Chronological skin aging is associated with flattening of the dermal-epidermal junction (DEJ), but to date no quantitative analysis focusing on the aging changes in the dermal papillae (DP) has been performed. The aim of the study is to determine the architectural changes and the collagen density related to chronological aging in the dermal papilla zone (DPZ) by in vivo harmonic generation microscopy (HGM) with a sub-femtoliter spatial resolution. We recruited 48 Asian subjects and obtained in vivo images on the sun-protected volar forearm. Six parameters were defined to quantify 3D morphological changes of the DPZ, which we analyzed both manually and computationally to study their correlation with age. The depth of DPZ, the average height of isolated DP, and the 3D interdigitation index decreased with age, while DP number density, DP volume, and the collagen density in DP remained constant over time. In vivo high-resolution HGM technology has uncovered chronological agingrelated variations in DP, and sheds light on real-time quantitative skin fragility assessment and disease diagnostics based on collagen density and morphology.
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