Reliability and Validity of a Photographic Method for Measuring Facial Hair Density in Men | Dermatology | JAMA Dermatology | JAMA Network
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Research Letter
Nov 2011

Reliability and Validity of a Photographic Method for Measuring Facial Hair Density in Men

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Departments of Dermatology (Mss Wan and Steinemann and Drs Abuabara, Kurd, Musiek, Vittorio, and Gelfand) and Internal Medicine (Drs Abuabara and Kurd) and Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics (Dr Gelfand), University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, Philadelphia; and Philadelphia VA Medical Center, Philadelphia (Dr Musiek). Dr Musiek is now with the Department of Dermatology, Washington University, St Louis, Missouri; Ms Steinemann is now with Drexel University College of Medicine, Philadelphia.

Arch Dermatol. 2011;147(11):1328-1329. doi:10.1001/archdermatol.2011.332

Many studies have investigated hair removal or growth prevention treatments, but they often measure hair density using noninvasive methods that are subjective and qualitative.1 Although photographic and digital hair-counting methods have been used, their reliability and validity remain unknown.2 We describe a simple, noninvasive method of hair counting used in a hair growth prevention treatment trial and assess its reliability and validity.

The data are from the first 14 healthy men consecutively enrolled in a randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial of a topical agent for hair growth prevention. Eligible subjects were required to shave at least once daily to avoid a beard with hair length visible above the skin line and to have a baseline physician global assessment (PGA) score for hair density of 4 or 5 in the beard area. The PGA was developed by us for the larger clinical trial as a visual analog scale for rating hair density by overall impression (Figure).