Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic Aging

Why do some people seem to age more gracefully than others? How can two people who were born in the same year look a decade apart? Why are their cases where one twin looks older than the other despite being identical?

Many don’t realize that when it comes to aging, there are two biological processes at work: intrinsic aging and extrinsic aging.

What is Intrinsic Aging?

Intrinsic aging is also referred to as chronological aging or simply the natural aging process. It’s the type of aging we have no control over because it’s genetic and predetermined by our DNA.

In our 20s, we begin to experience the natural decline of our skin. This is the phase in our life when the skin’s essential fibers which are responsible for elasticity, collagen, and elastin start to decrease. Because our skin is no longer as elastic as when we were younger, it won’t snap back the way it used to

Visible signs of intrinsic aging are minimal in your 20s. Over the decades, signs of intrinsic aging become more prominent; these include sagging skin, loss of moisture, wrinkles, dry skin, hollowed cheeks, and age spots. Aging skin will also start to develop spots and discoloration; its tone will look uneven and dull or lackluster.

Because your intrinsic aging is genetic, you can look to your parents to see how you will age. If deep laugh lines and crow’s feet run in the family, chances are you will have them too. However, while your parents and grandparents are good examples of how you will age, there are also other factors at play.

Does your parent or grandparent smoke, drink alcohol regularly, spend a lot of time outdoors in the sun, love tanning beds, and eat an unhealthy diet? Certain lifestyle habits can also impact aging and cause the skin to age faster than it would have naturally. Aging due to external factors is called extrinsic aging.

What is Extrinsic Aging?

Extrinsic aging is also referred to as photoaging or environmental and lifestyle aging. Photoaging is the premature aging of the skin due to frequent exposure to ultra-violet rays. Beyond UV radiation, extrinsic aging involves skin aging caused by external factors such as cigarette smoking, air pollution, diet, stress, and other lifestyle factors.

Extrinsic aging explains why identical twins may not look the same age. If one twin is a smoker and spends a considerable amount of time exposed to the sun and air pollution, their skin has probably aged faster than the twin who doesn’t smoke and avoids sun exposure. The twin who eats a well-balanced diet full of antioxidant-rich fruit and vegetables, along with foods that are high in nutrients will likely have healthier skin than the twin who only eats greasy junk food.

Addressing Skin Imperfections Caused by Intrinsic and Extrinsic Aging

Intrinsic aging follows your body’s natural physiological sequencing process; it’s inevitable and will happen when it’s meant to. Extrinsic aging, on the other hand, is something you can prevent by simply making better lifestyle choices and avoiding environmental factors that speed up the aging process.

However, if your skin already shows signs of extrinsic aging, there’s still hope. Apart from committing to avoid the external factors that contribute to extrinsic aging, there are skin treatments that can help repair the damage to your skin.

While there’s nothing you can do to stop intrinsic aging from happening, it’s still possible to reduce the signs of aging once they appear on the skin. Some treatments will improve collagen production and help bring back some of the skin’s resilience and moisture. Skin imperfections such as wrinkles, forehead lines, frown lines, crow’s feet, Marionette lines, and so on, can also be minimized using injectables, laser skin resurfacing, and skin rejuvenation.

CüR Laser and Skin looks forward to discussing with you all the different treatments that can drastically transform your aging skin and rejuvenate your body and soul. Contact us for a free consultation with Dr. Kumar.

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