Human skin color may be proximately analyzed by reflection spectrophotometry. The classic article on the subject of the pigments and color of living human skin was published by Edwards and Duntley1 just over 20 years ago. Relatively little on this subject has been written in the medical literature since that time. This particular paper reviews the pertinent physics2 involved in spectrophotometry; it emphasizes the importance of adequate controls; it reevaluates the pigments normally found in skin; and it discusses the spectrophotometric findings in several clinical cases of skin pigmentary disturbances.
Measurements of spectral reflections were made with the General Electric Spectrophotometer and with the Beckman DK-2 Spectroreflectometer. Both instruments are flexible in that they may be used to measure transmittance or reflectance accurately. In addition, the Beckman instrument may be used for studies in the ultraviolet and infrared spectral range.
It is more direct, and perhaps easier, to
BUCKLEY WR, GRUM F. Reflection Spectrophotometry: Use in Evaluation of Skin Pigmentary Disturbances. Arch Dermatol. 1961;83(2):249–261. doi:10.1001/archderm.1961.01580080079009
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