A ‘Minolta Tri-Stimulus Colorimeter II’ was evaluated for obtaining objective measurements of early changes in erythema and tanning. The meter showed a subtle, continuous transition between the primary erythematous response and the delayed tanning of skin which was below the visual threshold for detection. Thereafter, the a* (redness) value of the meter showed a significant linear correlation with the dermatologist’s perception of erythema while the b* (yellow) value showed a significant correlation with the perception of tanning. This capability of the tri-stimulus colorimeter to simultaneously evaluate the hue and saturation of skin color affords an improved opportunity to quantitate the transition from erythema to tanning without subjective bias.

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