Overview of Skin Aging and Photoaging

Yolanda Rosi Helfrich, MD; Dana L. Sachs, MD; John J. Voorhees, MD


Dermatology Nursing. 2008;20(3):177-183. 

In This Article

Microscopic Findings in Aging and Photoaging

There are microscopic differences in the two aging processes as well. In chronologically aged skin, the epidermis is atrophic, with flattening of the dermal-epidermal junction and loss of rete pegs (Kurban & Bhawan, 1990). The dermis also becomes thinner, with decreased numbers of fibroblasts and decreased levels of collagen (Varani et al., 2000). Photoaged skin, in contrast, can be associated with either increased epidermal thickness or pronounced epidermal atrophy. The most pronounced histologic change is the accumulation of elastin-containing material just below the dermal-epidermal junction, known as solar elastosis (Lavker, 1995). Collagen, which composes over 90% of the skin's total proteins, becomes disorganized (Bernstein et al., 1996).


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