We propose a local texture descriptor, local intensity area descriptor (LIAD), which is applied for human facial recognition in ideal and noisy conditions. Each facial image is divided into small regions from which LIAD histograms are extracted and concatenated into a single feature vector to represent the facial image. The recognition is performed using a nearest neighbor classifier with histogram intersection and chi-square statistics as dissimilarity measures. Experiments were conducted with LIAD using the ORL database of faces (Olivetti Research Laboratory, Cambridge), the Face94 face database, the Georgia Tech face database, and the FERET database. The results demonstrated the improvement in accuracy of our proposed descriptor compared to conventional descriptors [local binary pattern (LBP), uniform LBP, local ternary pattern, histogram of oriented gradients, and local directional pattern]. Moreover, the proposed descriptor was less sensitive to noise and had low histogram dimensionality. Thus, it is expected to be a powerful texture descriptor that can be used for various computer vision problems.