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Spectral reflectance variability of skin and attributing factors



Catherine C. Cooksey, Benjamin K. Tsai, David W. Allen


Knowledge of the spectral reflectance signature of human skin over a wide spectral range will help advance the development of sensing systems for many applications, ranging from medical treatment to security technology. A critical component of the signature of human skin is the variability across the population. We describe a simple measurement method to measure human skin reflectance of the inside of the forearm. The variability of the reflectance spectra for a number of subjects measured at NIST is determined using statistical methods. The degree of variability is explored and an attempt to explain the variability is made based on known physiological models. We also propose a method for collaborating with other scientists, outside of NIST, to expand the data set of signatures to include a more diverse population and perform a meta-analysis to further investigate the variability of human skin reflectance.
Proceedings of SPIE Defense and Security Symposium


Skin, spectral, reflectance, traceable data, reference data, signatures, variability


Cooksey, C. , Tsai, B. and Allen, D. (2015), Spectral reflectance variability of skin and attributing factors, Proceedings of SPIE Defense and Security Symposium, [online], (Accessed May 24, 2024)


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Created May 21, 2015, Updated February 19, 2017