Relationship between skin color and solar elastosis in aged Asian skin: A colorimetric-pathologic correlation

Microsc Res Tech. 2017 Oct;80(10):1073-1077. doi: 10.1002/jemt.22901. Epub 2017 Jun 11.


Aged skin is reported to be associated with unattractive skin color changes and solar elastosis. However, comparative studies have not documented the possible correlation between the two factors. This study investigated the plausible relationship between the facial skin color of elderly Asians and solar elastosis. A total of 22 skin specimens were collected from 22 Korean patients who underwent cheek skin biopsies. Skin color was quantitatively measured using colorimetric photography techniques to produce CIE L*a*b* values; the degree of solar elastosis was quantifiably assessed using a histologic grading scale. These values were used to investigate a correlation between the CIE L*a*b* coordinates and solar elastosis grade. The solar elastosis grade increased according to patient age (r = 0.67, p = .0006). However, the extent of solar elastosis was not statistically correlated with the CIE L*a*b* values, including L*, a*, and b* (r = 0.02, p = .95; r = 0.15, p = 0.50; r = -0.07, p = 0.76, respectively). The results showed that the solar elastosis grade increased, according to patient age, because of cumulative actinic damage. However, colorimetric skin color data did not correlate with the degree of solar elastosis. Therefore, cutaneous color changes and solar elastosis are separate, age-related phenomena. Physicians should be aware of the possible histologic changes in actinically damaged facial skin, regardless of the skin color.

Keywords: aged skin; colorimetric photography; skin color; solar elastosis.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Asian People*
  • Biopsy
  • Colorimetry
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Republic of Korea
  • Skin / pathology
  • Skin / radiation effects*
  • Skin Aging / pathology
  • Skin Aging / physiology*
  • Skin Pigmentation*