Intrinsic and extrinsic factors, including ultraviolet irradiation, lead to visible signs of skin aging.Objective:
We evaluated molecular changes occurring in photoexposed and photoprotected skin of white women 20 to 74 years of age, some of whom appeared substantially younger than their chronologic age.Methods:
Histologic and transcriptomics profiling were conducted on skin biopsy samples of photoexposed (face and dorsal forearm) or photoprotected (buttocks) body sites from 158 women. 23andMe genotyping determined genetic ancestry.Results:
Gene expression and ontologic analysis revealed progressive changes from the 20s to the 70s in pathways related to oxidative stress, energy metabolism, senescence, and epidermal barrier; these changes were accelerated in the 60s and 70s. The gene expression patterns from the subset of women who were younger-appearing were similar to those in women who were actually younger.Limitations:
Broader application of these findings (eg, across races and Fitzpatrick skin types) will require further studies.Conclusions:
This study demonstrates a wide range of molecular processes in skin affected by aging, providing relevant targets for improving the condition of aging skin at different life stages and defining a molecular pattern of epidermal gene expression in women who appear younger than their chronologic age.