Biological Trace Element Research

, Volume 176, Issue 2, pp 251–257 | Cite as

The Role of Blood Lead, Cadmium, Zinc and Copper in Development and Severity of Acne Vulgaris in a Nigerian Population

  • C.I. Ikaraoha
  • N.C. Mbadiwe
  • C.J. Anyanwu
  • J. Odekhian
  • C.N. Nwadike
  • H.C. Amah


Acne vulgaris is a very common skin disorder affecting human beings. There is a paucity of report on the role of heavy metals—lead (Pb) and cadmium (Cd)—globally, and trace metals—zinc (Zn) and copper (Cd)—particularly in Nigeria in the development/severity of acne vulgaris. This study is aimed to determine the blood levels of some heavy metals—cadmium and lead—and trace metals—zinc and copper—in acne vulgaris sufferers in a Nigerian population. Venous blood samples were collected from a total number of 90 non-obese female subjects consisting of 30 mild, 30 moderate and 30 severe acne vulgaris sufferers for blood Cd, Pb, Cu and Zn determination. They were age-matched with 60 females without acne vulgaris who served as the control subjects. Acne sufferers had significantly higher blood Cd and Pb (P = 0.0143 and P = 0.0001 respectively) and non-significantly different blood levels of Cu and Zn (P = 0.910 and P = 0.2140 respectively) compared to controls. There were significant progressive increases in blood levels of Cd and Pb (P = 0.0330 and P = 0.0001 respectively) and non-significant differences in the mean blood level of Cu and Zn (P = 0.1821 and P = 0.2728 respectively) from mild to moderate and severe acne vulgaris sufferers. Increases in blood Cd and Pb may play critical roles in the pathogenesis/severity of acne vulgaris, while Cu and Zn seem to play less significant roles in the development of this disorder in this environment.


Acne vulgaris Lead Cadmium Copper Zinc Nigeria 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.



Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest.

Sources of Funding

There was no grant support for this study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • C.I. Ikaraoha
    • 1
  • N.C. Mbadiwe
    • 2
  • C.J. Anyanwu
    • 1
  • J. Odekhian
    • 3
  • C.N. Nwadike
    • 1
  • H.C. Amah
    • 4
  1. 1.Chemical Pathology Unit, Department of Medical Laboratory Science, Faculty of Health ScienceImo State UniversityOwerriNigeria
  2. 2.Department of MedicineUniversity of Nigeria Teaching HospitalEnuguNigeria
  3. 3.Department of Medical Laboratory ScienceIgbinedion University, OkadaOkadaNigeria
  4. 4.Microbiology/Parasitology Unit, Department of Medical Laboratory Science, Faculty of Health ScienceImo State UniversityOwerriNigeria

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