Skin changes with normal aging processes and the environmental factors we subject it to, such as cigarette smoke, toxic foods, and sunlight.

The most commonly recognised changes with age are fine lines, wrinkles and loss of skin tone or elasticity. But other changes also occur, some beneath the surface of the skin.


Changes in Skin Color with Age

Skin has optical depth, meaning our eyes perceive discolorations on the surface and in underlying layers. This discoloration can be subtle or overt. Changes such as uneven chromophore distribution and a decrease in light reflection can make the skin look older.

IIn particular, uneven distribution of one chromophore, melanin, is related to cumulative UV damage, and commonly iincreases perceived age.

The distribution of light reflecting molecules, called chromophores, correlates with perceived attractiveness. Chromophores directly affect how the human eye perceives qualities such as luminosity in young skin or dullness in aging skin.

Skin Aging Studies

In one ineresting study design to elicit what viewers judged as an attractive skin tone, or color, employed high-resolution digital images from 169 female subjects aged 10-70 years. Images from three angles: frontal, left and right profile or these subjects were enhanced digitally to remove potential age-defining features such as facial furrows, folds, lines and wrinkles at the mouth, nose and eye area. The resulting images were then fitted to a standardized virtual 3-D skull, where variables such as overall face shape, lighting, camera angle, eye color/form and hairstyle were eliminated, leaving composite skin pigmentation (tone) as the only variable.

Raters were asked to estimate the age of stimuli faces as well as answer questions relating to general attractiveness, health and skin attributes.

The results showed overwhelmingly that skin tone does have a significant impact on perceived age and attractiveness. This is interesting for the aging population who largely focus on skin product to remove wrinkles and spot pigmentation, but don't appear to concentrate to the same extent on skin tone.


Skin Changes with Age

Different changes occur at different age periods.

For information on Causes of Skin Aging