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It's inevitable that as we age, our bodies including the appearance of our skin, changes. What's important to know is that skin aging is influenced by two main factors: those that are intrinsic and those that are extrinsic.

Intrinsic factors are determined by our genetic make-up. For the most part, these factors cannot be altered. Intrinsic factors may influence things such as the color of our skin, our skin type (normal, oily, combination), or our pore size.

Part of intrinsic aging involves a decrease in collagen and elastin production (they give skin its strength and elasticity), a decrease in skin cell turnover (shedding of dead cells), and a loss of fat beneath skin. These changes will appear as fine wrinkles, thin skin, hollowed cheeks and eye sockets, and sagging dry skin that may itch. Intrinsic changes start as early as our 20s, but are generally not that noticeable until we reach our late 30s or early 40s.

Extrinsic factors are caused by outside influences such as the environment and our lifestyle. These include unprotected sun exposure, pollution as well as what we eat or drink and whether or not we choose to smoke.  Extrinsic aging resembles the natural aging (instrinsic) of skin, but the changes tend to appear much earlier in life. For example, damage caused by the sun adds up. Your body will not forget your tans and sunburns, even those experienced as a child. Smoking and pollution contribute to skin aging by producing oxygen free radicals that cause premature wrinkles.

We are more able to exert control over extrinsic factors.

How to Minimize the Impact of External Factors

Though the easy option would be to say that there is little we can do to influence the appearance of our skin, nothing could be further from the truth. Start with a good skin care regimen early on:

Use a broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection sunscreen such as [Link Removed] to help shed dead skin cells and increase cell turnover.

In addition to following a healthy diet, exercising, managing stress and not smoking, taking  responsibility for your skin early on will help to ensure that your skin looks as youthful and healthy as it possibly can no matter your age.

Sharmani Pillay is a Registered Pharmacist who specializes in anti aging skin care. She owns and operates an online skin care store at [Link Removed] 

Pharmagirl, Your links have been removed, please consider upgrading to premium membership.


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