Proposed shade guide for human facial skin and lip: A pilot study

Alvin G. Wee, Mark W. Beatty, David J. Gozalo-Diaz, Seungyee Kim-Pusateri, David B. Marx

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Statement of problem Currently, no commercially available facial shade guide exists in the United States for the fabrication of facial prostheses. Purpose The purpose of this study was to measure facial skin and lip color in a human population sample stratified by age, gender, and race. Clustering analysis was used to determine optimal color coordinates for a proposed facial shade guide. Material and methods Participants (n=119) were recruited from 4 racial/ethnic groups, 5 age groups, and both genders. Reflectance measurements of participants' noses and lower lips were made by using a spectroradiometer and xenon arc lamp with a 45/0 optical configuration. Repeated measures ANOVA (α=.05), to identify skin and lip color differences, resulting from race, age, gender, and location, and a hierarchical clustering analysis, to identify clusters of skin colors) were used. Results Significant contributors to L*a*b* facial color were race and facial location (P<.01). b* affected all factors (P<.05). Age affected only b* (P<.001), while gender affected only L* (P<.05) and b* (P<.05). Analyses identified 5 clusters of skin color. Conclusions The study showed that skin color caused by age and gender primarily occurred within the yellow-blue axis. A significant lightness difference between gender groups was also found. Clustering analysis identified 5 distinct skin shade tabs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)82-89
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Prosthetic Dentistry
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2013
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Supported by grants No. R15 (EY013527) and K23 (DE016890) from the National Institutes of Health and a grant from The Editorial Council of The Journal of Prosthetic Dentistry Awards and Grants Program.


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