagination to question the obvious and for the elegantly simple methods employed in its refutation (Eberhardt 1976). When a droplet of sebum is placed on hair none of the lipid moves away; further, sebum will not creep along the surface when a terminal hair is placed in a capillary filled with sebum. We were incredulous and thought that the hair might first have to be moistened. However, we too found that sebum would not spontaneously spread out when droplets were placed on previously immersed hairs held in an atmosphere saturated with water. Further, we strung hairs in close parallel array on a wire frame, thinking that sebum placed at one end would migrate between the hairs by capillarity. Wetted or dry, the sebum showed not the slightest inclination to spread over the hairs as visualized by exposure to osmium tetroxide vapors. It seems an inescapable conclusion that the hairs become greased by mechanical transfer, from the scalp surface to the hairs, and from hair to hair. The hair acquires sebum by direct contact. The dispersal of sebum from the surface would be facilitated by combing and brushing, by wearing a hat, by rubbing the fingers through the hair, etc. Resilient, easily bendable thin hair would have a greater chance of contacting sebum than straight, stiff, widely-spaced hairs. Refatting of the hair is thus complex and will vary greatly from individual to individual.

It is logical to expect that that the segment closest to the scalp would have a greater chance of mechanical pick-up of sebum oozing out of the follicles. We did, in fact, find that in a 9-cm fiber, divided into thirds, the greatest amount of lipid was on the proximal third and the least on the distal. We considered the possibility that there might be a preferential separation of sebum components as the hair became refatted. However, it was found that the composition of lipid on the hairs was exactly the same as on the surface and was the same at various distances from the surface.

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Hey, I found an old post of mine on another site where I had actually copied that same passage from the study! That would be from: "Studies on the Effect of Shampoos on Scalp Lipids and Bacteria", A. M. Kligman, K. J. McGinley, and J. J. Leydon, from the book Hair Research Ed. by Orfanos, Montagna, Stuttgen. Copyright Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1981.

Refatting of Hair

Apart from the amount of sebum on the hair is the fascinating question of how it gets there. Hardly anyone has thought to look into the matter for the answer seems too obvious from the anatomy of the pilosebaceous unit. What could be more natural than to suppose that the sebum, excreted into the follicular canal, simply spreads up the hair shaft and uniformly coats it. Credit to Eberhardt for the imagination to question the obvious and for the elegantly simple methods employed in its refutation (Eberhardt 1976). When a droplet of sebum is placed on hair none of the lipid moves away; further, sebum will not creep along the surface when a terminal hair is placed in a capillary filled with sebum. We were incredulous and thought that the hair might first have to be moistened. However, we too found that sebum would not spontaneously spread out when droplets were placed on previously immersed hairs held in an atmosphere saturated with water. Further, we strung hairs in close parallel array on a wire frame, thinking that sebum placed at one end would migrate between the hairs by capillarity. Wetted or dry, the sebum showed not the slightest inclination to spread over the hairs as visualized by exposure to osmium tetroxide vapors. It seems an inescapable conclusion that the hairs become greased by mechanical transfer, from the scalp surface to the hairs, and from hair to hair. The hair acquires sebum by direct contact. The dispersal of sebum from the surface would be facilitated by combing and brushing, by wearing a hat, by rubbing the fingers through the hair, etc. Resilient, easily bendable thin hair would have a greater chance of contacting sebum than straight, stiff, widely-spaced hairs. Refatting of the hair is thus complex and will vary greatly from individual to individual.

It is logical to expect that that the segment closest to the scalp would have a greater chance of mechanical pick-up of sebum oozing out of the follicles. We did, in fact, find that in a 9-cm fiber, divided into thirds, the greatest amount of lipid was on the proximal third and the least on the distal. We considered the possibility that there might be a preferential separation of sebum components as the hair became refatted. However, it was found that the composition of lipid on the hairs was exactly the same as on the surface and was the same at various distances from the surface.

Bryan,

Thanks again for all the great research you gather to help me further understand that my lack of sebum doesn't matter. But I just wanted to make sure that you agreed with this. Do you feel that sebum is as useless for the skin as it is for the hair on a humans head? Basically, can a person have healthy hair without sebum?

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Also,

In that excerpt you included with the transpiration of water loss. What would the numerical number of someone who has really oily skin in the units they used "(mg/cm^2)." Like, i think the last one was about .6. Would that even be way more than a person with extremely oily skin. Is 3.7mg/cm^2 more than 10 times the amount of a person with oily skin, or ten times the amount of a person with average sebum production?

The reason i ask is because i used to have extremelyyy oily skin. So i am curious to know if maybe my skin was oily enought that it was effective in preventing epidermal water loss. I sure hope it wasn't because i would be said if i got rid of something that was really useful for this dry skin i have now. Sorry again for all the questions. But you're the only educated person i find on this site that gives me actual facts, not opinions!

Adam

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I'm bumping this thread, just to provide it to new members here at acne.org who haven't seen it yet! smile.png

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Hate to flame, but you don't have any idea what you're talking about. Sebum keeps you young and delivers antioxidants to your skin, mainly vitamin e which is significant to skin. Sebum also keeps your eyes moist and protects them from debris. Keeps your hair shining, and if you must know sebaceous glands also moisturize your genitalia. Accutane is the absolute dumbest drug ever invented. If you're thinking about accutane, don't

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What1f, on 12 May 2013 - 08:37, said:

Hate to flame, but you don't have any idea what you're talking about. Sebum keeps you young and delivers antioxidants to your skin, mainly vitamin e which is significant to skin. Sebum also keeps your eyes moist and protects them from debris. Keeps your hair shining, and if you must know sebaceous glands also moisturize your genitalia. Accutane is the absolute dumbest drug ever invented. If you're thinking about accutane, don't

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Well, I'd rather look good my entire life.

I want to go to my 30 year high school reunion and laugh at all the bitches that look like leather handbags while my face is still practically wrinkle free thanks to my oily skin genes.

Oily skin is not a social death sentence. It just means you have to blot a few times a day. Big effing deal.

agreed, I have oily skin and since I found the right stuff to control it, I'd actually rather have it than chronically dry skin. Also my mom has the same skin type and looks gorgeous for pushing 50; everyone knows it. Maybe we can do with or without sebum, but i really don't mind it

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Its not all about sebum. Immune function, genes play a greater role. Lot of people have oily skin but don't have acne.

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Its not all about sebum. Immune function, genes play a greater role. Lot of people have oily skin but don't have acne.

You're absolutely right. Acne has a multitude of causes and no two sufferers are exactly the same - that's why it's so hard to completely get on top of and eliminate. There are plenty of people with oily skin who don't have acne, as presumably they are relatively fortunate in other areas - genetics, hormones, immune system, lifestyle etc. Excessive sebum production on its own is one of many potential causes.

But in terms of how the acne is able to develop, whatever the underlying causes, in many ways it really is all about sebum. If you look at the biology of how acne develops, you'll realise that it couldn't really happen at all without an output of sebum. Whatever's causing the malfunction - and there are a great many factors, as you say - the sebaceous gland plays a central and essential role in the transmission of this disorder to the skin in the form of acne.

This point would be somewhat irrelevant if the glands served an important purpose, as even if you had a method of safely destroying them, it would carry obvious negative consequences - but given the abundant evidence that these glands have no important function in modern humans, and that the glands would not be missed even in the long term, this leaves the future open to some very promising acne treatments.

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