Obesity is considered problematic not only as a major cause of diabetes, hypertension, and dyslipidemia, but also as a risk of intractable dermatosis; however influence of obesity on skin function has not been clarified. To clarify the mechanism of obesity-associated skin disorders, we aimed to characterize the skin function of subjects with obesity, and identify possible influencing factors.
Complex analyses including instrumental measurement, biochemical and lipidomics were performed for facial skin and physical evaluation in 93 Caucasian women with obesity (OB) and non-obesity (NOB).
In OB, imbalance in metabolism of carbohydrate and lipid, autonomic nerve activity, and secreted factors were confirmed. In the skin properties in OB, surface roughness was higher by 70%, the water content was lower by 12%, and changes in the lipid profile of stratum corneum ceramide were observed; in particular, a 7% reduction of [NP]-type ceramide, compared with NOB. Moreover, significant redness accompanied by a 34% increase in skin blood flow was observed in OB. Correlation analysis elucidated that the water content was strongly correlated with local skin indices, such as the ceramide composition, redness, blood flow, and TNFα in the stratum corneum, whereas roughness was correlated with the systemic indices, such as serum insulin, leptin, and IL-6.
Characteristics of obesity-associated skin were (A) reduction of the barrier and moisturizing function accompanied by intercellular lipid imbalance, (B) increased redness accompanied by hemodynamic changes, and (C) surface roughness. It was suggested that each symptom is due to different causes in local and/or systemic physiological impairment related to the autonomic nerve-vascular system, inflammation and insulin resistance.