Pigmentary changes of the ageing skin

In subjects older than 25–30 years the number of enzymatically active melanocytes detectable by the dopa reaction decreases by about 10–20% per decade, with exposed skin having approximately twice as many pigment cells as unexposed skin

J.-P. ORTONNE

2006

Scholarcy highlights

  • In subjects older than 25–30 years the number of enzymatically active melanocytes detectable by the dopa reaction decreases by about 10–20% per decade, with exposed skin having approximately twice as many pigment cells as unexposed skin
  • Despite the decreased melanocyte density, photoaged skin has irregular pigmentation and, frequently, there is hyperpigmentation. This may be due to greater positivity of dopa of chronically irradiated melanocytes
  • Heterogeneity in skin colour in exposed areas of skin is due to uneven distribution of pigment cells, a local loss of melanocytes, and a modification in the interactions between melanocytes and keratinocytes
  • Greying of the hair is due to progressive loss of melanocytes from the hair follicles
  • In vivo and in vitro studies are necessary to increase overall understanding of the processes involved and to improve treatment of the pigmentary changes in ageing skin

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