Evaluation and characterization of facial skin aging using optical coherence tomography

Nicole R. Vingan, Shyon Parsa, Jennifer Barillas, Abby Culver, Jeffrey M. Kenkel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Objectives: The skin aging exposome encompasses internal and external factors that contribute to clinical signs of facial aging. Aging skin can be characterized by distinctive features such as wrinkles, lentigines, elastosis, and roughness. Optical coherence tomography (OCT) is capable of noninvasively measuring skin characteristics. This study aimed to assess bilateral features using OCT to explore temporal skin changes among decades and potential changes in facial skin aging based on laterality. Methods: A total of 97 subjects between 20 and 89 years old with Fitzpatrick skin types I to IV were enrolled. VivoSight, a Multi-Beam OCT system intended to gather topographical and histological images of skin, was used to scan the area inferolateral to the lateral canthus, bilaterally. Investigators compared characteristics of skin roughness, attenuation coefficient and blood flow across age groups and based on laterality to determine any differences. Results: Only data from successful OCT scans were used. Seventy subjects, 10 from each specified decade, had successful bilateral scans and were thus included in the analysis. Chronological aging was characterized by significantly decreased dermal attenuation coefficient with increased age. Skin roughness measurements showed trends of increased roughness with age; however, no statistically significant changes were seen between groups. Qualitative differences amongst scans taken on right and left sides of the face showed no significance regarding roughness, density or blood flow at depths ranging from 0.05 to 0.5 mm. Conclusions: OCT is an effective method for evaluating changes in aging skin. Our results illustrate a decline in skin density with chronological age. Additionally, it was illustrated that structural change in the epidermis and dermis does occur, however on a microscopic scale, there are no significant differences based on laterality. OCT holds promise as a noninvasive technique for characterization of aging skin. Its utility and application in the clinical management and treatment of aged skin requires further research; however, the technology has potential to personalize therapies based on objective findings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)22-34
Number of pages13
JournalLasers in Surgery and Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2023


  • esthetic medicine
  • facial aging
  • noninvasive skin imaging
  • optical coherence tomography
  • skin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Dermatology


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