Research Article| Volume 98, ISSUE 1, SUPPLEMENT 1, S99-S103, January 16, 1995

Aging skin

  • Jean L. Bolognia
    Requests for reprints should be addressed to Jean L. Bolognia, M.D., Department of Dermatology, Yale Medical School, 500 LCI, 333 Cedar Street, New Haven, Connecticut 06520.
    From the Department of Dermatology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut, USA
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      Aging of the skin is a composite of actinic damage, chronologic aging, and hormonal influences. The majority of changes associated with aging, such as wrinkles and solar lentigines (“liver spots”), are due to photoaging and reflect cumulative sun exposure as well as skin pigmentation. Classically, chronologic aging includes those cutaneous changes that occur in non-sun-exposed areas, such as the buttocks, and are observed in both men and women. A clinical example would be soft tissue sagging due to elastic fiber degeneration. In women, investigations into the effect of hormones on aging of the skin have concentrated on estrogens; in men, there have been a limited number of studies on the influence of testosterone. The latter have shown an age-dependent decrease in tissue androgens in pubic skin, but not scrotal or thigh skin. To date, age has not been shown to have an effect on androgen receptor binding, although a decrease in foreskin 5α-reductase activity with increasing age has been described. In fibroblast cultures from foreskins, there have been conflicting results as to whether 5α-reductase activity decreases in an age-dependent manner. Some of the skin changes that have been categorized as secondary to chronologic aging, such as decreased sebaceous gland activity and decreased hair growth, may actually represent a decline in the concentration of tissue androgens with increasing age. The influence of androgens on age-related changes in keratinocyte and fibroblast function remains speculative.
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