Causes of aging skin
Intrinsic aging occurs chronologically as the body’s processes slow down and skin cells are not replaced as rapidly as they once were. Reduction in the rate at which new collagen and elastin are produced causes wrinkles and lines to appear more defined. A thinning of the epidermis also causes a loss of barrier properties, further contributing to dehydration and increasing the visible signs of aging.
Extrinsic aging is largely a result of skin damage from environmental factors, particularly UV radiation which decreases the skin’s elasticity and increases the incidence of free radicals which damage healthy cells. UV radiation also adversely affects pigment production activity as well as the skin’s immune system, leading to premature wrinkling an other more serious skin concerns. Regular exposure to harsh climatic elements can be a factor in promoting extrinsic aging of the skin, as can lifestyle factors such as smoking and stress.
While both intrinsic and extrinsic factors influence the skin’s structure and function, the latter cause more pronounced changes. Estimates state that as much as 80% of visible aging on the skin is the result of exposure to daylight, or ‘photoaging’. Manifestations of photoaging include an increase in wrinkle formation, a loss of tension and elasticity, degeneration of vascular supply, hyperpigmentation and a reduction in the water-binding properties of the skin.