Facial pigmentation as a biomarker of carotid atherosclerosis in middle-aged to elderly healthy Japanese subjects

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Perceived age may be a better predictor of mortality rate than chronological age. We have demonstrated that perceived age was a significant biomarker for carotid atherosclerosis in Japanese. However, it remains to be determined which skin parameter is associated with atherosclerosis. The purpose of this study is to analyze the relationship between 10 facial skin-aging parameters and atherosclerosis in 169 middle-aged to elderly Japanese women who participated.


Facial photographs were taken under a shadowless lamp from three directions using a high-resolution digital camera. The digital images of each subject were analyzed using computer software and various parameters of skin aging such as pigmentation, wrinkles, and skin color were quantified. Carotid intima-media thickness (IMT) and brachial-ankle pulse wave velocity (baPWV) were measured as indices for atherosclerosis.


Facial pigmentation showed a significant correlation with carotid IMT, even after correction for age (r = 0.13, P = 0.03), and with visceral fat area. Stepwise regression analysis indicated that facial pigmentation was associated with carotid IMT via visceral fat area.


Facial pigmentation may be a useful biomarker for carotid atherosclerosis in Japanese women.

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