Free radicals and aging of the skin

Part of the EXS book series (EXS, volume 62)


Cutaneous aging is the result of genetically determined or intrinsic aging superimposed by degenerative changes due to actinic irradiation, also called photoaging. The manifestations of cutaneous aging, as it relates to the perception of age, is caused by ultraviolet light, in particular in those parts of the body exposed daily to solar radiation. Free radical generation in the skin by UV light and from other sources, such as cellular infiltrations or the xanthine oxidase reaction, may be detected by direct and indirect methods. The decrease in antioxidant enzymes and small molecular weight antioxidants such as glutathione, vitamine E and ubiquinone upon exposure to UV light is an indication that the pro-antioxidant balance can be overwhelmed by acute or chronic photo-oxidative stress. Antioxidant supplementation is therefore a means for prevention or at least retardation of premature cutaneous aging.


Electron Spin Resonance Electron Spin Resonance Signal Active Oxygen Species Hairless Mouse Photoaged Skin 
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© Birkhäuser Verlag Basel/Switzerland 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Free Radical Research Group, Centre de Recherches Biomédicales des CordeliersUniversity of Paris VIParisFrance

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