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What is Skin Ageing?

What does ‘ageing’ mean exactly?

Ageing is the loss or damage of important molecules (e.g. DNA, proteins, enzymes) and the accumulation of abnormal molecules.

In other words, we lose all the good things and gain all the bad stuff.

How we age is determined by …. how well we repair damaged DNA.

If we don’t repair DNA well, we age faster.

Physical Changes Due To Ageing – Surface changes

Physical Changes Due To Ageing – Colour changes

So Exactly What Happens During Ageing?

A Reduction In Everything Good…

  1. Collagen and elastin production (skin loses tensile strength)
  2. Skin’s ability to bind water (skin becomes dehydrated)
  3. Lipid production (skin becomes dry and skin barrier function is weakened)
  4. Blood flow (nutrients get delivered to cells less efficiently)
  5. Energy production (there is less energy for repairing DNA damage)
  6. Slower cell turnover (skin cells take longer to shed and regenerate)

Intrinsic Vs Extrinsic Ageing

When you age, there are two kinds of ageing processes at work.

Intrinsic Ageing (Internal)

Intrinsic ageing is genetic or chronological ageing. It means we are genetically programmed from birth to age a certain way, and we can’t change it. This is about 10% of the ageing process and starts to show up around age 60.

Extrinsic Ageing (External)

Extrinsic ageing is environmental or lifestyle ageing. This is about 90% of the ageing process and starts to show up around age 30. This we can control by our lifestyle habits.

Intrinsic ageing looks different from extrinsic ageing.

Here are a few comparisons:

Intrinsic signs of ageing Extrinsic signs of ageing
Epidermis thins.

Dermis and bones shrink (leads to sagging).

Fine lines (after 60).

Pigmented spots (lentigenes).

Fat on face decreases, especially fat pads above eyes and around mouth).

Epidermis thickens.

Dermis thins.

Coarse wrinkle ( as early as 18), deep wrinkles, and furrowing.

Mottled, uneven pigmentation.

Skin growths (actinic keratoses).

Glycation, cross-linking of collagen & elastin.

Extrinsic ageing is why a young person can look much older for her age, and vice versa.

Your lifestyle choices – what you eat and drink, whether you smoke, how much time you spend in the sun, whether you’re stressed, and other lifestyle factors – have a great influence on how you age.


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