Natural and sun-induced aging of human skin

Cold Spring Harb Perspect Med. 2015 Jan 5;5(1):a015370. doi: 10.1101/cshperspect.a015370.


With worldwide expansion of the aging population, research on age-related pathologies is receiving growing interest. In this review, we discuss current knowledge regarding the decline of skin structure and function induced by the passage of time (chronological aging) and chronic exposure to solar UV irradiation (photoaging). Nearly every aspect of skin biology is affected by aging. The self-renewing capability of the epidermis, which provides vital barrier function, is diminished with age. Vital thermoregulation function of eccrine sweat glands is also altered with age. The dermal collagenous extracellular matrix, which comprises the bulk of skin and confers strength and resiliency, undergoes gradual fragmentation, which deleteriously impacts skin mechanical properties and dermal cell functions. Aging also affects wound repair, pigmentation, innervation, immunity, vasculature, and subcutaneous fat homeostasis. Altogether, age-related alterations of skin lead to age-related skin fragility and diseases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Body Temperature Regulation / physiology
  • Collagen / metabolism
  • Collagen / radiation effects
  • Extracellular Matrix / radiation effects
  • Humans
  • Regeneration / physiology
  • Skin / blood supply
  • Skin / immunology
  • Skin / innervation
  • Skin Aging / physiology*
  • Skin Aging / radiation effects
  • Skin Pigmentation / physiology
  • Subcutaneous Fat / physiology
  • Sunlight / adverse effects*
  • Ultraviolet Rays / adverse effects


  • Collagen