Aging of facial skin is a result of natural aging, intrinsic factors such as diet and smoking and extrinsic factors such as photo-damage [sun damage]. Aging of the skin largely results from the same thing that causes aging of the entire body: free radicals.


Intrinsic Aging of Skin

Intrinsic genetic factors determine how quickly the normal aging process evolves. Intrinsic aging of the skin results from:

  • Slowing collagen production
  • Reduction in elastin production
  • Slowing of the production of new skin cells and the shedding of old dead skin.

These aging processes commence at 20, but their impact is not visible until approximately 20 years later. Typical signs of aging are first noticed in the skin and hair, including:

  • Thinning of the skin, making blood vessels more visible
  • Fine wrinkles
  • Hollowed cheeks and eyes sockets from loss of underlying fat, often giving the effect of puffy eyes.
  • Loss of firmness and elasticity of skin on the hands and neck
  • Dry skin and itching skin
  • Hair loss – varies greatly in the population, with significant hair loss as early as the 20’s
  • Greying of the hair – this can be noticeable as young as 30
  • Unwanted facial hair in women

Other visible indicators include:

  • Thinning of the fingernail plates, with the appearance of ridges and loss of half moons.
  • Skin shrinks away from the bones due to bone loss, which causes sagging skin
  • Inability of the skin to sweat sufficiently to cool the skin

Little can be done to alter ones genetic predisposition to the rate of aging. Extrinsic factors, however are mostly under our control.

Extrinsic Aging of the Skin

Extrinsic factors include:

All of these factors, other than gravity are controllable.



Photoaging occurs over a number of years as exposure causes the skin loses the ability to repair itself. Repeated ultraviolet (UV) exposure breaks down collagen and impairs the synthesis of new collagen and elastin. The impact of the damage compounds, with just 15.


Further Reading

Skin Changes with Aging

Skin Changes - Birth to 20 years

Skin Changes - 20 to 40 years

Skin Changes - Over 40 years