28 June 2013 Special Section Guest Editorial: Optical Methods of Imaging in the Skin
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Abstract
The skin is the biggest organ of the body, representing its barrier to the environment. It provides protection against water loss, keeps microorganisms from invading our body, and responds sensitively to external stimuli. The skin barrier is formed by the uppermost cell layer, i.e., the stratum corneum, consisting of dead horny cells. Underlying the stratum corneum are various layers of living cells. The capillary structures of the blood vessels appear from a depth of approximately 150 µm beneath the skin surface. The homogeneous structure of the skin surface is interrupted by hair follicles and sweat glands. As a sensory organ the skin is an essential means of interpersonal communication. This is why we devote particular attention to skin care and dermal treatment. In this context, diagnostics and therapy control play a decisive role. Easily accessible, the skin is an ideal object to be investigated by noninvasive optical and spectroscopic methods. An ample range of such methods is available for dermal analysis, including fluorescence, reflectance, Raman, and CARS measurements. Laser scanning microscopy has proven to be specifically suitable for investigating the skin barrier and the underlying living cell layers up to a depth of 200 µm depending on the wavelength applied, imaging both cellular and molecular structures. The primary purpose of these investigations is to analyze the integrity of the skin barrier, which is characterized by the organization of the cellular structures and by the composition of the lipid layers surrounding the cells. The application both of laser scanning microscopy and optical coherence tomography is focused mainly on the detection of dermal lesions, in particular of skin tumors, and their response to different therapies.

The skin is the biggest organ of the body, representing its barrier to the environment. It provides protection against water loss, keeps microorganisms from invading our body, and responds sensitively to external stimuli. The skin barrier is formed by the uppermost cell layer, i.e., the stratum corneum, consisting of dead horny cells. Underlying the stratum corneum are various layers of living cells. The capillary structures of the blood vessels appear from a depth of approximately 150 µm beneath the skin surface. The homogeneous structure of the skin surface is interrupted by hair follicles and sweat glands. As a sensory organ the skin is an essential means of interpersonal communication. This is why we devote particular attention to skin care and dermal treatment. In this context, diagnostics and therapy control play a decisive role. Easily accessible, the skin is an ideal object to be investigated by noninvasive optical and spectroscopic methods. An ample range of such methods is available for dermal analysis, including fluorescence, reflectance, Raman, and CARS measurements. Laser scanning microscopy has proven to be specifically suitable for investigating the skin barrier and the underlying living cell layers up to a depth of 200 µm depending on the wavelength applied, imaging both cellular and molecular structures. The primary purpose of these investigations is to analyze the integrity of the skin barrier, which is characterized by the organization of the cellular structures and by the composition of the lipid layers surrounding the cells. The application both of laser scanning microscopy and optical coherence tomography is focused mainly on the detection of dermal lesions, in particular of skin tumors, and their response to different therapies.

Optical imaging methods are also becoming increasingly popular in the field of pharmacology, specifically for investigating the penetration of topically applied substances into and through the skin barrier.

Due to the rapid development of optical techniques, both in terms of excitation by lasers and light-emitting diodes, and in terms of detection using capacitive sensors, optical and spectroscopic methods are increasingly applied in medicine, cosmetics, and cutaneous physiology. The articles published in this special section provide some impressive examples.

In this special section, 31 papers describe the broad application of optical methods for skin imaging. Laser scanning microscopy and multiphoton tomography are often used techniques in skin research and clinical diagnostics [Guojinet al., J. Biomed. Opt. 18(6), 061207 http://dx.doi.org/10.1117/1.JBO.18.6.061207; Ulrichet al., J. Biomed. Opt. 18(6), 061211 http://dx.doi.org/10.1117/1.JBO.18.6.061212; J. Biomed. Opt. 18(6), 061229; Hoffmanet al., J. Biomed. Opt. 18(6), 061216 http://dx.doi.org/10.1117/1.JBO.18.6.061216; Sanchezet al., J. Biomed. Opt. 18(6), 061217 http://dx.doi.org/10.1117/1.JBO.18.6.061217; Abeytungeet al., J. Biomed. Opt. 18(6), 061227 http://dx.doi.org/10.1117/1.JBO.18.6.061227; Tanakaet al., J. Biomed. Opt. 18(6), 061231 http://dx.doi.org/10.1117/1.JBO.18.6.061231; and Laiet al., J. Biomed. Opt. 18(6), 061225 http://dx.doi.org/10.1117/1.JBO.18.6.061225].

Several papers are related to the application of Raman spectroscopy for the analysis of human skin tissue [Syedet al., J. Biomed. Opt. 18(6), 061202 http://dx.doi.org/10.1117/1.JBO.18.6.061202; Franzenet al., J. Biomed. Opt. 18(6), 061210 http://dx.doi.org/10.1117/1.JBO.18.6.061210; Darvinet al., J. Biomed. Opt. 18(6), 061230 http://dx.doi.org/10.1117/1.JBO.18.6.061230] and of nickel allergy [Aldaet al., J. Biomed. Opt. 18(6), 061206 http://dx.doi.org/10.1117/1.JBO.18.6.061206].

The application of optical coherence tomography in dermatology is discussed by Liewet al., J. Biomed. Opt. 18(6), 061213 http://dx.doi.org/10.1117/1.JBO.18.6.061213 and Sattleret al., J. Biomed. Opt. 18(6), 061224 http://dx.doi.org/10.1117/1.JBO.18.6.061224. The application of optical methods permits distinguishing between different types of skin cancer and is helpful for therapy planning [Darlenskiet al., J. Biomed. Opt. 18(6), 061208 http://dx.doi.org/10.1117/1.JBO.18.6.061208; Tchvialevaet al., J. Biomed. Opt. 18(6), 061211 http://dx.doi.org/10.1117/1.JBO.18.6.061211; and Drakakiet al., J. Biomed. Opt. 18(6), 061221 http://dx.doi.org/10.1117/1.JBO.18.6.061221].

Optical methods are also applied for blood flow imaging [Sunet al., J. Biomed. Opt. 18(6), 061204 http://dx.doi.org/10.1117/1.JBO.18.6.061205; Wanget al., J. Biomed. Opt. 18(6), 061209 http://dx.doi.org/10.1117/1.JBO.18.6.061209; Kleinet al., J. Biomed. Opt. 18(6), 061219 http://dx.doi.org/10.1117/1.JBO.18.6.061219; and Nishidateet al., J. Biomed. Opt. 18(6), 061220 http://dx.doi.org/10.1117/1.JBO.18.6.061220] and for the analysis of wound healing processes [Pesqueiraet al., J. Biomed. Opt. 18(6), 061202 http://dx.doi.org/10.1117/1.JBO.18.6.061203; Medina-Preciadoet al., J. Biomed. Opt. 18(6), 061204 http://dx.doi.org/10.1117/1.JBO.18.6.061204; and Dekaet al., J. Biomed. Opt. 18(6), 061222 http://dx.doi.org/10.1117/1.JBO.18.6.061222].

The interaction of nanoparticles with human skin is a topic of increasing interest. Research into this specific field using optical imaging methods is presented by Yuet al., J. Biomed. Opt. 18(6), 061207 http://dx.doi.org/10.1117/1.JBO.18.6.061207; Zhanget al., J. Biomed. Opt. 18(6), 061214 http://dx.doi.org/10.1117/1.JBO.18.6.061214; Songet al., J. Biomed. Opt. 18(6), 061215 http://dx.doi.org/10.1117/1.JBO.18.6.061215; Laboutaet al., J. Biomed. Opt. 18(6), 061218 http://dx.doi.org/10.1117/1.JBO.18.6.061218; and Fixleret al., J. Biomed. Opt. 18(6), 061226 http://dx.doi.org/10.1117/1.JBO.18.6.061226.

Very often model calculation of skin physiological processes are based on results obtained by optical imaging techniques [Okamotoet al., J. Biomed. Opt. 18(6), 061232 http://dx.doi.org/10.1117/1.JBO.18.6.061232; Liuet al., J. Biomed. Opt. 18(6), 061228 http://dx.doi.org/10.1117/1.JBO.18.6.061228; and Terstappenet al., J. Biomed. Opt. 18(6), 061223 http://dx.doi.org/10.1117/1.JBO.18.6.061223].

It will also be shown that a single technique suitable for all issues is not available, but that it is necessary to select the optimum technique for the specific purpose.

© The Authors. Published by SPIE under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. Distribution or reproduction of this work in whole or in part requires full attribution of the original publication, including its DOI.
Jürgen M. Lademann, Jürgen M. Lademann, } "Special Section Guest Editorial: Optical Methods of Imaging in the Skin," Journal of Biomedical Optics 18(6), 061201 (28 June 2013). https://doi.org/10.1117/1.JBO.18.6.061201 . Submission:
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