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Measuring the Thermal Properties of the Human Skin In-Vivo

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The thermal transport properties of tissue (i.e., density, heat capacity, heat conductivity, and perfusion) reflect physical/chemical states of the skin, and thus may yield information relevant to clinical medicine, basic skin physiology research and cosmetic/aesthetic applications. Nonetheless, measuring in-vivo these thermal properties is technically challenging and requires the implementation of complex heat transfer models to extract valuable parameters from experimental data. In addition, very little information exists to quantitatively evaluate the relationship between thermal transport properties of the skin and relevant physiological parameters such as hydration, vascularization or structure. Based on these findings, we proposed a simple approach where the skin surface is not warmed but cooled by physical contact with a thermal reservoir having a lower temperature than the skin, a high thermal conductivity and heat capacity.