Several studies indicate that UV exposure account for between 80% to 90% of visible signs of aging in the skin.

E.g., from {1}:

UV exposure may account for up to 80% of visible signs of aging in the skin including dry appearance, scalping, wrinkling [15] and impaired pigmentation, and photoaging correlates with cancer risk.

and from {2}:

  • How can we understand, and measure specifically, the clinical effect of sun exposure (photoaging) in facial aging relative to that of chronological aging? Several authors have estimated that this ratio could be very important,8 up to 80% of sun impact for a large part,9,10 and some publications have discussed a ratio closer to 90%.11
  • With all the elements described in this study, we could calculate the importance of UV and sun exposure in the visible aging of a Caucasian woman’s face. This effect is about 80%.

I'd be interested to know the breakdown between UV-A, UV-B and UV-C: to what extent do UV-A, UV-B and UV-C exposure account for visible signs of aging in the skin? E.g., is UV-induced visible skin aging >99% caused by UV-A?


  • {1} Amaro-Ortiz, Alexandra, Betty Yan, and John A. D'Orazio. "Ultraviolet radiation, aging and the skin: prevention of damage by topical cAMP manipulation." Molecules 19, no. 5 (2014): 6202-6219. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4344124/
  • {2} Flament, Frederic, Roland Bazin, Sabine Laquieze, Virginie Rubert, Elisa Simonpietri, and Bertrand Piot. "Effect of the sun on visible clinical signs of aging in Caucasian skin." Clinical, cosmetic and investigational dermatology 6 (2013): 221. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3790843/
  • {8} Uitto J. Understanding premature skin aging. *N Engl J Med. *1997;337(20):1463–1465. [PubMed] [Google Scholar]
  • {9} Langton AK, Sherratt MJ, Griffiths CE, Watson RE. A new wrinkle on old skin: the role of elastic fbres in skin ageing. *Int J Cosmet Sci. *2010;21:1–2. [PubMed] [Google Scholar]
  • {10} Farage MA, Miller KW, Elsner P, Maibach HI. Intrinsic and extrinsic factors in skin ageing: a review. *Int J Cosmet Sci. *2008;30(2):87–95. [PubMed] [Google Scholar]
  • {11} Südel KM, Venzke K, Mielke H, et al. Novel aspects of intrinsic and extrinsic aging of human skin: beneficial effects of soy extract. *Photochem Photobiol. *2005;81(3):581–587. [PubMed] [Google Scholar]
  • {15} Grant W.B. The effect of solar UVB doses and vitamin D production, skin cancer action spectra, and smoking in explaining links between skin cancers and solid tumours. *Eur. J. Cancer. *2008;44:12–15. doi: 10.1016/j.ejca.2007.09.009. [PubMed] [CrossRef] [Google Scholar]

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