The body's total antioxidant capacity represents a sum of the antioxidant capacity of various tissues/organs. A decrease in the body's antioxidant capacity may induce oxidative stress and subsequent metabolic syndrome, a clustering of risk factors for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The skin, the largest organ of the body, is one of the major components of the body's total antioxidant defense system, primarily through its xenobiotic/drug biotransformation system, reactive oxygen species-scavenging system, and sweat glands- and sebaceous glands-mediated excretion system. Notably, unlike other contributors, the skin contribution is variable, depending on lifestyles and ambient temperature or seasonal variations. Emerging evidence suggests that decreased skin's antioxidant and excretory functions (e.g., due to sedentary lifestyles and low ambient temperature) may increase the risk for metabolic syndrome. This review focuses on the relationship between the variability of skin-mediated detoxification and elimination of exogenous and endogenous toxic substances and the development of metabolic syndrome. The potential role of sebum secretion in lipid and cholesterol homeostasis and its impact on metabolic syndrome, and the association between skin disorders (acanthosis nigricans, acne, and burn) and metabolic syndrome are also discussed.
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