UV radiation-mediated photodamage to the skin has been implicated in premature aging and photoaging-related skin cancer and melanoma. Little is known about the cellular events that underlie premature senescence, or how to impede these events. In the present study we demonstrate that PPARδ (peroxisome-proliferator-activated receptor δ) regulates UVB-induced premature senescence of normal keratinocytes. Activation of PPARδ by GW501516, a specific ligand of PPARδ, significantly attenuated UVB-mediated generation of ROS (reactive oxygen species) and suppressed senescence of human keratinocytes. Ligand-activated PPARδ up-regulated the expression of PTEN (phosphatase and tensin homologue deleted on chromosome 10) and suppressed the PI3K (phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase)/Akt pathway. Concomitantly, translocation of Rac1 to the plasma membrane, which leads to the activation of NADPH oxidases and generation of ROS, was significantly attenuated. siRNA (small interfering RNA)-mediated knockdown of PTEN abrogated the effects of PPARδ on cellular senescence, on PI3K/Akt/Rac1 signalling and on generation of ROS in keratinocytes exposed to UVB. Finally, when HR-1 hairless mice were treated with GW501516 before exposure to UVB, the number of senescent cells in the skin was significantly reduced. Thus ligand-activated PPARδ confers resistance to UVB-induced cellular senescence by up-regulating PTEN and thereby modulating PI3K/Akt/Rac1 signalling to reduce ROS generation in keratinocytes.