Objective: To determine the facial signs that most influence the perception of age in women of five different ethnic ancestries, assessed by a same ethnical naïve panel.
Materials and methods: The faces of 1,351 women, differently-aged (18-80 years), from five countries (China, France, India, Japan & South Africa) were photographed under same standardized conditions in the five countries. 14 to 24 facial signs (grouped under 5 clusters, i.e. Wrinkles/Texture, Ptosis/Sagging, Pigmentation disorders, Vascular disorders and Cheeks skin pores) were focused and their respective severities were graded using referential Skin Aging Atlases by the same panel of 15 experts and dermatologists. Five naïve panels, all comprising 100 local women, allowed to collect the perceived age, assessed from blind coded full-face photographs.
Results: Although perceived ages and real ages were found highly correlated, their differences vary according to ethnicities, particularly among a large part of Indian and South African women, judged older by about 5 and 7 years, respectively. Results show that the cluster of Wrinkles/Texture and Ptosis/Sagging are predominant factors taken into account in almost all ethnicities, albeit at various extents, reaching almost 100 % in French women. Pigmentation disorders appear important secondary factors in Japanese, South-African and Indian women. Vascular disorders, of a difficult grading in darker skin tones were found of some impact in Japanese and Chinese women. Cheek skin pores were of minor or nil weight in the attribution of age, at the exception of South-African women. Regarding facial areas which drive aging perception it seems the upper-half face has prevalence for Chinese and Japanese women whereas the lower-half face has major importance for South-African women.
Conclusion: Facial traits are differently perceived as signs of aging according to un-separable ethnic ancestries and cultural factors.
Keywords: Apparent age; Ethnicities; Facial signs; Skin Aging Atlas.
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