RCTS utilizes a wide range of state-of-the-art biophysical instruments and methods to help you support product claims and performance. Studies are conducted in our temperature- and humidity-controlled bioinstrumentation laboratory to substantiate a wide variety of cosmetic and personal care product claims with standard and custom protocols.

RCTS has the biophysical instruments designed to measure properties of the skin, such as moisture content, evaporative water loss, skin oils, skin color, skin pH, and dimensions of facial fine lines, wrinkles and much more. All of these instruments are non-invasive and, as such, pose no safety risk to patients or subjects when used to measure changes in skin attributes.

The following are the skin attributes that we are able to assess using biophysical instruments:
  • Skin barrier integrity
  • Moisturization
  • Elasticity or suppleness
  • pH
  • Oiliness
  • Dryness
  • Skin color
  • Fine lines and wrinkles
  • Acne
  • Age spots (hyper- and hypopigmentation)

The following are the biophysical instruments used to assess changes in these skin attributes:

Clinical Photography – VISIA-CR Booth (Canfield Scientific)

Clinical photography ranks among the most important tools of the clinical research scientist for assessing changes in skin attributes, particularly those that are visible under normal white light or that are best visualized using specialized lighting conditions such cross-polarized, parallel-polarized or UV fluorescence. Obtaining high-quality photographic images of clinical subjects has always represented challenges to clinical testing facilities. However, with advances in digital photography and with the advent of a compact “photo booth” for facial photography, high-quality, digital facial photographs can now be obtained under highly reproducible conditions of lighting and positioning. The VISIA-CR booth essentially guarantees that lighting and positioning will be reproduced nearly identically each time the patient or subject visits the testing facility.

At RCTS, we use the Canfield VISIA-CR Photobooth coupled with Nikon or other digital cameras fitted with appropriate lighting filters for cross-polarized, parallel-polarized or UV fluorescence. These tools are ideal for photodocumenting changes in surface, subsurface and pigmentation facial features, such as wrinkles, fine lines, acne, pores, age spots and other pigmentary changes or disorders.

General Purpose White Light

Good for use as the typical “clinical” photo. It provides balanced cross-lighting for good subjective evaluation of most skin features.

Cross-Polarized Photography

For superior visualization of sub-surface details such as vascular lesions, pigmentation, etc.

Parallel-Polarized Photography

For superior visualization of topographical features such as wrinkles, fine lines, pores, etc.

UV Fluorescence

Fluorescence photography enhances visibility of pigment features that absorb UV light. It is useful for evaluating conditions such as vitiligo, age spots and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH)

Image Analysis – Image Pro Software

Using images from the VISIA-CR, image analysis is used for providing quantitative length, width, depth and volume changes of wrinkles or size changes of age spots or pores.



The Tewameter is used to measure transepidermal water loss (TEWL), which is a measure of the integrity of the skin barrier. The Tewameter evaluates the water barrier function of the skin and is able to determine slight damage in the skin water barrier at early stages. The measurements are performed by the application of a probe to the skin surface for up to 60 seconds as the water evaporation rate (g/h/m2) is obtained.


Nova DPM 9003

The DPM 9003 measures skin hydration indirectly via electrical impedance.


The Corneometer is used to determine the hydration level of the superficial layers of the skin (stratum corneum) via the measurement of skin capacitance.


The Skicon measures the hydration level of skin through conductance.



The Cutometer measures the viscoelastic properties (elasticity, firmness, tonicity and suppleness) of the skin. A negative pressure is created in the device as the skin is drawn into a 2 mm aperture of the probe. Firmness is shown in the resistance of the skin to the negative pressure, and elasticity is shown in the skin’s ability to return to its original position.


Skin pH Meter

This instrument is used to analyze the pH levels on the surface of the skin or the scalp.



The Sebumeter obtains skin sebum measurements (skin surface, lipids) by applying a special purpose film to the skin area and determining the film transparency variations spectrophotometrically.


Sebutape is used to measure sebum production and is used to obtain pore patterns, which provide a record of size and distribution of sebum droplets. Sebutape consists of a hydrophobic, polymeric film that is sealed to the skin for the collection of sebum. This method is convenient for estimating the effect of topical and oral drugs, which influences the physiology of the sebaceous glands.


Minolta Chroma Meter CR-300

The chromameter measures color of the skin surface. This property enables the chromameter to be used to measure the stratum corneum turnover (DHA assay) and changes in skin color that may result from application of topical products.



D-Squame sampling is used to evaluate corneocyte levels by using a specialized, transparent, adhesive disk on the skin surface. The corneocytes are analyzed using a grading scale.


Replica Analysis

Skin replicas are placed onto a concentric special carrier frame that is then placed in a slide projector between a light source and a camera. This replica analysis technique offers a short processing time and direct visual control on the computer display.