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A Closer Look at Intrinsic Aging

By: Steve Herman
Posted: April 7, 2009, from the April 2009 issue of GCI Magazine.

“Time may be a great healer, but it’s a lousy beautician.” — Lucille S. Harper

The formulation of antiaging products presupposes an understanding of aging itself, a subject given a thought provoking spin in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s short story The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, recently made into a major motion picture. Putting the aging clock in reverse is the ultimate goal of cosmeceuticals, but there are many mysteries of aging yet to be unlocked. All we know with certainty is that there are two primary types of aging: intrinsic and extrinsic.

Sometimes sophisticated instrumentation is needed to test skin properties, but not in the case of intrinsic versus extrinsic aging. Compare skin that is, for the most part, always covered to skin that is always exposed. The two areas are the same chronological age; the evident difference is the result of extrinsic aging.

Contrast that to intrinsic aging.

Martin Rieger wrote a comprehensive article on the subject in 1995.1 There are simple and well-established rules to minimize intrinsic aging—avoid sun and smoking, for example— and functional products usually contain UV protection, antioxidants and free radical scavengers that provide a common-sense first line of defense.

Aging at the Cellular Level