Skin aging is accompanied by a gradual loss of function, physiological integrity and the ability to cope with internal and external stressors. This is secondary to a combination of complex biological processes influenced by constitutive and environmental factors or by local and systemic pathologies. Skin aging and its phenotypic presentation are dependent on constitutive (genetic) and systemic factors. It can be accelerated by environmental stressors, such as ultraviolet radiation, pollutants and microbial insults.
The skin’s functions and its abilities to cope with external stressors are regulated by the cutaneous neuroendocrine systems encompassing the regulated and coordinated production of neuropeptides, neurohormones, neurotransmitters and hormones, including steroids and secosteroids. These will induce/stimulate downstream signaling through activation of corresponding receptors. These pathways and corresponding coordinated responses to the stressors decay with age or undergo pathological malfunctions. This affects the overall skin phenotype and epidermal, dermal, hypodermal and adnexal functions.
We propose that skin aging can be attenuated or its phenotypic presentation reversed by the topical use of selected factors with local neurohormonal activities targeting specific receptors or enzymes. Some of our favorite factors include melatonin and its metabolites, noncalcemic secosteroids and lumisterol derivatives, because of their low toxicity and their desirable local phenotypic effects.