The aging process in the skin is complex and influenced by more intrinsic and extrinsic factors than any other body organ. The effects of these two types of factors overlap for the most part. The combined effects of these two aging processes also affect dermal matrix alterations. The main clinical signs of skin aging include wrinkling and irregular pigmentation, which are influenced by a combination of intrinsic and extrinsic (e.g., UV radiation, heat, smoking, and pollutants) factors. Histologically, collagen decreases, and the dermis is replaced by abnormal elastic fibers as a cause of wrinkle formation through the loss of skin elasticity. There have been numerous studies of skin aging performed to elucidate the underlying molecular mechanisms and to develop various antiaging therapeutics and preventive strategies. We summarized the molecular mechanisms and treatments of skin aging. Mainly UV radiation induces ROS formation and DNA damage, leading to increased production of MMPs and decreased production of collagen in keratinocytes and fibroblasts, which reflect the central aspects of skin aging. Besides UV radiation exposure, extrinsic factors including tobacco smoking, exposure to environmental pollutants, infrared radiation, and heat contribute to premature skin aging. Like UV radiation, these factors cause ROS formation and increase expression of MMPs, thus accelerating skin aging by inducing extracellular matrix (ECM) degradation. Accumulated collagen fibrils inhibit the new collagen synthesis and account for the further degradation of the ECM through this positive feedback loop. Accumulating evidence for molecular mechanisms of skin aging should provide clinicians with an expanding spectrum of therapeutic targets in the treatment of skin aging.
Part of the book: Molecular Mechanisms of the Aging Process and Rejuvenation