Skin hydration, microrelief and greasiness of normal skin in
* D. Mateev,
Department of Dermatology and Venereology, Acibadem City Clinic Tokuda Hospital, Soﬁa, Bulgaria
Bulgarian Antarctic Institute, Soﬁa, Bulgaria
Section of dermatology, Medical Faculty, Trakia University, Stara Zagora, Bulgaria
*Correspondence: N. Tsankov. E-mail: email@example.com
Background The skin is the primary defence of the human body against external factors from physical, chemical,
mechanical and biologic origin. Climatic factors together with low temperature and sun radiation affect the skin. The
effect of climatic conditions in Antarctica on healthy skin has not been previously addressed.
Objectives The aim of this study was to evaluate the changes in the skin hydration, greasiness and microre-
lief due to the extreme climatic environmental factors during the stay of the members of the Bulgarian Antarctic expedi-
Material and methods Fifty-nine Caucasian healthy subjects, 42 men and 17 women with mean age 50.9 years (27–
68), were enrolled. The study was performed in ﬁve consecutive years from 2011 to 2016 at the Bulgarian Antarctic base
camp at Livingston Island. The study protocol consisted of two parts: study A: duration of 15 days with measurement of
skin physiology parameters on a daily basis, and study B: ﬁve measurements at baseline and at days 14, 30, 45 and 50
upon arrival in Antarctica. We measured three biophysical parameters related to skin physiology at cheek skin by an
impedance measuring device.
Results No statistically signiﬁcant difference between parameters at the different measurement points. There is a
variation in skin hydration reaching its lower point at day 11 and then returning to values similar to baseline. Initially,
an increase in skin greasiness was witnessed with a sharp depression at day 11 and ﬁnal values at day 15 resem-
bling the ones at baseline. An increase, although not statistically signiﬁcant, in skin roughness was observed in the
ﬁrst 15 days of the study. Study B showed no statistically signiﬁcant variances between values of the three parame-
Conclusion Our studies show the pioneer results of the effect of Antarctic climate on human skin physiology.
Received: 30 April 2017; Accepted: 12 July 2017
Conﬂicts of interest
The study was ﬁnancially supported by unrestricted research grant by Pierre Fabre Laboratories, France.
Livingston Island is one of the South Shetland Islands in the
Southern Ocean being part of the north-west coast of the
From 1988, Bulgaria organized and built a
scientiﬁc research base there, working during the summer time.
Livingston has a polar climate, and the Island weather is notori-
ously capricious. The temperatures are rather constant and sel-
dom exceed 3 °C in Antarctic summer or fall below 20 °Cin
winter. The average relative humidity is 81.4%, and the average
annual wind speed is 13.3 km/h.
The environment directly can affect the skin in many ways,
most of which tend to be detrimental. The negative inﬂuence
of solar radiation as a primary cause of skin damage and pho-
toageing is already well studied and documented. Extremes of
temperature and humidity have an impact on skin. Cold, win-
tery weather conditions have been shown to encourage the
development of dermatoses through damage to the skin bar-
We studied the changes in the skin hydration, greasiness and
microrelief due to the extreme climatic environmental factors
© 2017 European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology
2018, 32, 482–485