Science

The 6 Parameters of Skin Radiance

October 21, 2022

Scientifically reviewed by

Liyuan Ji

Lead Formulation Chemist at Revea, Masters in Pharmaceutical Science

How do we measure something so abstract as radiance?

It turns out that ineffable, lit-from-within glow, is surprisingly quantifiable.

Our Precision Skin Analysis evaluates both visible and invisible skin characteristics with gold standard equipment in imaging technology. Using over 100 million data points, we break down radiance into trackable metrics in 6 key parameters: Hydration, Skin Tone, Skin Texture, Energy Supply, Skin Milieu, and Dermal Fibers. These core parameters combine to form the Skin Radiance Score. It’s a reflection of your skin’s health, its vitality, and its well-being. This is how you measure radiance.

Now let’s get granular into those parameters that reveal what’s going on beneath the skin.

Hydration

Our skin sits at the intersection of the body and the environment. The skin barrier not only protects the body from intruders, but it also guards a very valuable resource: water. You may have heard before that 50-75% of your body is composed of water. To that end, the average person loses about 8 cups of water daily, 15-30% of which is lost by evaporation through the skin1. The health of your skin barrier is crucial to ensure protection against excessive water loss.

We measure your skin hydration levels through multiple subcategories because the root causes of skin dehydration can vary widely. We begin with the water content at the skin surface, followed by the health of the skin barrier. We evaluate the trans-epidermal water loss, or TEWL—a key measure of how well the skin barrier is retaining water, as opposed to evaporating away moisture. Other factors that come into play are the rate of cell proliferation and renewal, as well as sebum production, or the amount of natural oil produced by the skin to moisturize itself.

Sure, water intake is important, but we can do more than that. By understanding the specific biological causes of skin dehydration from your hydration score, we can find concrete, custom solutions.

Skin Tone

We measure skin tone by the consistency of melanin, or pigment, distribution in the skin. An uneven skin tone may show up as dark or light spots, or scarring. In the Precision Skin Analysis, unevenness is broken down into hyperpigmentation, UV spots, and DUEC.

Hyperpigmentation is defined as an increase or excess of natural pigment of the skin2. This darkening of the skin is often post-inflammatory, or in response to injury3. This injury can encompass anything from contact dermatitis, allergic reactions, acne, sunburn, or even an accidental scratch.

Skin Texture (or “Surface Texture”)

Smooth texture allows for even scattering of light at the skin surface.

We quantify smoothness using technologies like parallel polarized imaging to measure how uniform and tightly arranged the top layers of the skin really are. This gives us a hyper-detailed look into the pore size, PH, and texture (lines, wrinkles).

Generally, surface texture can be improved by water intake and facilitating the removal of dead skin cells via desquamation, or exfoliation. The right balance of skin lipid composition and unclogged pores will ensure smoothness of the skin.

Energy Supply

Energy Supply is a measure of your skin’s ability to rejuvenate and convert oxygen into biological energy without oxidative damage. What we mean by that is the skin’s capacity to heal and repair. To arrive at a score for energy supply, we measure the oxidative damage, oxygen saturation, and UV damage that exists in the skin. Energy is essential for your skin to be able to defend itself from inflammation, UV, and pollution, which can result in unwanted pigmentation.

We use Spatial Frequency Domain Imaging (SFDI) to check if your skin is receiving adequate levels of nutrients and oxygen. Oxygen saturation level in the blood indicates the flow of microcirculation. Conversely, low energy supply from lack of oxygen saturation and compromised mitochondrial health can lead to visible dullness and fatigue, the typical blueish dark under-eye circles, or a more grey-yellowish skin tone (particularly prevalent in smokers).

Skin Milieu

A “milieu” is defined as the surroundings, or environment; the blood and lymph in which the cells are bathed4. In short, skin milieu is the skin’s microenvironment, that encompasses everything from the micro-vasculature system that provides skin with nutrients to the microbiome.

The redness of our skin tone is determined by our skin milieu, or the skin’s microenvironment. The health of the micro-vascular system of the skin’s microbiome. The subcategories are breakouts, nutrient flow, and inflammation. Signs of an unbalanced environment run the gamut include breakouts, sensitivity and reactions, dark under-eye circles, acne, and post-inflammation.

Dermal Fibers

Dermal fibers impacts the skin’s firmness and wrinkles. Skin that is prone to sagging, wrinkling, or scarring, would indicate a deficiency in dermal fibers.

Dermal fibers are a measure of the collagen-elastin matrix that also indicate the skin’s ability to heal and repair. The collagen elastin network of fibers, located in the deeper layers of the skin, provide not only structure support, but also enhance the effect of radiance by scattering light back to the surface.

The subcategories by which we measure dermal fibers are the collagen and elastin matrix, fibroblast proliferation, and wound healing capacity.

In Conclusion

These six parameters (and their corresponding subcategories) form the building blocks of skin radiance and provide an invaluable framework for a common language. With these metrics, each individual is empowered to track their own skin journeys, and properly evaluate the efficacy of their routines.

References

  • [1] Dmitrieva NI, Burg MB. Increased insensible water loss contributes to aging related dehydration. PLoS One. 2011;6(5):e20691. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0020691.
  • [2] hyperpigmentation. In: Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine. The Gale Group, Inc; 2008. Accessed June 22, 2022. https://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/hyperpigmentation
  • [3] Draelos ZK, Thaman LA, eds. Formulation for Special Populations. In: Cosmetic Formulation of Skin Care Products. Cosmetic science and technology. Taylor & Francis; 2006:27-34.
  • [4] milieu. (n.d.) Miller-Keane Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing, and Allied Health, Seventh Edition. (2003). Retrieved June 20 2022 from https://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/milieu

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