Skin aging and photoaging: An overview

  • Barbara A. Gilchrest
    Reprint requests: Barbara A. Gilchrest, MD, U.S. Department of Agriculture Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, 711 Washington St., Boston, MA 02118.
    From the Department of Dermatology, Boston University School of Medicine, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University.
    Search for articles by this author
      This paper is only available as a PDF. To read, Please Download here.
      As the population ages, common skin disorders of the elderly demand greater attention. Moreover, the many clinical, histologic, and physiologic changes that characterize old skin are increasingly implicated in its vulnerability to environmental injury and certain diseases. Thus it behooves dermatologists to study the basic biologic process of aging in the skin and the separable process of photoaging, which itself is a major clinical problem. To date studies at the cellular level have demonstrated major functional losses, particularly in proliferative capacity between infancy and adulthood, with definite further loss between early and late adulthood and as a result of chronic sun exposure. Continued careful, quantitative assessment of aging and photoaging in human skin both in vivo and in vitro will be critical to a better understanding of these processes and particularly to their successful therapeutic modification.
      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment
      AAD Member Login
      AAD Members, full access to the journal is a member benefit. Use your society credentials to access all journal content and features
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect


      1. Gilchrest BA Skin and aging processes. CRC Press, Boca Raton, Florida1984
        • Beauregard SB
        • Gilchrest BA
        A survey of skin problems and skin care regimens in the elderly.
        Arch Dermatol. 1987; 123: 1638-1643
        • Committee on Chemical Toxicity and Aging
        Aging in today's environment. National Academy Press, Washington, DC1987: 121-124
        • Hayflick L
        The cellular basis for biological aging.
        in: Finch CE Hayflick L Handbook of the biology of aging. Van Nostrand Reinhold Co, New York1977
        • Rheinwald JG
        • Green H
        Serial cultivation of strains of human epidermal keratinocytes: the formation of keratinizing colonies from single cells.
        Cell. 1975; 6: 331-344
        • Gilchrest BA
        In-vitro assessment of keratinocyte aging.
        J Invest Dermatol. 1983; 81: 184S-189S
        • Martin GM
        • Sprague CA
        • Epstein CJ
        Replicative life span of cultivated human cells: effect of donor's age, tissue, and genotype.
        Lab Invest. 1970; 23: 86-92
        • Schneider EL
        • Mitsui Y
        The relationship between in-vitro cellular aging and in-vivo human aging.
        Proc Natl Acad Sci. 1976; 73: 3584-3588
        • Hayflick L
        The limited in-vitro lifetime of human diploid cell strains.
        Exp Cell Res. 1965; 37: 614-636
        • Mets T
        • Bekaert E
        • Verdonk G
        Similarity between in-vitro and in-vivo cellular aging.
        Mech Aging Dev. 1983; 22: 71-78
        • Gilchrest BA
        • Vrabel MA
        • Flynn BS
        • et al.
        Selective cultivation of human melanocytes from newborn and adult epidermis.
        J Invest Dermatol. 1984; 83: 370-376
        • Epstein CJ
        • Martin GM
        • Schultz AL
        • et al.
        Werner's syndrome.
        Medicine. 1966; 45: 177-221
        • Goldstein S
        Studies on age-related diseases in cultured skin fibroblasts.
        J Invest Dermatol. 1979; 73: 19-23
        • Norwood TH
        • Hoehn H
        • Salk D
        • et al.
        Cellular aging in Werner's syndrome: a unique phenotype.
        J Invest Dermatol. 1979; 72: 92-96
        • Villee DB
        • Nichols Jr, G
        • Talbot NB
        Metabolic studies in two boys with classical progeria.
        Pediatrics. 1969; 43: 207-216
        • Stanulis-Praeger BM
        • Gilchrest BA
        Growth factor responsiveness declines during adulthood for human skin-derived cells.
        Mech Ageing Dev. 1986; 34: 185-198
        • Stanulis-Praeger BM
        • Yaar M
        • Redziniak G
        • et al.
        An extract of bovine thymus stimulates human keratinocyte growth in vitro.
        J Invest Dermatol. 1988; 90: 749-754
        • Sauder DN
        • Stanulis-Praeger BA
        • Gilchrest
        Autocrine growth stimulation of human keratinocytes by epidermal cell-derived thymocyte-activating factor: implications for skin aging.
        Arch Dermatol Res. 1988; 280: 71-76
        • Barrandon Y
        • Green H
        Three clonal types of keratinocyte with different capacities for multiplication.
        Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 1987; 84: 2302-2306
        • Lavker RM
        • Kligman AM
        Chronic heliodermatitis: a morphologic evaluation of chronic actinic dermal damage with emphasis on the role of mast cells.
        J Invest Dermatol. 1988; 90: 325-330
        • Gilchrest BA
        Physiology and pathophysiology of aging skin.
        in: Goldsmith LA Biochemistry and physiology of the skin. Oxford University Press, New York1989 (in press)
        • Mitchell RE
        Chronic solar dermatosis: a light and electron microscopic study of the dermis.
        J Invest Dermatol. 1967; 43: 203-220
        • Kligman AM
        Solar elastosis in relation to pigmentation.
        in: Patbak MA Sunlight and man. University of Tokyo Press, Tokyo1974: 157-163
        • Braverman IM
        • Fonferko E
        Studies in cutaneous aging, I: the elastic fiber network.
        J Invest Dermatol. 1982; 78: 434-443
        • Braverman IM
        • Fonferko E
        Studies in cutaneous aging, II: the mierovasculature.
        J Invest Dermatol. 1982; 78: 444-448
        • Thiers BH
        • Maize JC
        • Spicer SS
        • et al.
        The effect of aging and chronic sun exposure on human Langerhans cell populations.
        J Invest Dermatol. 1984; 82: 223-226
        • Gilchrest BA
        • Murphy G
        • Soter NA
        Effect of chronologic aging and ultraviolet irradiation on Langerhans cells in human epidermis.
        J Invest Dermatol. 1982; 79: 85-88
        • Gilchrest BA
        Relationship between actinic damage and chronologic aging in keratinoeyte cultures in human skin.
        J invest Dermatol. 1979; 72: 219-223
        • Gilchrest BA
        Prior chronic sun exposure decreases the life span of human skin fibroblasts in vitro.
        J Gerontol. 1980; 35: 537-541
        • Gilchrest BA
        • Szabo G
        • Flynn E
        • et al.
        Chronologic and actinically induced aging in human facial skin.
        J Invest Dermatol. 1983; 80: 8IS-85S
        • Stanulis-Praeger BM
        • Gilchrest BA
        Effect of donor age and prior sun exposure on growth inhibition of cultured human dermal fibroblasts by all trans-retinoic acid.
        J Cell Physiol. 1989; 139: 116-124
        • Lavker RM
        Structural alteration in exposed and unexposed aged skin.
        J Invest Dermatol. 1979; 73: 59-66
        • Kligman AM
        Perspectives and problems in cutaneous gerontology.
        J Invest Dermatol. 1979; 73: 39-46
        • Gilchrest BA
        • Soter NA
        • Hawk JLM
        • et al.
        Chronologic aging alters the response to UV-induced inflammation in human skin.
        J Invest Dermatol. 1982; 79: 11-15
        • Scheibner A
        • McCarthy W
        • Milton GW
        • et al.
        Langerhans cell and melanocyte distribution in "normal" human epidermis: preliminary report.
        Australas J Dermatol. 1983; 24: 9-16
        • Makinodan T
        • Kay NMB
        Age influences on the immune system.
        Adv Immunol. 1980; 29: 287-330