The aging of the skin is a natural process. Skin suffers from normal wear and tear and genetic and environmental factors contribute to the aging of the skin.

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Intrinsic Aging

Intrinsic aging refers to the natural aging process. It is the gradual decline of the skin that usually begins in the mid-20s. Lines and wrinkles don’t usually show up at this point, but less obvious changes occur. During this stage, there is a decrease in production of collagen and elastin, the fibers that are responsible for the elasticity of the skin. Skin no longer snaps back into place like it used to during the teenage period. Also, the regeneration of the skin slows down considerably, further worsening the problem.

The intrinsic aging process is governed by genetics, which vary from person to person. Some people may show gray hair and furrowed brows in their 20s while others may not reach these milestones for years to come.

Extrinsic Aging

The aging process is not only based on genetic factors. There are external factors that cause the skin to show signs of premature aging. This is known as extrinsic aging. There are several factors that contribute to extrinsic aging:

  • Ultraviolet rays – The sun is the source of life, but it is the biggest enemy of the skin. The ultraviolet rays of the sun cause premature aging, known asphoto-aging, by decreasing the productivity of skin cells.
  • Gravity – Gravity constantly pulls at the body, resulting in wrinkles and sagging skin.
  • Sleeping position – Sleeping in the same position each night might cause lasting “sleep wrinkles.”
  • Smoking – This habitcan have a profound effect on skin, causing chemical changes that accelerate the aging process.

Stages of Skin Aging

The skin experiences different stages of aging as follows:

  • In the 20s –The skin settles down after the hormone problems of the teen years, but the skin becomes drier and loses some elasticity.
  • In the 30s – The levels of collagen and elastin begin to break down and the skin becomes drier. Age spots begin to appear, and skin pores become larger.
  • In the 40s – At this stage, lines around the mouth and eyes begin to appear and drying accelerates. Declining estrogen levelsmay affect the skin, too.
  • In the 50s and 60s – The skin becomes rougher in the 50s, accentuated by sunspots. In the 60s there may be signs of drooping or sagging jaw skin and eyelids.

While many parts of the skin’s aging process are inevitable and depend largely on your genetics, proper skin care can still help enhance the skin’s appearance and minimize some effects of aging.