How does skin aging happen?

Updated: May 18

Saggy skin, wrinkles, fine lines, and loss of volume are all signs of skin aging. Most of us aren't very happy with the visible side effects of getting older, and we are willing to do close to everything to prevent it from happening. But is it even possible to slow down this process, or are we just fighting time? Is it, in the end, just a matter of acceptance that our skin is inevitably going rusty and traveling south as we age?

What functions does our skin have? To understand how this process works, we first need to look at what our skin is doing for us, day in, day out. The skin serves as a protective barrier between the body's organs and the environment. It is a complex organ composed of many cell types and structures. It consists of three layers;

  • The epidermis, the outer layer, provides a waterproof barrier and creates our skin tone.

  • The dermis, which lays beneath the epidermis, contains tough connective tissue, hair follicles and sweat glands.

  • The hypodermis, the deeper subcutaneous tissue, which consists of fat and connective tissue.

These layers ensure that water and electrolytes remain in the body so that all bodily processes continue to run smoothly. In return, the skin also prevents harmful environmental substances like bacteria, viruses, moisture, and cold from the environment from entering the body. Intrinsic vs extrinsic skin aging Our skin and other organs are subject to several factors that cause them to age. We distinguish between intrinsic or physiological aging due to intrinsic factors, and extrinsic or premature aging stemming from external factors. Intrinsic factors are related to individual genetic mechanisms. They cause fine lines, loss of collagen and hydration, and decreased cell renewal and elasticity.

Extrinsic aging is caused by external factors like smoking cigarettes, UV radiation, polluted air, poor diet, alcohol, repetitive facial expression, or lack of sleep. One of the biggest causes of extrinsic skin aging is the sun: it is responsible for at least 80% of skin aging signs such as wrinkles, pigmentation, and lack of firmness [1].

It is believed that genetic (intrinsic) factors cause only 3% of the skin aging processes and that the rest is caused by external factors [2]. Extrinsic factors are responsible for deep wrinkles, irregular brown discolourations, and a leathery skin structure. Most of us can probably picture the image of sunbath fanatics on the beach with this recognizable deep brown, wrinkled, leather-looking skin.

So, what can we do to prevent premature skin aging? If you are willing to go on a dedicated, hardcore mission to prevent your skin from aging, you will be required to stick to quite a few habits and desirably for the rest of your life. You should eat extremely healthy, avoid chocolate, ice-cream, and candy. Also, you need to maintain your face straight all the time, so do not ever laugh or show your angry faces when someone is cutting you off right before a stop sign. Forget about starting a family as you will not get enough sleep in the first few years. Don't go to the beach, and don't even think about drinking alcohol or smoking tobacco! Let's be real: it is quite unrealistic for most of us (luckily!) to live like this forever, and hopefully, you are enjoying your life as much as you can within the frame of what you feel is healthy and necessary for you.

There are several things you can make happen to slow down the skin aging process without living like a frustrated snow queen though: make sure you eat healthy foods that contain lots of vitamins and minerals, always wear SPF, also when you don’t see the sun, and use skincare products that are packed with antioxidants, such as our La Vitamine C powder.

  1. 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;6:221-232. Published 2013 Sep 27. doi:10.2147/CCID.S44686

  2. Zhang S, Duan E. Fighting against Skin Aging: The Way from Bench to Bedside. Cell Transplant. 2018;27(5):729-738. doi:10.1177/0963689717725755