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Background: Although one clinical sign of aging and/or photoaging is a yellowish discoloration of the facial skin, little is known about the cause of this change. In addition to the increase in the epidermal melanin content, it has been suggested that advanced glycation end products (AGEs), which are known to accumulate in photoaged skin, may affect this discoloration. Aim: The objective of this pilot study was to non-invasively investigate the roles of melanin and AGEs in this yellowish discoloration of the facial skin. Methods: We examined the spectral reflectance at the cheek in 40 healthy Japanese women of various ages (mean age, 38.1 years) using a reflectance spectrophotometer and a spectrofluorimeter. The degree of yellowish tint was evaluated in terms of b*. The amount of melanin in the skin was evaluated by calculating the melanin index (MI) A640–A670 [A: log10 (1/reflectance) at a wavelength of ]. The amount of AGEs was roughly evaluated using the AGEs index, which is thought to linearly correlate with the amount of intrinsic fluorescence markers irrespective of the concentration of melanin and is defined as follows: AGEs index=I5/SQR (I1×I2). In this equation, the intensities of reflectance are I1 at an excitation wavelength of 335 nm, I2 at an emission wavelength of 390 nm and I5 at 390 nm under an excitation wavelength of 335 nm. Results: Both b* and the AGEs index were significantly correlated with subject age (r=0.34, P<0.05 and r=0.68, P<0.0001, respectively). Significant correlations were also observed between MI and b* (r=0.63, P<0.0001) and between the AGEs index and b* (r=0.53, P<0.0005). However, no significant correlations were seen between MI and the AGEs index. Conclusion: The AGEs index does not appear to be influenced by the amount of melanin and may be utilized as an indicator of the amount of AGEs in the skin. AGEs are likely to play a role in the yellowish discoloration of skin with aging.
POLA Laboratories, POLA Chemical Industries Inc., Yokohama, Japan, 2:
Takiwaki Dermatology Clinic, Wakayama, Japan 3:
First Department of Dermatology, School of Medicine, Toho University, Tokyo, Japan, and