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Skin – Intrinsic And Extrinsic Aging

Researchers have found that there are two types of aging: intrinsic (internal) aging and extrinsic (external) aging.


The rate at which intrinsic aging is determined primarily by your genes. This natural aging process normally starts in your 20s. The processes within skin that change with intrinsic aging include a slowing of collagen and elastin production, decreased cellular regeneration, loss of underlying fat and the slowing of exfoliation (shedding of the uppermost layer of the skin, which is generally comprised of dirt, debris and dead skin cells).

The signs of intrinsic aging are the following: hair loss and graying hair, dry skin, thin and transparent skin, hollowed cheeks, wrinkles, sagging skin and the weakening of bones (which contributes to sagging contours and a gaunt appearance). Although these changes usually begin in our 20s, for the majority of people the signs of intrinsic aging are not noticeable for many years. Your skin becomes weaker and less supple with these changes, and your complexion becomes riddled with pigmentation and textural irregularities.


Extrinsic aging is caused by factors that are outside of you, namely in your environment. These factors include sun exposure, gravity, lifestyle habits, smoking and repeated facial expressions.

Sun exposure is the number one contributor to extrinsic aging and is known as photoaging. Sun exposure can lead to wrinkles, loose skin, age spots, spider veins on the face, freckles, rough and leathery skin and skin cancer. Repeated ultraviolet exposure breaks down collagen and elastin and slows the production of new collagen. The rate at which photoaging affects you depends on your skin colour and the amount of time you’ve spent in the sun over your lifetime. For example, people with fair skin tend to develop more signs of photoaging than those with dark skin. To prevent premature aging caused by the sun, you should avoid tanning, stay out of the sun between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., wear protective clothing and apply sunscreen year round. Choose sunscreen with SPF of 30 or higher, and use it even on cloudy days.

As we age, changes related to gravity become more pronounced. Due partially to the downward pull of gravity, the ears elongate, the eyelids droop, the tip of the nose sags and jowls form.

Smoking can also speed up the aging process. Studies have shown that cigarette smoking significantly increases skin wrinkles and dryness because of the inhalation of carbon monoxide. By stopping smoking, these signs can be reduced.

The extrinsic and intrinsic signs of aging visible on your skin can be addressed with a healthy lifestyle, exercise regimen, and nonsurgical treatments like BOTOX®.

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Before undergoing any Plastic Surgery Canada procedure, consult an experienced and reputable Plastic Surgeon. Book your consultation at our plastic surgery clinic in Toronto by calling (416) 256-4194 or by clicking here.

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    Before undergoing any Plastic Surgery procedure, consult an experienced and reputable Plastic Surgeon.
    Book your consultation at our plastic surgery clinic in Toronto by calling (416) 256-5614 or by filling in this quick form.

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