Indian Journal of Dermatology
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Year : 2011  |  Volume : 56  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 19-24

Effect of age on the biomechanical and microcirculatory properties of the skin in healthy individuals and during venous ulceration

College of Applied Medical Sciences, Department of Radiologic Sciences, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Correspondence Address:
Essam H Mattar
Department of Radiologic Sciences, College of Applied Medical Sciences, King Saud University, P.O. Box 10219, Riyadh 11433
Saudi Arabia
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0019-5154.77545

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Background: With aging there is alteration of elastic properties of the skin and skin-blood flow. Aim: The purpose of this study was to compare age-related changes in selected biomechanical parameters of the skin (skin hardness, skin extensibility, relaxation time constant, τ) and subcutaneous microcirculatory quality (SMQ) in individuals with and without venous diseases. Materials and Methods: Two groups were studied: the first group was of asymptomatic healthy individuals and the second group included patients with chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) and venous ulceration, without edema. Both groups were subdivided to three age categories (21-40, 41-60 and 61-90 years old). Skin hardness was measured by durometer, extensibility and τ were measured using extensometer and SQM was assessed via postural vasoconstrictive response (LDF). Results: Results showed that skin hardness, extensibility, and τ-values were increased, whereas LDF was decreased in the older groups as compared with younger groups. These changes are attributed to alterations in the skin structure and reduced capillaries density networks. Similar behavior was found in the biomechanical and microcirculatory changes in patients with venous ulceration and CVI, but these changes were more increased further in older patients with venous ulceration as compared with older patients with CVI and that can be attribute to more intense response against tissue injury. Conclusions: Since aging elevated skin hardness and extensibility, but lowered vasoconstrictive response in individuals, with and without, venous diseases, we conclude that aging process is likely to cause an accumulation of damaged skin tissues and that could induce an apparent antigen-driven response that altered skin structure and the subsequent biomechanical properties obtained in this study.

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