Prolonged exposure to solar UV radiation induces degenerative changes in cells of the skin, fibrous tissue and blood vessels leading to premature skin aging, photodermatoses and actinic keratoses. (Actinic keratoses are skin growths on areas of the body that receive heavy exposure to sunlight.) Premature aging will cause skin to appear think, deeply wrinkled, and “leathery” looking.
While UVB rays are primarily responsible for sunburn, “UVA rays penetrate deep into the dermis, where they damage the collagen fibers. This damage causes increased production of abnormal elastin. The unusual amounts of elastin result in the production of enzymes called metalloproteinases. These enzymes, which rebuild damaged collagen, often malfunction . As this process is repeated with daily UVA exposure, the incorrectly rebuilt skin forms wrinkles, and the depleted collagen results in leathery skin.”
(Remember, collagen and elastin are the primary fibers that give skin its structure and smooth, youthful appearance.)Leathery Skin
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