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Headspace Solid-Phase Microextraction Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry Analysis of Scent Profiles from Human Skin

Insight Centre for Data Analytics, National Centre for Sensor Research, School of Chemical Sciences, Dublin City University, D09 W6Y4 Dublin 9, Ireland
École Nationale Supérieure des Ingénieurs en Arts Chimiques et Technologiques, 31030 Toulouse, France
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Cosmetics 2018, 5(4), 62;
Received: 9 October 2018 / Revised: 17 October 2018 / Accepted: 18 October 2018 / Published: 21 October 2018
PDF [922 KB, uploaded 22 October 2018]


Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emanating from human skin contribute to an individual’s body odour. Understanding the modulation of human odour by a fragrance is of significant importance to the cosmetic sector in the design, development and evaluation of new products. The present research describes an in vivo approach for passive headspace sampling of skin volatile emissions in human participants. A wearable headspace solid-phase microextraction (HS-SPME) method has been employed to investigate baseline endogenous skin volatiles and the subsequent modulation of skin volatile profiles after application of a fragrance to skin. Coupled with gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) this method enables characterisation of scent profiles and fragrance longevity in vivo. A total of 51 compounds were identified in participants’ skin, including 19 endogenous and 32 fragrance-derived compounds. The temporal variation in volatile profiles at different times after fragrance application was investigated. Fragrance diffusion from skin varied between participants resulting in diversified scent profiles over time. This non-invasive approach could be employed during cosmetic product development for in vivo evaluation of fragrance profiles and for assessment of the retention of fragrance components in skin to reduce reliance on expert panels during product development. View Full-Text
Keywords: volatile organic compounds; human odour; fragrance; non-invasive volatile organic compounds; human odour; fragrance; non-invasive

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Duffy, E.; Albero, G.; Morrin, A. Headspace Solid-Phase Microextraction Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry Analysis of Scent Profiles from Human Skin. Cosmetics 2018, 5, 62.

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