A plea for standardization of confocal microscopy and optical coherence tomography parameters to evaluate physiological and para-physiological skin conditions in cosmetic science

Silvana Ciardo, Claudia Pezzini, Stefania Guida, Ester Del Duca, Jonathan Ungar, Emma Guttman-Yassky, Marco Manfredini, Francesca Farnetani, Caterina Longo, Giovanni Pellacani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

Non-invasive reflectance confocal microscopy (RCM) and optical coherence tomography (OCT) have been extended to the dermo-cosmetic field, for skin pathophysiology understanding and therapeutics monitoring. However, standardized methodology and parameters to interpret structures and changes in these settings are still lacking. Present study aimed to propose a validated standard methodology and a list of defined parameters for objective non-pathological skin assessments in the cosmetically sensitive cheekbone area of the face. OCT and RCM quantitative, semi-quantitative and qualitative features were considered for assessments. Validation process included 50 sets of images divided into two age groups. Inter-rater reliability was explored to assess the influence of the proposed methodology. Quantitative OCT parameters of “epidermal thickness,” “density and attenuation coefficients” and “vascular density” were considered and calculated. Severity scales were developed for semi-quantitative OCT features of “disruption of collagen” and “vascular asset,” while extent scales were produced for semi-quantitative RCM “irregular honeycomb,” “mottled pigmentation” and “polycyclic papillary contours.” Qualitative assessment was obtained for RCM type of collagen, and comparison between age groups was performed for all features considered. Severity visual scales assistance proved excellent inter-rater agreement across all semi-quantitative and qualitative domains. The assistance of shareable software systems allows for objective OCT quantitative parameters measurement. The use of standard reference scales, within a defined assessment methodology, offers high inter-rater reliability and thus reproducibility for semi-quantitative and qualitative OCT and RCM parameters. Taken together, our results may represent a starting point for a standardized application of RCM and OCT in dermo-cosmetic research and practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)911-922
Number of pages12
JournalExperimental Dermatology
Volume30
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2021

Keywords

  • cosmetic
  • evaluation methodology
  • optical coherence tomography
  • reflectance confocal microscopy
  • skin

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