Age-related changes in skin mechanical properties: a quantitative evaluation of 120 female subjects


Nils Krueger
Department of Chemistry
Division of Cosmetic Science
University of Hamburg
Martin-Luther-King-Platz 6
20146 Hamburg
Tel: +49 40 42838 7235
Fax: +49 40 42838 2592


Background/purpose: The most commonly used method to determine the mechanical ability of skin is the creep test using suction chamber devices. Until now, there is no scientific consensus upon which skin deformation parameters and which body sites are particularly suitable to describe age-related changes in human skin mechanics. The aim of this study was to find those mechanical skin parameters best representing influence of aging at five different body sites.

Methods: A total of 120 healthy women aged 18–65, divided into four similar age groups, were included in this study. The biomechanical properties of the skin were measured using the Cutometer® MPA 580 on five body sites: cheek, neck, cleavage, volar forearm and back of the hand. In order to analyze parameters referred to 1 mm skin thickness, we also used 20 MHz sonography (DUB 20).

Results: A high average correlation with age was found for the parameters Ua/Uf, Ur/Ue, Ur, Ur/Uf and Ua. Only low correlation with age was found for the parameters Uv/Ue, Uf-Ua, Uf5/Uf, Ud/Uf and Ua5. The localizations cheek, forearm and neck showed the highest correlation with age, while cleavage showed only low correlation.

Conclusion: According to the results of our study, we recommend the parameter ratio of elastic recovery to distensibility (Ur/Uf) as well as the gross elasticity (Ua/Uf) for evaluation of aging effects on the mechanical properties of skin. Their high correlation with age makes them particularly applicable to represent the influence of aging onto skin mechanical properties. Most suitable localizations to evaluate skin aging are cheek, forearm and neck.