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Richard Russell, Alex Jones, Aurélie Porcheron; Facial contrast affects the perception of skin homogeneity and wrinkles . Journal of Vision 2016;16(12):495. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/16.12.495.
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Introduction Several age-related facial features are contrast-related. Among these are skin homogeneity (the evenness of the reflectance properties of the skin surface), wrinkles, and facial contrast (the color and luminance differences between facial features and surrounding skin). With age, wrinkles increase, skin becomes less homogeneous, and facial contrast decreases. Both skin homogeneity and facial contrast are increased by makeup. We observed anecdotally that faces with increased facial contrast (both in images and in live faces with cosmetics applied to the facial features) appeared to have more even skin tone and/or smaller wrinkles. Following these observations, we experimentally tested the hypothesis that facial contrast affects the perception of skin homogeneity and wrinkles. Methods We artificially increased or decreased facial contrast using Photoshop in full-face images of 30 women aged 21 – 59. Critically, the manipulations of facial contrast changed the color of the facial features but not the skin, which was identical in the two conditions. Sixty-six observers gave ratings on 1-7 Likert scales of skin evenness and wrinkling. Results There were clear effects of facial contrast. Faces with increased facial contrast were rated as having skin that was significantly more even and less wrinkled. Unsurprisingly, there were also clear effects of face age, with older faces being rated as having skin that was significantly less even and more wrinkled. There was no interaction between facial contrast and face age. Conclusions These findings support the hypothesis that facial contrast affects the appearance of skin homogeneity and wrinkles. This may shed new light on the visual effects of makeup. By increasing facial contrast, makeup may reduce the appearance of spots and wrinkles. Spots, blemishes, and wrinkles all increase the visual contrast of skin texture. We speculate that the phenomenon observed here is related to contrast gain control or contrast adaptation.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2016
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