1. A method is presented for the measurement of the elasticity of human skin in vivo. A simple suction cup device is applied to the intact skin and the distortion produced in response to pre-determined negative pressures recorded. By the use of appropriate formulae stress and strain may be calculated and a stress/strain curve drawn, the gradient of which represents the elastic modulus for intact skin.
2. The test, which is simple to perform and entirely innocuous to the patient, has been shown to achieve acceptable standards of accuracy and reproducibility.
3. In the present study, the physiological variation in skin elasticity that occurs in respect of age, sex and pregnancy is investigated and the implications concerning the physiological changes that occur in skin collagen discussed.