Skin ageing is a complex process that is determined by both intrinsic and extrinsic factors, which leads to a progressive loss of structure and function. There is extensive evidence indicating that oxidative stress induced by reactive oxygen species plays an important role in the process of human skin ageing. Mitochondria are the major source of cellular oxidative stress and are widely implicated in cutaneous ageing. Extrinsic skin ageing is driven to a large extent by environmental factors and external stressors such as ultraviolet radiation (UVR), pollution and lifestyle factors which have been shown to stimulate the production of reactive oxygen species and generate oxidative stress. The oxidative damage from these exogenous sources can impair skin structure and function, leading to the phenotypic features of extrinsic skin ageing. The following review highlights the current evidence surrounding the role of mitochondria and oxidative stress in the ageing process and the influence of environmental factors such as ultraviolet radiation, pollution and diet on skin ageing.
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