Intrinsic Aging & Extrinsic Aging, Which Ages Faster?


There are two types of aging, intrinsic and extrinsic.

Intrinsic Aging

Intrinsic (internal) aging is the rate of aging that occurs with the passage of time. It is genetically determined, but influenced to some extent, by diet and lifestyle.

Extrinsic Aging

Extrinsic aging is caused primarily by sun-damage and hence, also called photo-aging. Extrinsic (external) aging is also intrinsic aging compounded by external causes such as air pollution and inflammation caused by harsh detergents, rough treatment, cosmetics and disease processes.

Intrinsic Aging v.s. Extrinsic Aging

To understand the difference between intrinsic and extrinsic aging, you need only look at the skin on you face versus, say, the skin on your hips or your upper thighs. The prime culprit of extrinsic aging? Sun exposure. Most 50 years olds, for example, can easily see the difference in skin that’s been exposed to sunlight for years (such as the skin on their faces, necks, arms, chests and lower legs) and skin that’s been protected by clothing (such as the skin on their buttocks and torsos). The exposed skin is generally more wrinkled and discolored and less taut than the unexposed skin.

As skin aging is divided into intrinsic aging and extrinsic aging. Intrinsic aging accounts for 15% of the changes associated with skin aging whereas extrinsic aging accounts for 85% of the changes.

The damaging effect

Extrinsic aging or photo-aging, was until quite recently believed to be a fast-forwarding of intrinsic aging. But differences between the damaging effect of the sun, air pollution and inflammation caused by harsh detergents and rough treatment have emphasized the fact that external elements play a large part in the aging process. Hence, a staggering 85% of skin aging is attributed to sun damage.

UV rays and pollution (including smoking) speed up the aging process because they promote the production of free radicals on the surface of exposed skin, damaging collagen and elastin fibres. The result is a rough, dry skin texture, deep wrinkles, uneven pigmentation and broken veins.

Photo-aging is entirely preventable and since it accounts for 85% of skin aging. The best protection against skin aging is therefore sun-protection.


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