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Exp Gerontol. 2008 Jul;43(7):629-32. doi: 10.1016/j.exger.2008.04.010. Epub 2008 Apr 27.

The role of near infrared radiation in photoaging of the skin.

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Institut fuer Umweltmedizinische Forschung, Heinrich-Heine-University Düsseldorf gGmbH, Auf'm Hennekamp 50, D-40225 Duesseldorf, Germany.


Infrared (IR) radiation is non-ionizing, electromagnetic radiation with wavelengths between 760 nm and 1 mm, which is further divided into IRA, IRB and IRC. IR accounts for more than half of the solar energy that reaches the human skin. While IRB and IRC do not penetrate deeply into the skin, more than 65% of IRA reaches the dermis. Human skin is increasingly exposed to IRA-radiation; most relevant sources are (i) natural solar radiation consisting of over 30% IRA, (ii) artificial IRA sources used for therapeutic or wellness purposes and (iii) artificial UV sources contaminated with IRA. As part of natural sunlight, IRA significantly contributes to extrinsic skin aging. This article reviews the cutaneous effects of IRA-radiation, the underlying molecular mechanisms and the available protective strategies.

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