Skin aging can be caused by intrinsic factors or extrinsic factors. Intrinsic, biological or internal aging is basically the natural aging of the skin. The way it ages is programmed in the genes and therefore it is inherited. Extrinsic or external aging is caused by external factors such as the sun and the environment. There is no need to hide from the facts. The more you know, the more you can proactively take charge of your skin’s aging appearance.
1. Natural Aging
Starting in our 20s, the skin begins to slowly and steadily age. Chronological aging is aging that is associated with a person getting older. It is the one cause of skin aging that we have absolutely no control over. Skin regeneration also slows down as we age, collagen production slows and our skin loses elasticity.
2. Sun Exposure
The American Academy of Dermatology estimates that more than 80 percent of skin aging is caused by damage from the sun. The accumulation of daily sun exposure leads to premature aging of the skin, linked to the development of wrinkles, age spots, skin cancer and dry skin.
Dermatologists use the term ‘photo-aging’ to describe the effects of sunlight on unprotected skin. Aging caused by the sun (photo-aging), depends on the skin color of the individual with fair-skinned people being more vulnerable than dark-skinned people.
Photo-aging occurs over a period of years. With repeated exposure to the sun, the skin loses the ability to repair itself, and the damage accumulates. Scientific studies have shown that repeated ultraviolet (UV) exposure breaks down collagen and impairs the synthesis of new collagen. The sun also attacks our elastin. Sun-weakened skin ceases to spring back much earlier than skin protected from UV rays. Skin also becomes loose, wrinkled, and leathery much earlier with unprotected exposure to sunlight.
To protect your skin from sun exposure
– Try to cover your body to reduce your exposure to sunlight. Wear a hat, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt if you will be outdoors long.
– Wear sunscreen when you are outdoors, even if it is cloudy or in the wintertime.
Environmental toxins, Air pollutants damage cells and cause chemical changes in the body which speed the aging process. These causes restrict the flow of oxygen and nutrients to the skin and trigger excess free radicals that damage skin cells. While it is not possible to avoid exposure to all pollutants, exposure can be minimized by refraining from smoking cigarettes and the use of toxic chemicals. Environmentally friendly household cleaners and natural pesticides can be used in place of harmful chemical products.
Such factors like eating habits, how much sleep you get, the degree of stress to which you are exposed, amount and type of exercise you engage also affect your skin. Healthy habits slow progression of aging of your whole body as well as your skin. Introducing simple changes in your daily routine has a great potential for improving the condition of your skin.
Smoking: Smoking causes biochemical changes in the body that make skin age quicker than it should. Research shows that a person who smokes 10 or more cigarettes a day for a minimum of 10 years is statistically more likely to develop deeply wrinkled and leathery skin. Yellowy skin on the overall body is another side effect of long-term smoking. The repetitive action of holding a cigarette between the lips leads to significant wrinkles around the lip and chin areas. If a smoker quits, some of these signs may be reduced or even vanish. Quitting smoking is the single best anti aging skin care technique anyone can do.
Gravity pulls the skin down causing visible sagging. Starting in our 50s, nose tips being to droop, ears become longer, eyelids fall, and jowls may form. The skin has lost some of its elasticity and the skin begins to sag in facial areas and other parts of the body.
Genetic factors dictate the rate at which aging process progresses. Paying attention to how your parents’ skin was aging can be very useful. If your parents had youthful skin well into the old age, chances are you could inherit same characteristics.
The most changes in woman’s appearance take place around menopause years, when estrogen drop causes considerable loss of collagen. As a result, wrinkles appear and skin hangs loosely.