Background/aims: Non-invasive methods used for characterizing skin micro-relief and skin surface hydration were developed in the 1980s. Although they allowed some progress in the knowledge of skin properties, they are not completely satisfactory in many aspects. Today, new technologies are emerging that may address such issues.
Methods: We adapted the technology produced by the ST Microelectronics Company for sensing fingerprint for the measurement of skin surface properties. Accordingly, we developed acquisition software for obtaining routinely the distribution of skin surface capacitance along different body sites. Image analysis softwares were also processed for collecting both the main orientations of the micro-relief lines and their density. The average value of skin capacitance is also obtained.
Results: The images allow a highly precise observation of the skin topography that can be easily quantified in terms of line density and line orientation. The mean gray levels of the images appear much closely correlated to the Corneometer values.
Conclusion: This new device appears to be a very convenient way for characterizing the properties of the skin surface. With regard to hydration, it usefully provides both the average value and the hydration chart of the investigated skin zones.