As the number of candles on your birthday cakes increase, so do the signs of aging - but what exactly causes your skin to age?
Some people seem to have put the breaks on aging. Sure, they grow older like the rest of us, but their skin somehow remains plump and smooth, revealing their actual numerical age. When you ask what their secret is, some people will say that they don’t do much (but their mom looks fantastic at 85), while others will fire off a long list of skincare products and foods they eat daily to maintain such glowing skin. This helps explain the difference between intrinsic and extrinsic aging.
Intrinsic aging is the inevitable, genetically determined process that naturally occurs. Intrinsic aging is determined by each person’s genetic clock and is affected by the degenerative effects of free radicals and the body’s inability to correctly repair the damage. If very deep wrinkles and a lot of sagging skin run in the family, you may notice it in your own skin. If your parents showed a few of the outward signs of aging during their lifetimes, you would likely benefit from this type of genetic makeup as well. Some people were just born with great skin and have won the genetic lottery. However, for the rest of us, researchers have found that 15% of skin aging is due to genetics. This means that around 85% is extrinsic - and CONTROLLABLE.
Extrinsic aging is caused by external factors—and these are what you can pay attention to if you want to slow down the aging process. The greatest cause of extrinsic aging is photo-damage or exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun. Other environmental factors, such as pollution, play a role as well. Other measures, like sun exposure, smoking, alcohol use, diet, and wrinkles, are yet another culprit!
Can anyone guess this man's occupation? 🚛 We can!
This proves that the sun is responsible for 85% of aging. The left side of the 69-year-old's face, was exposed to UV rays through his truck window, and is visibly more damaged than the right. The right side of his face had been protected from being inside the truck, away from the direct sunlight.
The apparent signs of intrinsic aging are the loss and descent of underlying fat, a slowing of collagen and elastin production, decreased cellular regeneration, and the slowing of exfoliation (shedding of the uppermost layer of the skin, which is generally comprised of dirt, debris, and dead skin cells).
We can’t choose our genes, but we do have an influence on some of the external factors that cause skin aging. Let's break down some of the extrinsic aging culprits:
1. The sun is your skin’s biggest enemy. The leading cause of skin aging is UV rays, so remember always to wear sun protection! Yes, even in the winter.
2. Too much stress can trigger a variety of skin conditions, including dark circles under your eyes, bags under your eyes, wrinkles & acne. Stress can be hard to avoid, but take some time for yourself.
3. No smoking and limit alcohol intake.
4. Eat your veggies and drink lots of water! A balanced diet ensures that your body (& skin!) is getting the nutrients it needs.
5. Get moving! Exercise is a great stress reliever and helps circulate oxygen-rich blood throughout your body. This is turn nourishes the skin cells and keeps them vital.
6. Catching adequate zzz’s is another way to fight against extrinsic aging. We know it's hard, but getting 7-8 hours of sleep every night works wonders for your skin, body, and mental health.
7. Last, but certainly not least, use effective skincare products & invest in cosmetic treatments to turn back the clock on aging.
Aging happens to everyone! You are aging at this very second (thanks to intrinsic skin aging). This is why it’s so important for you to control your diet, lifestyle, and environment, so you can slow the effects of extrinsic skin aging and KEEP your skin looking healthy and youthful, no matter the year.