Defining Skin Quality: Clinical Relevance, Terminology, and Assessment

Dermatol Surg. 2021 Jul 1;47(7):974-981. doi: 10.1097/DSS.0000000000003079.


Background: Flawless skin is one of the most universally desired features, and demand for improvements in skin quality is growing rapidly. Skin quality has been shown to substantially impact emotional health, quality of life, self-perception, and interactions with others. Although skin quality improvements are a common end point in studies of cosmeceuticals, they are rarely assessed in clinical studies of other aesthetic treatments and products. Descriptive terminology for skin quality parameters also varies considerably within the aesthetic field, relying on a range of redundant and occasionally contradictory descriptors. In short, skin quality has not been clearly defined.

Objective: The goal of this review is to highlight the importance of skin quality to patients and physicians, explore known and unknown factors comprising skin quality, and provide clarity regarding terminology, descriptors, and evaluation tools for assessing skin quality.

Materials and methods: A review of the literature on skin quality was performed without limitation on publication date. Relevant articles are presented.

Results and conclusion: We propose a framework of attributes contributing to skin quality rooted in 3 fundamental categories-visible, mechanical, and topographical-with the aim to provide information to help guide clinicians and inform future clinical studies.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Esthetics
  • Humans
  • Skin* / anatomy & histology
  • Terminology as Topic