• Face;
  • image analysis;
  • skin;
  • appearance;
  • firmness;
  • quantification;
  • aging


Lack of firmness is a key sign of skin aging, but there are no methods for quantifying the firmness of facial skin as perceived visually. The objective of this study was to develop a convenient and accurate method for this purpose.


A compact imaging system (Magic Ring®) was developed to capture images of facial skin. By using an image-analysis algorithm, the number of facial lines and their direction were analyzed to give an index termed the ‘Ageless Vector’. Correlations between the Ageless Vector and visually perceived facial skin firmness, mechanical skin firmness (R5), and actual age were examined for 108 Asian females. The technique was also used to assess the effects of a 14-day skin-moisturization regimen in 47 Asian female volunteers.


The Ageless Vector showed highly significant correlation with visually perceived skin firmness (= 0.816) and significant correlation with mechanical skin firmness (R5) (= –0.775). Skin moisturization significantly improved both the Ageless Vector (P < 0.05) and the visual grading of apparent skin firmness.


We confirmed by two clinical studies that the imaging methodology using the Ageless Vector and the Magic Ring facial-imaging system was sufficiently sensitive to permit the measurement of apparent visible skin firmness and that it is an excellent method suitable for practical in vivo applications.