Oily skin: specific features in Chinese women

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Inconsistent data are available on the various types of skin, their prevalence and characterization, particularly regarding Asian skins. This observation prompted to conduct a large study in China to assess the prevalence of oily skin and identify the specific factors related to that type of skin.


The multicentre trial involved 1787 Chinese women in Shenyang, Harbin, Beijing, Chengdu and Suzhou, between 18 and 65 years of age. Data on history of acne, the presence of environmental factors and a detailed self-evaluation of the skin were collected using a standardized questionnaire. A clinical evaluation of facial skin oiliness was carried-out by a dermatologist at each centre. Sebum secretion was measured on the forehead using Sebumeter® SM810. Statistical analysis (multiple correspondence analysis) of typology was conducted based on self-evaluation data.


According to self-evaluation data, oily skin prevalence in the overall Chinese population of the study was 25.6%. Self-evaluation results were quite consistent with sebum measurements and with clinical assessment by dermatologist. Parameters associated with oily skin were (i) shiny skin and a past history of acne, (ii) irregular menstruation, and (iii) highly reactive or sensitive skin. Moreover, a clear and significant link was noted between oily skin and the ingestion of spicy or sweet food. Lastly, sebum levels were found to be twice as high in Beijing as in the other cities and were correlated to higher oily skin prevalence.


The study demonstrated the capacity of women for proper self-evaluation of their skin type. It also suggests a potential link between nutritional factors such as spicy and/or sweet diets and oily skin as well as between sensitive and oily skin in this population.

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