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Assessing skin pigmentation in epidemiological studies: The reliability of measurements under different conditions

: Uter, Wolfgang; Benz, Michaela; Mayr, Andreas; Gefeller, Olaf; Pfahlberg, Annette


Skin research and technology 19 (2013), No.2, pp.100-106
ISSN: 0909-752X
ISSN: 1397-1344
ISSN: 1600-0846
Journal Article
Fraunhofer IIS ()

Background/purpose: Different devices are used for the non-invasive measurement of (constitutive) skin pigmentation in (epidemiological) studies. Reproducibility of measurements with the Chromameter (CM, model CR 300, Minolta, Osaka) and the Reflectometer (RM, Courage & Khazaka, Cologne) has not yet been examined in detail and was addressed in a set of four experiments and studies respectively.
Methods: Regarding the CM, the Y value of the Yxy CIE 1931 colour system was utilized, representing lightness in this colour space, while the RM measured reflectance at 660 nm with a small bandwidth of 20 nm. Both devices measure reflectance on a scale from 0 to 100%, however, in different wavelength ranges. Between 3 and 20 repetitions were performed on standard grey scales and different sets of human volunteers, including RM measurements in a large epidemiological field study.
Results: While the coefficient of variation (V) increases and the intraclass correlation coefficient d ecreases from controlled laboratory to field conditions, reproducibility remained in a range considered acceptable, if adequate study conditions were maintained. In a direct comparison on human skin, V of the RM was significantly smaller than that of the CM.
Conclusion: Both devices can be used confidently in field studies; however, based on considerations of skin optics and in view of slightly lesser variability, the RM may be preferable.