Viscoelastic Properties of Human Facial Skin and Comparisons with Facial Prosthetic Elastomers

Mark W. Beatty, Alvin G. Wee, David B. Marx, Lauren Ridgway, Bobby Simetich, Thiago Carvalho De Sousa, Kevin Vakilzadian, Joel Schulte

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Prosthesis discomfort and a lack of skin-like quality is a source of patient dissatisfaction with facial prostheses. To engineer skin-like replacements, knowledge of the differences between facial skin properties and those for prosthetic materials is essential. This project measured six viscoelastic properties (percent laxity, stiffness, elastic deformation, creep, absorbed energy, and percent elasticity) at six facial locations with a suction device in a human adult population equally stratified for age, sex, and race. The same properties were measured for eight facial prosthetic elastomers currently available for clinical usage. The results showed that the prosthetic materials were 1.8 to 6.4 times higher in stiffness, 2 to 4 times lower in absorbed energy, and 2.75 to 9 times lower in viscous creep than facial skin (p < 0.001). Clustering analyses determined that facial skin properties fell into three groups—those associated with body of ear, cheek, and remaining locations. This provides baseline information for designing future replacements for missing facial tissues.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2023
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 by the authors.


  • elasticity
  • face
  • maxillofacial prosthesis
  • siloxanes
  • skin aging
  • viscoelastic substances

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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