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Histopathology of Cutaneous Aging

Fernandez-Flores, Angel MD, PhD*,†,‡; Saeb-Lima, Marcela MD§,¶

The American Journal of Dermatopathology: July 2019 - Volume 41 - Issue 7 - p 469–479
doi: 10.1097/DAD.0000000000001260
CME Article

Abstract: Aging is (so far) an inexorable and irreversible path in all species and organisms. In human beings, aging involving the skin has a special meaning because our appearance has become crucial for our social life in the modern world. Knowledge of the morphologic changes that happen during the aging process is crucial for understanding its pathogenesis, which in turn is necessary to approach it and even revert it. Skin aging happens because of 2 main sets of changes. Many —although not all—are the cause of exposure to external agents (extrinsic aging), of which the most important is solar exposure (also known as photoaging). In addition, skin also degenerates by mechanisms linked to genetically programed information (intrinsic aging). In this article, the histopathologic changes evident in exposed and nonexposed skin are examined.

*Consultant Histopathologist, Department of Cellular Pathology, Hospital El Bierzo, Ponferrada, Spain;

Associate Researcher, Department of the CellCOM-SB Research Group, Biomedical Investigation Institute of A Coruña, A Coruña, Spain;

Consultant Histopathologist, Department of Cellular Pathology, Hospital de la Reina, Ponferrada, Spain; and

Departments of §Dermatologist, Dermatology, and

Dermatopathologist, Dermatopathology, Instituto Nacional de Ciencias Médicas y Nutrición Salvador Zubirán, Mexico City, Mexico.

Correspondence: Angel Fernandez-Flores, MD, PhD, Servicio de Anatomía Patologica, Hospital El Bierzo, Medicos sin Fronteras 7, 24411 Ponferrada, Spain (e-mail:

All authors and staff in a position to control the content of this CME activity and their spouses/life partners (if any) have disclosed that they have no financial relationships with, or financial interests in, any commercial organizations relevant to this educational activity.

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