Facial aging is a progressive phenomenon known to be the cumulative result of intrinsic and extrinsic factors. It leads to changes in visible skin color due to the loss of vascular and pigmentation homogeneity, resulting in age spots, telangectasia, a sallow yellow color and loss of a pink glow. It also leads to changes in surface texture, with the appearance of fine lines progressing into deeper folds and creases, worsened by the loss of skin elasticity.1, 2 The type and severity of aging-associated skin changes and their time of occurrence and relative appearance differ among individuals. This is particularly visible when assessing different ethnic groups, as shown in various studies comparing aging processes in Caucasian women versus other skin types.3-5
It is difficult to clearly separate the participation of intrinsic vs. extrinsic factors in facial aging. Intrinsic factors include genetic traits such as melanin type, bone structure, skin texture and hormone homeostasis.6, 7 A variety of exogenous factors linked to lifestyle, including cultural inheritance and socio-economics, as well as adaptation to ecological and climatic conditions, have been described as responsible for impacting skin aging. UV exposure and smoking are the most understood and prominent accelerators.8, 9 Temperature and humidity also have been shown to influence aging. Seasonal changes in skin composition have been measured,10-12 and individuals having similar skin types but located in two different areas of the same country—thus exposed to different external factors—were shown to age differently.13 Therefore, the place and country of residence, closely associated with geographic and cultural environments, are overall key factors in understanding aging and its characteristics.
Although clinical signs of facial aging are well-characterized, investigations mostly have been performed in populations considered to have a Caucasian skin type. This characterization, in fact, refers predominantly to individuals of white skin living in Western Europe and North America.14, 15As of this writing, no data has been published on facial skin aging in Eastern European, in particular Russian, individuals. The objective of this study was, therefore, to assess and quantify 23 facial aging features (including wrinkle number and depth, skin texture and skin color) in Russian women ages 30 to 65 years, using severity grading and image analyses of high resolution standard photographs.