Surface Contour: Variability, Significance and Measurement
The surface of the skin is not only the part which we all see, but the barrier between ourselves and the environment. Subtle changes in this layer are therefore important from a pathological, physiological and cosmetic point of view. The organization of the stratum corneum is discussed elsewhere in this book, but here we will consider the methods available for the measurement of its free surface and what the measurements imply. In doing so it is important to understand the factors which contribute to the profile of the skin. Three orders of variation exist which may be thought of as three wavelengths. The longest of these is associated with the major skin furrows and ’wrinkles’. Superimposed upon this are smaller frequency variations due to local arrangement of the corneocytes. At the submicroscopic level there are also variations in the surface of the corneocytes themselves. However, there are other factors which do not affect the actual contour but influence an observer’s impression of ’roughness’ or ’scaliness’. These include skin colour, skin lipid composition and distribution, etc. and will not be dealt with here save to mention their contribution to the subjective analysis of skin contour.
KeywordsStratum Corneum Skin Surface Surface Contour Maximum Peak Height Skin Analogue
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