Women's skin study shows distinct chemical changes in response to psychological stress

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In a caller study published successful Scientific Reports, researchers investigated nan volatile integrated compounds (VOCs) generated by nan tegument successful consequence to psychological stress.

 Geinz Angelina/Shutterstock.comStudy: Effects of psychological accent connected nan emanation of volatile integrated compounds from nan skin. Image Credit: Geinz Angelina/Shutterstock.com


The volatilome is simply a postulation of volatile integrated compounds (VOCs) generated by plants, microbes, aliases animals that lend to nan skin's olfactory floor plan and represent portion of nan odor print.

The quality volatilome contains thousands of VOCs released by various sources, including exhaled breath, saliva, blood, urine, milk, feces, and tegument emissions.

These VOCs are not only associated pinch objective conditions; they tin besides beryllium exogenous, resulting from biology vulnerability aliases merchandise usage. Eccrine, sebaceous, and apocrine glands make astir endogenous tegument volatiles successful conjunction pinch people coming microorganisms.

Psychological accent tin disrupt nan tegument obstruction and modify inflammatory responses of nan skin, though its effect connected VOC emanation from quality tegument is unclear.

About nan study

In nan coming study, researchers examined nan effects of accent connected VOC emissions from nan skin.

The superior extremity was to analyse volatile integrated compounds secreted by forehead tegument pursuing accent induction among middle-aged women by performing cognitive tasks specified arsenic problem-solving and connection scrambling to place VOC accent markers.

The secondary intent was to analyse nan effect of tegument sebum concentration, pH, and transepidermal h2o nonaccomplishment (TEWL) connected VOC release.

The investigation was comprised of 35 nonsmoking women aged 24 to 40 (mean property 35). The researchers sampled VOCs from nan forehead anterior to and post-stress induction pinch a silicon polymer. They evaluated nan sample instrumentality linearity utilizing 4 VOCs: heptanal, 2-phenylethanol, isoamyl acetate, and 2,3-dimethylpyrazine.

Three measurements were taken concurrently wrong nan calibration curve's linearity domain, utilizing a reference solution of 15 ng/µL to measure method repeatability.

The squad induced cognitive accent done timed exercises utilizing customized software, including a timepiece for semantic and arithmetic tasks, and confirmed utilizing physiological and objective data.

They assessed accent levels utilizing a State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) questionnaire, verbal look analysis, and objective assessments.

The researchers identified and quantified VOCs utilizing state chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). Stress induction was substantiated by a important emergence successful authorities worry arsenic measured by nan questionnaire, changes successful electrodermal activity (EDA) measures, and verbatim accent expressions.

The researchers besides assessed sebum accumulation and tegument pH. They analyzed nan information qualitatively and quantitatively to find VOC look earlier and aft nan psychological accent tests.

The RSD was wished for each volatile chemic utilizing nan mean comparative abundance values for 2 to 3 predominant ions.

To analyse nan durability of adsorbed VOCs connected nan silicon polymer, nan researchers performed assessments connected time 3.0 and time 12 pursuing nan sample phase, simulating nan hold betwixt invoicing and GC-MS assessment.

They derived 3 parameters from nan EDA signals collected passim nan adjustment and accent induction phases. The first parameter was nan mean SCL (µS). The 2nd parameter was nan wave (peaks/min), while nan 3rd was nan mean amplitude (µS) of nan NS-SCRs.


The study recovered 198 VOCs pinch a higher attraction of straight-chain alkanes, alcohols, esters, cyclic alkanes, nitrogen compounds, and ketones. Among nan chemicals, 69 originated from cosmetic components, 49 from food, 37 from quality aliases microbial metabolisms, and 33 from nan environment.

Three VOCs (2-hydroxyethyl acetate, 3-methylpentadecane, and 2-hydroxyethyl propanoate) were associated pinch accent induction, and 14 compounds were statistically significant.

The VOCs were chiefly from nan alkane family, pinch fatty acyls produced from lipids and ethylbenzenes being nan astir common. In addition, nan researchers characterized a nitrogen molecule (N, N-dibutylformamide).

The slightest represented molecule was detected astatine 3.6 ng/µL (2-hydroxyethyl propanoate), while nan astir prevalent were geranyl acetone and butylated hydroxytoluene astatine concentrations of 121 ng/µL and 177 ng/µL, respectively.

The mean abundance of superior ions successful volatile standards accrued dramatically during storage, pinch RSD values ranging from 1.3 to 3.1% connected time 0 and 9.9% connected time 3.

The trait-anxiety scores and state-anxiety levels roseate importantly by 7.90% and 34%, respectively, betwixt nan no-stress and accent periods.

During nan accent phase, each 3 EDA measures rose. SCL accrued from 0.5 to 1.9 µS, and NS-SCRs accrued to 4.0 from 0.04 peaks per minute. 71% of participants' verbatims included deception/failure, stress/pressure, and difficulty/complicated.

After accent induction, nan sebum level connected nan foreheads accrued by 37%, while nan tegument pH dropped by 14%.


Overall, nan study findings highlighted nan effect of psychological accent connected nan modulation of cutaneous VOC emission. The comparative measurement of these chemicals demonstrated a accumulation scope passim nan accent period.

They are components of lipid metabolism, oxidative stress, aerial pollution, and cosmetic applications. Some were antecedently known arsenic illness biomarkers, but only 1 is stress-related. Future studies could analyse nan imaginable effect of modulating these VOC expressions connected tegument physiology.

Another attack to this investigation whitethorn beryllium to analyse their power connected quality connection by knowing chemosignaling.

Journal reference:

  • Lucchi, G. et al., (2024) Effects of psychological accent connected nan emanation of volatile integrated compounds from nan skin. Sci Rep. doi:https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-024-57967-2. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-024-57967-2