In order to better understand the effect of chronic sun exposure on facial skin photo-aging and to identify the factors affecting it, we planned a study in two areas in Japan, Akita and Kagoshima, which correspond to the low and high sun exposure environments, respectively. As a first step, we conducted a pilot study in the two areas, examining 195 subjects. Hyper-pigmentation and wrinkling were measured with a high-resolution digital video imaging system. As expected, people in Kagoshima had darker skin, higher visual grades of facial hyper-pigmentation, and more facial wrinkles than people in Akita, reflecting the difference of UV exposure levels in the two areas. Both the grades of hyper-pigmentation and number of wrinkles increased in a roughly linear fashion with the advancement of age. On the other hand, the effect of gender was different in those two skin photo-aging parameters. Women had higher hyper-pigmentation grades (P = 0.012) and less wrinkles (P = 0.004) than men. Interestingly, post-menopausal women had higher grades of hyper-pigmentation than pre-menopausal women. Neither sun exposure index for darkness nor wrinkling showed any significant differences by menopausal status. In this pilot study, we collected information on various factors, including life-styles. The results of detail analysis will be presented elsewhere. In the present analysis, we found that the grade of hyper-pigmentation was not related to total hours spent outside in life but was affected by various factors, including toe-nail zinc levels. On the other hand, the number of wrinkles was significantly related to total hours spent outside in life. The most important risk factors of non-melanoma skin cancer are chronic sun exposure, age and male sex. All of them are strongly related to higher levels of UV exposure. The present study confirmed that chronic sun exposure, age and male sex were strong risk factors of the wrinkle number. The number of wrinkles was significantly related to total hours of sun exposure in life, increased in a roughly linear fashion with the advancement of age, and was larger in men than in women. In epidemiological studies of UV-related skin cancer, the number of wrinkles, which can be easily measured with a high-resolution digital video imaging system as shown in this study, may be a good marker of total sun exposure in life.