Mapping facial skin in terms of its biophysical properties plays a fundamental role in many practical applications, including, among others, forensics, medical and beauty treatments, and cosmetic and restorative surgery. In this paper we present an in vivo evaluation of the water content, trans-epidermial water loss and skin thickness in six areas of the human face: cheeks, chin, forehead, lips, neck and nose. The experiments were performed on a population of healthy subjects through innovative sensing devices which enable fast yet accurate evaluations of the above parameters. A statistical analysis was carried out to determine significant differences between the facial areas investigated and clusters of statistically-indistinguishable areas. We found that water content was higher in the cheeks and neck and lower in the lips, whereas trans-epidermal water loss had higher values for the lips and lower ones for the neck. In terms of thickness the dermis exhibited three clusters, which, from thickest to thinnest were: chin and nose, cheek and forehead and lips and neck. The epidermis showed the same three clusters too, but with a different ordering in term of thickness. Finally, the stratum corneum presented two clusters: the thickest, formed by lips and neck, and the thinnest, formed by all the remaining areas. The results of this investigation can provide valuable guidelines for the evaluation of skin moisturisers and other cosmetic products, and can help guide choices in re-constructive/cosmetic surgery.
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