Quantitative evaluation of skin condition in an epidemiological survey of females living in northern versus southern Japan

J Dermatol Sci. 2001 Aug;27 Suppl 1:S42-52. doi: 10.1016/s0923-1811(01)00118-9.


Image analysis and biophysical methods were used to compare the skin condition of a group of females ranging in age from 5 to 65 years who had lived all of their lives in either Kagoshima (n=300), located in southern Japan, or Akita (n=302), located in northern Japan. Kagoshima annually receives approximately 1.5 times more solar UVB radiation than Akita. The methods used and corresponding skin parameters reported in this survey were: high resolution digital imaging followed by computer analysis of facial images for facial skin wrinkling and hyperpigmentation; silicone skin replicas followed by Moiré interferometry for facial skin surface roughness (texture); the Minolta Chromameter for skin color (L*a*b*) on sun-exposed (forehead) and sun-protected (upper inner arm) skin sites; the Corneometer for skin capacitance (hydration) on the cheek and ventral forearm; the Sebumeter for sebum excretion rate on the forehead; and the Minolta Spot Thermometer for skin temperature on the upper cheek. Compared with Japanese women living in Akita, Japanese women living in Kagoshima had significantly longer facial wrinkles, higher number of wrinkles, larger hyperpigmented spots, higher number of spots, rougher facial skin texture, more yellow foreheads and upper inner arms, darker foreheads, and less stratum corneum hydration in the cheeks and arms. When compared on an age-for-age basis, the average 40-year-old Kagoshima women has the same level of facial wrinkling as a 48-year-old Akita women, a delay of 8 years for living in the northern latitude. For facial hyperpigmentation, the delay is 16 years; the average 40-year-old Kagoshima women has the same level of facial hyperpigmentation as a 56-year-old Akita women. The results further testify to the skin damaging effects of sun exposure and may be useful in public health education to promote everyday sun protection.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Arm
  • Asians
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Climate
  • Face
  • Female
  • Geography
  • Humans
  • Hyperpigmentation / epidemiology*
  • Japan / epidemiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Regression Analysis
  • Skin / cytology*
  • Skin / radiation effects
  • Skin Aging / physiology*
  • Skin Aging / radiation effects
  • Skin Pigmentation / physiology
  • Skin Pigmentation / radiation effects
  • Sunlight*
  • Ultraviolet Rays