Understanding the Difference Between Intrinsic and Extrinsic Aging
We all know that the skin is the human body’s largest organ, but what’s the purpose of skin and how does our growing older change skin’s ability to perform this role? We know this skin’s basic functions are to:
- Protects us from the outside world of germs and the environment
- Maintains our equilibrium – holding in water, controlling our temperature
- Is our outward, visible, indicator of health, age and well being
Why does your skin age?
As we age, the appearance and functioning of our skin changes. Typically, skin becomes thinner, more wrinkled, rougher, less radiant, more lax, less firm, shows changes in pigment levels, and often dryer. This aging of the skin is a result of two separate but interrelated factors: intrinsic or chronological aging, which is the biological process associated with your genetics and the passage of time, and extrinsic aging, changes caused primarily by external factors, the most important of which is UV exposure, but also includes exposure to pollution, weather, stress, and lifestyle habits.
What is Extrinsic Aging?
It’s generally thought that extrinsic factors have more influence on the visible signs of aging than intrinsic factors. In fact, 80% of skin aging is likely due to exposure to sunlight. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends avoiding sun exposure and the use of a good quality broad-spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30 as the most important steps in maintaining skin health and preventing the signs of aging. The good news, 80% of how your skin ages is in your hands.
What is Intrinsic Aging?
Intrinsic aging is the change in your skin related to your age and your genetics, and there are three main causes:
- Slower cell turnover
- Reduced cellular energy levels
- Reduced collagen production
We know that skin has the capacity to constantly renew itself. Dry, dead skin cells slough off the surface to be replaced with new cells that have migrated up from deeper layers. This replacement process is driven by something called turnover or proliferation. Proliferation just means one cell dividing itself into two identical copies. Remarkably, cells can do this repeatedly, up to a maximum of about 50 times, but research tells us that as we age, this proliferation slows down considerably and eventually stops. There is no foolproof way of reversing this decline.
As you can imagine, for cells to divide constantly, they need a lot of energy, but as we age, our energy levels drop too, sort of like how your phone battery slowly loses the ability to stay charged and runs down more quickly as it gets older. The good news is that research has shown this decline can be addressed to an extent by providing very specific nutrients, ones that are important to a cell’s energy cycle. Look for products that contain ingredients such as vitamin B3 (also known as niacinamide) and adenosine, both vital molecules in cell’s energy cycle.
What Can You Do To Address Intrinsic Aging?
Firstly, cleanse, tone, treat and protect your skin everyday as this will enable your skin to be as resilient as possible to the signs of aging. Secondly, use products that contain ingredients that address the visible signs of aging caused by changes in cell turnover, energy, and collagen. Third, only use products that have been independently clinically tested to validate their efficacy.
R + F’s groundbreaking Total RF Serum is a powerful anti-aging serum that revitalizes skin to help achieve stronger, healthier, more resilient skin.
The serum does this through the use of carefully chosen ingredients proven to energize surface skin cells, including a propriety blend of ayurvedic sandalwood, Indian Kino extract + omega-6 fatty acids, combined with niacinamide and adenosine. R+F’s patented antioxidant complex also fortifies the skin making it more resilient and defending against environmental aggressors.
A recent clinical trial published in Clinical Dermatology Open Access Journal, has shown how Total RF Serum can have a noticeable and positive impact on a broad range of anti-aging concerns and is capable of boosting the benefits of almost any skincare routine.
Don’t assume all skincare is the same. R+F is a dermatology inspired, problem solution skincare brand that sets out to identify key issues and provide demonstrable benefit. Do your research, identify your issues and do the best thing for your skin because what you do to your skin everyday has a huge impact on how it looks and feels.
Article by Simon Craw, PhD
Dr. Simon Craw holds a PhD in Chemistry from University of Manchester and held academic posts at the University of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) and University of Sydney (Australia). He has over 25 years’ industry experience in pharmaceutical, biotechnology and skin care research and development. He began his career at Merck Research Laboratories before moving to a series of start-ups and early-stage biotechnology and skincare companies. At Lifeline Skincare, Dr. Craw helped develop and commercialize one of the first and most innovative stem cell extracts used in topical cosmetics. At Rodan + Fields Dr. Craw has brought a number of skincare innovations to market including Retinal MD, one of the most powerful non-prescription retinoids and Total RF Serum a breakthrough anti-aging serum powered by a patent-pending new technology targeting cellular energy, RF TriEnergy Complex.
 Flament F, Bazin R, Laquieze S, Rubert V, Simonpietri E, Piot B. Effect of the sun on visible clinical signs of aging in Caucasian skin. Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol. 2013 Sep 27;6:221-32. doi: 10.2147/CCID.S44686. PMID: 24101874; PMCID: PMC3790843.
 American Academy of Dermatology. Skincare Tips Dermatologist’s Use. https://www.aad.org/public/everyday-care/skin-care-basics/care/skin-care-tips-dermatologists-use
 Watts G. Leonard Hayflick and the limits of ageing. Lancet. 2011 Jun 18;377(9783):2075. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(11)60908-2. PMID: 21684371.
 Nicotinamide effects on the metabolism of human fibroblasts and keratinocyte assessed by quantitative, label-free fluorescence imaging. Liu Z, Chiang CY, Nip J, Feng L, Zhang Y, Rocha S, Georgakoudi I. Biomed Opt Express. 2021 Sep 20;12(10):6375-6390 https://doi.org/10.1364/BOE.432561
 American Academy of Dermatology. Should I Apply My Skincare Products in a Certain Order? https://www.aad.org/public/everyday-care/skin-care-basics/care/apply-skin-care-certain-order
 Craw JS, Falla T, Ong D and Butani S, Efficacy and Tolerability of a Novel Facial Serum. Clinical Dermatology Open Access Journal, 2022,7(1) doi: 10.23880/cdoaj-16000259
*All referenced results are based on an 8-week U.S. clinical and consumer study.
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*information is taken from The Skincare Source.