It may seem that women make a mountain out of a molehill at the first signs of wrinkles, but they do have reasons to get paranoid, as a research has demonstrated that women’s skin ages faster than men’s.
Researchers have now devised the first non-invasive test to measure skin aging. This new laser-based technique images the fabric of the deeper layers of the skin, combining methods for imaging collagen and elastin, whose degeneration causes the appearance of wrinkles and the progressive loss of skin smoothness.
The technique measures relative amounts of collagen and elastin by a single factor, which can be positive or negative, like temperatures. Higher values of the factor correspond to higher collagen content, and to lower elastin content. Previously, each of the imaging techniques had only been tested on tissue extracted from live patients.
In the new paper, researchers at Friedrich Schiller University, in Jena, Germany, at the Fraunhofer Institute of Biomedical Technology, in St. Ingbert, Germany, and at JenLab GmbH, a Jena-based laser technology company, tested the technique directly on the forearms of 18 patients, measuring the collagen/elastin factor.
Large variations appeared from patient to patient, and even from one part of a patient’s forearm to another. “In a healthy 35-year-old, some areas can appear like the skin of a 25-year-old, and others like that of someone who’s 50,” said Johannes Koehler, a dermatologist at Friedrich Schiller University and a coauthor of the Optics Letters paper.