Extrinsic vs. Intrinsic Aging: Understanding the Differences
July 20, 2023
Estimated reading time: 4 minut
THE AGING OF OUR SKIN IS A COMPLEX PROCESS INFLUENCED BY A COMBINATION OF FACTORS, EXTENDING BEYOND THE MERE PASSAGE OF TIME
These factors fall into two main categories: intrinsic and extrinsic aging. In this article, we will delve into the critical dissimilarities between these two processes and gain a deeper understanding of how they impact our skin’s health and appearance.
Intrinsic aging, also known as chronological aging, is an inevitable, genetically determined process that occurs naturally as part of the human life cycle.
Each year we lose 1% of naturally produced collagen, known for giving skin its firmness, and elastin fibres which gives skin its bounce. This aging process is driven by an individual’s genetic clock and is influenced by various internal factors. While these changes are not as readily visible on the skin’s surface, they significantly affect the body’s cells, tissues, and vital organs.
The process of intrinsic aging typically commences in the mid-20s, though its visible signs may take several decades to become apparent. Key features of intrinsic aging include the gradual slowdown of collagen production, reduced elastin elasticity, and decreased skin cell turnover. As a result, the skin loses its firmness and resilience over time.
Signs of Intrinsic Aging:
- Loss and descent of underlying fat, leading to hollowed cheeks and eye sockets.
- Sagging skin due to bones shrinking away from the skin as a result of bone loss.
Extrinsic aging, on the other hand, is attributed to external factors that accelerate and exacerbate the natural aging process.
These preventable environmental influences often act in tandem with intrinsic aging to cause premature skin aging.
The primary culprit of extrinsic aging is sun exposure. Prolonged and unprotected exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays leads to significant damage to the skin’s cellular structure, promoting the formation of wrinkles, fine lines, and age spots. Other contributing factors include repetitive facial expressions, gravity, sleeping positions, and smoking, all of which can take a toll on the skin’s youthfulness.
Signs of Extrinsic Aging:
- Thinning of the skin
- Loss of skin laxity
- Increased fragility
- Development of wrinkles and fine lines
- Dyspigmentation and uneven skin tone
- Visible blood vessels
- Actinic elastosis (sun-induced skin damage)
Combination of Intrinsic and Extrinsic Factors
It is crucial to recognize that intrinsic and extrinsic aging are not mutually exclusive processes.
Instead, they often act in conjunction to influence the overall aging of the skin. External factors, such as sun exposure and lifestyle choices, can magnify the effects of the natural, genetically determined aging process.
Protecting the Skin and Slowing Aging
While we cannot halt the march of time or alter our genetic makeup, several proactive measures can help slow down the aging process and preserve the skin’s youthful appearance:
- Sun Protection: Shield your skin from harmful UV rays by wearing sunscreen daily, seeking shade when the sun is strongest, and wearing protective clothing.
- Skincare Routine: We can assist you with our PhytoGal (F)ACE treatment moisturizer Skincare Routine, which involves adopting a consistent skincare regimen that incorporates antioxidant-rich and anti-aging products to keep your skin nourished and youthful.
- Healthy Lifestyle: Maintain a balanced diet, exercise regularly, avoid smoking, and moderate alcohol consumption to promote overall well-being, which can positively impact skin health.
- Limit Facial Expressions: Be mindful of repetitive facial movements that can contribute to the development of fine lines and wrinkles.
Understanding intrinsic and extrinsic aging is crucial for preserving youthful skin. Embrace skincare, healthy living, and sun protection for lasting skin health and defying the march of time.
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