Skin is a complex multi-layered tissue, with highly non-linear viscoelastic and anisotropic properties. Thus far, a few studies have been performed to directly measure the mechanical properties of three distinguished individual skin layers; epidermis, dermis and hypodermis. These studies however, suffer from several disadvantages such as skin damage due to separation, and disruption of the complex multi-layered composition. In addition, most studies are limited to linear shear measurements, i.e. measurements with small linear deformations (also called small amplitude oscillatory shear experiments), whereas in daily life skin can experience high strains, due to for example shaving or walking. To get around these disadvantages and to measure the non-linear mechanical (shear) behavior, we used through-plane human skin to measure large amplitude oscillatory shear (LAOS) deformation up to a strain amplitude of 0.1. LAOS deformation was combined with real-time image recording and subsequent digital image correlation and strain field analysis to determine skin layer deformations. Results demonstrated that deformation at large strains became highly non-linear by showing intra-cycle strain stiffening and inter-cycle shear thinning. Digital image correlation revealed that dynamic shear moduli gradually decreased from 8 kPa at the superficial epidermal layer down to a stiffness of 2 kPa in the dermis. From the results we can conclude that, from a mechanical point of view, skin should be considered as a complex composite with gradually varying shear properties rather than a three layered tissue.
|Number of pages||9|
|Journal||Journal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials|
|Publication status||Published - 2013|