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Skin Imaging

By: Steve Herman
Posted: March 3, 2010, from the March 2010 issue of GCI Magazine.

Age does not bring you wisdom— age brings you wrinkles.” —Estelle Getty

As bad as one might look in a passport or driver’s license photo, nothing is scarier than the output of a modern skin imaging analysis device. To see lines and wrinkles, UV damage and red blotches, pores and excess sebum in vivid detail is enough to make anyone 20 and older run to the nearest antiaging serum in a panic. The combination of high-end digital cameras and sophisticated computer programs has made these devices available everywhere—from research labs and dermatologist’s offices to upscale cosmetic counters. A day in the sun in 1971 has left traces that can still be photographed in vivid colors, and a line you thought no one could notice now looks like the Grand Canyon.

Analysis of the skin using still or video cameras and digital image analysis (DIA) software has long been used by the medical profession to detect dangerous conditions like melanoma using parameters such as color, shape, border qualities and structural components. And Red, Green, Blue (RGB) analysis has been used for color-based recognition algorithms for many years.

Russian State Medical University researchers1 suggested using skin health indexes as indicators of aging. They evaluated skin fluorescence after being exposed to near UV radiation (365 nm [nanometers]), and estimated age-specific changes by measuring fingertip fluorescence. Experiments showed that skin fluorescence increase correlates well with chronological age of 20- to 70-year-old people.

Formation of glycotoxins (cross-linked polymers) in the dermis is considered to be one of the main reasons for skin age-specific changes and fluorescence fluctuations.

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