Face

Ageing Mosaic: Intrinsic and Extrinsic Factors of Skin Ageing

Ageing is a biological reality with many intrinsic and extrinsic factors. Similar to other organs, our skin undergoes progressive functional decline due to accumulated oxidative stress and molecular damage.

Intrinsic ageing (Chronological ageing) Extrinsic ageing (Photoageing)
Ageing due to: Internal physiological factors that are due to declining physiologic functioning and capabilities

 

Many external factors

 

 

 

Intrinsic / Chronological ageing

Ageing of the skin is reflective of genetic background of an individual due to substantial structural and functional differences. I intend to explore those differences in its own time but at the moment I would love to focus on universally applicable principles of facial ageing.

You can read about the big picture of intrinsic facial ageing by following to this link: Ageing mosaic: The BIG Picture of Intrinsic Facial Ageing. Information below will focus primarily on the intrinsic ageing of the skin itself.

As mentioned above, what happens to the skin as a result of intrinsic ageing is largely hereditary and guided by our genes. Even though ageing process varies from person to person, it boils down to these four factors:

Decrease of dermal collagen

 

This leads to moisture loss and dermal thinning
Decrease of melanin production

 

This leads to loss of overall healthy color and formation of uneven pigmented spots

 

Decrease of hair follicles and sebaceous glands

 

This hinders proper skin barrier function
Slow cell turnover rate This means that it takes longer for the skin to shed dead and dulling cells

 

Over time, these factors lead to age signs to appear on the skin both in short term and long term.

Short  Term

Dead skin build – up When hydro liptic barrier is thrown out of balance, lines and surface wrinkles start to appear

 

Clogged pores Dead skin build – up leads to clogged pores, congestion and break outs

 

Dull, sluggish skin Skin loses its vibrancy and appears rough / lifeless

 

Trans – epidermal water loss (TEWL) As the skin loses its ability to absorb and retain moisture, the skin weakens further

 

Long Term

Lines and wrinkles appear

 

Capillary function weakens Circulatory system’s ability to transfer oxygen, nutrients and waste slows down overtime

 

Lymph moves more slowly This leads to excess metabolic waste and toxins

 

Connective tissue (collagen and elastin) lose their function Skin begins to sag while lines and wrinkles worsen

 

Hyperpigmentation increases Cumulative UV exposure / hormonal imbalances and PIH (post – inflammatory hyperpigmentation) increases

 

Skin becomes more reactive  

 

NMF in dermis and epidermis barrier decreases Loss of skin’s NMF (natural moisture factor) increases penetration of damaging pathogens and allergens

 

 

 Extrinsic ageing / Photoageing

Extrinsic ageing reflects environmental exposure, cultural / societal expectations and lifestyle choices associated with individual habits. The list of external factors contributing to the ageing of the skin is endless so I will mention only the major few:

 Photodamage / Sun exposure

 

 UV / Sun exposure is the biggest extrinsic factor contributing to  the aging of the skin

 

Oxidative stress

 

 Air pollution, sun’s harmful radiation, tobacco, detergents and fertilizers, processed foods, fat – rich foods, etc  accelerate formation of free radicals and   cause their accumulation. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals which is why we are suggested to follow antioxidant – rich diets and skincare regimens

 

Skin dehydration

 

Dry air dehydrates the skin. Dehydration in the skin weakens its defense system and creates skin sensitivity, irritation and premature aging

 

Tobacco

 

 Smoking tobacco is associated with dermatological conditions and contributes to premature aging of the skin

 

Alcohol

 

 Alcohol contributes to the loss of collagen and skin elasticity. It also causes skin irritation and dehydration

 

Stress Resilience to stress and ability to handle stressful situation in a health conscious way promotes youth. Psychosomantics might help to get insight to some internal processes

 

Application of harsh chemicals on the skin

 

 

Internal ageing can be managed by taking care of our body as a whole: The more we understand about our bodies, the more we can give ourselves appropriate care and stay young and healthy. External ageing factors have substantial effects on our overall health and should be managed as such (not only as beauty affecting factors).

As for the beauty, there is definitely more to graceful ageing than what cosmetology alone has to say and offer.

 

Thanks for reading,

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