Optical coherence tomography applied to tests of skin care products in humans--a case study

Skin Res Technol. 2015 Feb;21(1):90-3. doi: 10.1111/srt.12161. Epub 2014 Jul 26.


Background/purpose: When evaluating skin care products for human skin, quantitative test methods need to be simple, precise and reliable. Optical coherence tomography (OCT), provides high-resolution sectional images of translucent materials to a depth of a few millimeters, a technique usually applied to medical measurements in ophthalmology and dermatology. This study aimed to demonstrate the application of OCT as the main technique for monitoring changes in skin topography during tests of a wrinkle-reduction product in humans.

Methods: We used a commercial OCT apparatus to perform clinical examinations of skin roughness in treated and non-treated sites in the periorbital region of thirty human voluntaries who were using an anti-aging product commercially available: Natura Chronos® Flavonóides de Passiflora 45+ FPS15, from Natura Cosméticos, Brazil. Measurements were performed days 0, 7, 14 and 28 of treatment. Equipment and software allowed real-time recording of skin roughness parameters and wrinkle depths.

Results: The OCT measurements have allowed the monitoring of changes in skin roughness, which have shown reduction in treated sites around 10%. The obtained depth distributions also indicate reduction in the occurrence of wrinkles deeper than 170 μm. The verified results are consistent with those typically obtained after successful treatment with modern anti-aging products.

Conclusion: By using the OCT technique, it was possible to quantify changes in skin roughness and in the distribution of depths of skin wrinkles, with adequate sensitivity. OCT imaging allows the direct visualization of the skin topography with resolution of micrometers, a reliable and interactive tool for clinical use. Therefore, for the first time, we demonstrated the use of OCT technique to verify the efficacy of cosmetic products in real time.

Keywords: image analysis; optical coherence tomography; skin roughness measurements; wrinkle-reduction tests.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Topical
  • Adult
  • Drug Monitoring / methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Skin / cytology*
  • Skin / drug effects*
  • Skin Aging / drug effects*
  • Skin Aging / physiology*
  • Skin Cream / administration & dosage*
  • Tomography, Optical Coherence / methods*