Relationship between iris color and skin color

Ji Woong Kim, Hyo Hyun Ahn, Young Chul Kye

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)


In a study, iris color was positively associated with skin melanin content. So it could be assumed that iris color has a close relationship with skin color. But until recently, classification system of iris color has been subjective and not suitable especially for Asian population for their relative homogeneity of iris color. Objective: The purpose of this study was to devise an objective and quantitative method to measure iris and skin color quantitatively and to assess the relationship and its significance. Methods: We devised photographic system composed of digital camera and tungsten lamp with color temperature conversion filter to acquire adequate iris images for colorimetric investigations. The reference CTELAB coordinates of color chart recorded with reflectance spectrophotometer were compared statistically with computed CIELAB coordinates from digital images in order to find equations for calibrating CIELAB values. To find the dennMological significance, we took pictures of 47 Korean patients with various conditions. They were evaluated with regard to Ids color, color of sun-exposed and sun-protected skin. Results: The images obtained with this system were enough to be used for the assessment of iris and skin color. And, it was possible to quantify the iris color, skin color and its difference in colorimetric ways using the methods in this study. Lightness (L*) of sun-exposed skin is decreased to the age. L* of iris has a positive correlatioa with L* of sun-exposed skin. L* of iris was positively correlated with a* and b* of iris respectively. The relations were very similar with those between L* of iris and each of a* and b* of sun-protected skin. Conclusion: Iris color could be assessed by using their images colorimetrically obtained by our method As L* of iris color has the similar relations with a* and b* in both iris and sun-protected skin, the iris color would be a clue to look for and define the constitutional skin color.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1500-1506
Number of pages7
JournalKorean Journal of Dermatology
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2008 Nov


  • Colorimetry
  • Iris color
  • Skin color

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology

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    Kim, J. W., Ahn, H. H., & Kye, Y. C. (2008). Relationship between iris color and skin color. Korean Journal of Dermatology, 46(11), 1500-1506.