Skin is the outermost part of the body and is, thus, inevitably exposed to UV rays and environmental pollutants. Oxidative stress by these hazardous factors accelerates skin aging and induces skin inflammation and carcinogenesis. Aryl hydrocarbon receptors (AHRs) are chemical sensors that are abundantly expressed in epidermal keratinocytes and mediate the production of reactive oxygen species. To neutralize or minimize oxidative stress, the keratinocytes also express nuclear factor-erythroid 2-related factor-2 (NRF2), which is a master switch for antioxidant signaling. Notably, there is fine-tuned crosstalk between AHR and NRF2, which mutually increase or decrease their activation states. Many NRF2-mediated antioxidant phytochemicals are capable of up- and downmodulating AHR signaling. The precise mechanisms by which these phytochemicals differentially affect the AHR and NRF2 system remain largely unknown and warrant future investigation.
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