The aged epidermal permeability barrier: basis for functional abnormalities

Clin Geriatr Med. 2002 Feb;18(1):103-20, vii. doi: 10.1016/s0749-0690(03)00037-5.


Aged epidermis develops an abnormality in permeability barrier homeostasis, which is accentuated further in photoaged skin. The biochemical basis is a global reduction in stratum corneum lipids and profound abnormality in cholesterol synthesis. Various cytokine/growth factor signaling pathways are abnormal in aged skin, particularly in the interleukin-1 family. Barrier repair therapy can be effective in restoring normal function if a cholesterol-dominant mixture of the three key physiologic lipids, including ceramides and free fatty acids, is emphasized.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aging / physiology
  • CCAAT-Enhancer-Binding Proteins / physiology
  • Cell Membrane Permeability*
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / physiology
  • Epidermal Growth Factor / physiology
  • Epidermis / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-1 / physiology
  • Skin Aging / physiology
  • Sterol Regulatory Element Binding Protein 1
  • Transcription Factors / physiology


  • CCAAT-Enhancer-Binding Proteins
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Interleukin-1
  • SREBF1 protein, human
  • Sterol Regulatory Element Binding Protein 1
  • Transcription Factors
  • Epidermal Growth Factor