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Skin Res Technol. 2014 Aug;20(3):299-306. doi: 10.1111/srt.12119. Epub 2013 Nov 23.

Three-dimensional morphological characterization of the skin surface micro-topography using a skin replica and changes with age.

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Shiseido Research Center, Yokohama, Japan.



Skin surface micro-topography (SSMT), consisting of pores, ridges and furrows, reflects the skin condition and is an important factor determining the aesthetics of the skin. Most previous studies evaluating SSMT have employed two-dimensional image analysis of magnified pictures captured by a video microscope. To improve the accuracy of SSMT analysis, we established a three-dimensional (3D) analysis method for SSMT and developed various parameters including the skin ridge number, and applied the method to study the age-dependent change in skin.


Confocal laser scanning microscopy was used for 3D measurement of the surface morphology of silicon replicas taken from the cheek. We then used these data to calculate the parameters that reflect the nature of SSTM including the skin ridge number using originally developed software. Employing a superscription technique, we investigated the variation in SSMT with age for replicas taken from the cheeks of 103 Japanese females (5-85 years old).


The skin surface area and roughness, the area of pores, the area, length, depth and width of skin furrows and the number of skin ridges were examined. The surface roughness, the area of pores and the depth of skin furrows increased with age. The area and length of skin furrows and the number of skin ridges decreased with age.


The method proposed to analyse SSMT three dimensionally is an effective tool with which to characterize the condition of the skin.


ageing; skin furrow; skin pore; skin ridge; skin surface micro-topography; three-dimensional morphological characterization

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