Skin reflectance relationships with temperature and skinfolds.


Skin reflectance measurements were taken with six filters at a site on the medial aspect of the upper arm (underarm) prior to and following topical application of a cold compress. Skinfolds were measured at the underarm and triceps sites. The experiment was designed to test for effects of skin surface temperature and subcutaneous fat variations on skin color as determined by reflectometry. Topical cold-induced erythema of the skin produced marked declines in % reflectance at the shorter visible wavelengths over the range of violet, blue, and green, and only slight declines in % reflectance at the longer visible wavelengths (red range). This is consistent with the observation from past work that there is little hemoglobin absorptance at the red end of the visible spectrum. A positive relationship between the change in % reflectance following topical cold application and underarm skinfold was recorded. Hence, the thickeness of fat deposits may contribute to variation in skin reflectance. Since only large temperature differences influenced skin reflectance measurements, the need is not great for fieldworkers to control for surface temperature at the underarm site during skin reflectance survey.

Cite this paper

@article{Little1980SkinRR, title={Skin reflectance relationships with temperature and skinfolds.}, author={Michael A. Little and C J Sprangel}, journal={American journal of physical anthropology}, year={1980}, volume={52 1}, pages={145-51} }