Similar to the entire organism, skin is subject to an unpreventable intrinsic ageing process. Additionally, skin ageing is also influenced by exogenous factors. Ultraviolet radiation in particular results in premature skin ageing, also referred to as extrinsic skin ageing or photoageing, which is the main cause of the changes associated with the ageing process in sun-exposed areas. Despite their morphological and pathophysiological differences, intrinsic and extrinsic ageing share several molecular similarities. The formation of reactive oxygen species and the induction of matrix metalloproteinases reflect the central aspects of skin ageing. Accumulation of fragmented collagen fibrils prevents neocollagenesis and accounts for the further degradation of the extracellular matrix by means of positive feedback regulation. The importance of extrinsic factors in skin ageing and the detection of its mechanisms have furthered the development of various therapeutic and preventive strategies.