Changes in dermal papilla structures due to aging in the facial cheek region

Skin Res Technol. 2015 May;21(2):224-31. doi: 10.1111/srt.12180. Epub 2014 Aug 23.


Background/purpose: In the past, it has been possible to measure the dermal papilla structures which are undulations between the epidermis and dermis by noninvasive method. However, almost all of previous studies were not intended to measure facial skin but another site of body. Here, we investigated age-dependent alterations for dermal papilla structures in the facial cheek region after elucidating the difference of characteristics between the body site.

Methods: The surface of the dermis was observed under scanning electron microscope (SEM) using face and abdominal skin biopsy samples. A total of 90 Japanese women were investigated by in vivo confocal laser microscope (CLSM). The number and the shape in the horizontal cross-sectional images of the dermal papilla were analyzed.

Results: The facial skin had different characteristics in comparison to the abdominal skin by SEM observation. Under CLSM observation, we found abnormal dermal papilla structures which were accompanied by spots or enlarged pore areas and eliminated these structures from our analysis. We revealed a decrease in the number of normal dermal papilla structures with age and large individual differences at younger ages.

Conclusion: We found abnormal dermal papilla structures and differences in the dermal papilla structures between face and other body site. With these taken into consideration, we could precisely investigate the aging alteration of normal dermal papilla structures in the face.

Keywords: aging; dermal papilla structures; face skin; in vivo confocal laser; microscope.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cheek / anatomy & histology*
  • Cheek / physiology*
  • Dermis / physiology*
  • Dermis / ultrastructure*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Skin / ultrastructure*
  • Skin Aging / physiology*
  • Young Adult