Mapping the human face: biophysical properties
Version of Record online: 31 AUG 2009
© 2010 John Wiley & Sons A/S
Skin Research and Technology
Volume 16, Issue 1, pages 38–54, February 2010
How to Cite
Wa, C. V. and Maibach, H. I. (2010), Mapping the human face: biophysical properties. Skin Research and Technology, 16: 38–54. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0846.2009.00400.x
- Issue online: 6 JAN 2010
- Version of Record online: 31 AUG 2009
- Accepted for publication 30 June 2009
- biophysical parameters;
- human face;
- laser Doppler flowmeter;
- skin physiology
Background: Facial skin exhibits unique biophysical properties that are distinct from skin belonging to other areas of the body. Small to large regional differences in biophysical properties between facial sites are observed. Technological advances in dermatological research allow a quantitative study of the biophysical qualities of the face and its relation to skin elsewhere. However, comprehensive studies examining inter-regional variations using each of the six standard biophysical parameters have been few. We summarize findings on the biophysical parameters used to explore the human face as well as regional differences in skin reactivity to chemical irritants.
Methods: We performed a literature search using Pubmed, Embase, Science Citations Index, and the UCSF's dermatological library on biophysical parameters and skin physiology pertaining to the human face.
Results: Distinct regional differences in transepidermal water loss (TEWL), capacitance, blood flow, sebum, pH, and temperature were demonstrated in facial skin. However, studies cannot be compared with each other because each uses different anatomical sites, skin conditions, and measurement techniques. Intraregional differences in TEWL, sebum, and temperatures were observed on the cheeks and appeared to follow characteristic distribution patterns. Higher blood flow levels and skin temperatures were generally observed in areas with dense networks of blood vessels such as the nose and perioral region. Areas such as the forehead, nose, and chin consistently showed higher sebum casual levels, but variability in sebum levels between sites was also observed. The susceptibility of the face to hexyl nicotinate, sodium lauryl sulfate, and benzoic acid differed depending on location and age.
Conclusion: Establishing a standardized biophysical profile of the human face will help to improve therapeutics, and further our understanding of differences in chemical reactivity and disease distribution. Future research necessitates standardization of the anatomical sites studied, sample size, and experimental protocols.