UV radiation is known to damage skin, but how exactly does over-exposure lead to the “leathery” appearance of skin? Researchers from Binghamton University say that tightening of collagen fibers appears to be to blame.



The team compared full-thickness skin samples before and after various levels of UV exposure. With increasing amounts of UV exposure, collagen fibers became more tightly packed together, leading to increased stiffness and tissue that is harder to break. Mechanical stress tests helped quantify skin “toughness.”



“Extended periods of time under UV light can toughen up your skin as well as lead to a higher risk of carcinogenic problems,” says study co-author Guy German, PhD.



Findings appear in the Journal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials.