Author(s): Boyer G, Laquize L, Le Bot A, Laquize S, Zahouani H
BACKGROUND/PURPOSE: Knowledge of the mechanical properties of the human skin is very important for cosmetic and clinical research. Objective and quantitative measurements are essential to compare studies performed by different experimenters in different centres. The aim of this paper is to present a method to measure the viscoelastic properties of human skin in vivo using dynamic indentation.
METHODS: A complete device to assess the stiffness and damping of skin has been developed. The frequency and strain amplitude range from 10 to 60 Hz and from 1 to 10 mum. Tests on pure elastic inert materials have been performed to validate the device. An in vivo study including dynamic indentation, suction test, hydration measurement and topographic analysis has been performed on 46 subjects aged from 18 to 70 years, divided into three groups.
RESULTS: Results on inert materials show the validity of the device developed. The mechanical behaviour of the skin can be described by a Kelvin-Voight model under dynamic indentation. A comparison with a suction test, hydration and topographic measurements shows that the stiffness and the damping measured by dynamic indentation correspond mainly to the natural tense state of the skin on the body due to the dermis. A weak correlation has been found between dynamic indentation and suction parameters. The complex modulus measured by dynamic indentation at 10 Hz frequency stress ranges from 7.2 +/- 2.1 kPa for the oldest group to 10.7 +/- 2.6 kPa for the youngest group.
CONCLUSION: The device presented gives convincing results. The measurement of stiffness and damping complements the viscoelastic phenomenological parameters of the suction test.