In vivo confocal Raman spectroscopy is a noninvasive optical method to obtain detailed information about the molecular composition of the skin with high spatial resolution. In vivo confocal scanning laser microscopy is an imaging modality that provides optical sections of the skin without physically dissecting the tissue. A combination of both techniques in a single instrument is described. This combination allows the skin morphology to be visualized and (subsurface) structures in the skin to be targeted for Raman measurements. Novel results are presented that show detailed in vivo concentration profiles of water and of natural moisturizing factor for the stratum corneum that are directly related to the skin architecture by in vivo cross-sectional images of the skin. Targeting of skin structures is demonstrated by recording in vivo Raman spectra of sweat ducts and sebaceous glands in situ. In vivo measurements on dermal capillaries yielded high-quality Raman spectra of blood in a completely noninvasive manner. From the results of this exploratory study we conclude that the technique presented has great potential for fundamental skin research, pharmacology (percutaneous transport), clinical dermatology, and cosmetic research, as well as for noninvasive analysis of blood analytes, including glucose.

, , ,
Biophysical Journal
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Caspers, P., Lucassen, G., & Puppels, G. (2003). Combined in vivo confocal Raman spectroscopy and confocal microscopy of human skin. Biophysical Journal. Retrieved from