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Causes of Aging Skin: Intrinsic Aging


intrinsic aging

Intrinsic aging, or chronological aging, is the natural process of skin aging due to internal influences. While we can’t entirely stop intrinsic aging, we can target the physical age signs that appear on the skin. Keep reading to learn what intrinsic aging is, how it’s different from extrinsic aging, and how to prevent aging skin.


Intrinsic aging vs. extrinsic aging

The difference between intrinsic and external aging is that the intrinsic aging process is controlled by genetics. Extrinsic aging is caused by external sources, such as climate, pollution, diet, stress, and more. These factors are largely controllable, unlike intrinsic aging.


Intrinsic aging process

What happens to the skin as a result of this process is largely hereditary and guided by our genes. It varies from person to person, but boils down to these four factors:

  1. Dermal collagen decreases: This leads to moisture loss and dermal thinning.
  2. Melanin production decreases: Loss of overall healthy color and formation of uneven pigmented spots.
  3. Decrease of hair follicles and sebaceous glands: This hinders proper skin barrier function.
  4. Cell turnover rate slows: This means it takes longer for the skin to shed its dead and dulling cells.

Over time, these factors lead to age signs that appear on the skin both in the short term, and long term:

Short term

  • Dead skin build-up: The hydro lipidic barrier is thrown out of balance; lines and surface wrinkles start to form.
  • Clogged pores: Dead skin build up leads to clogged pores, which can lead to congestion and breakouts.
  • Dull, sluggish skin: Skin loses its vibrancy and appears drab, lifeless, and rough.
  • Trans-epidermal water loss (TEWL): As the skin loses its ability to absorb and retain moisture, the skin weakens further.


  • Lines and wrinkles appear: Wrinkles form and deepen over time.
  • Capillary function weakens: Your circulatory system’s ability to transfer oxygen, nutrients and waste slows down.
  • Lymph moves more slowly: This leads to excess metabolic waste and toxins.
  • Connective tissue (collagen and elastin) lose their function: Skin begins to sag; lines and wrinkles worsen.
  • Hyperpigmentation increases: Cumulative UV exposure/hormonal imbalances and PIH (post-inflammatory hyperpigementaton) increases.
  • Lipofuscin production: Yellow to brown age-related pigment deposits form. They develop due to free-radical build up and are worsened with intrinsic aging.
  • Skin becomes more reactive: Sensitive/sensitized skin symptoms become more common.
  • NMF in dermis and epidermal barrier decreases: Loss of skin’s NMF (natural moisture factor) increases penetration of damaging pathogens and allergens.


How to keep skin young

Time passes and we can’t change that. But we can slow down the visible effects of intrinsic aging both at-home and in the treatment room.

Once you determine your skin type, it’s crucial to begin with the correct daily essentials for that type. For all skin types, this includes: twice daily cleansing, toning, moisturizing and protecting skin with a broad spectrum sunscreen. Use a professional wrinkle-targeting solution like V-Neck Smoothing Creme, Sleepwear and Advanced VitaMineral C Complex. Learn more about the correct daily routine here.

Aside from the proper daily routine, regular professional facials and treatments are necessary to slow down aging skin. In fact, it’s Hollywood’s biggest secret to achieving youthful looking skin.

Pro Tip: “Anti-aging facials should begin in the 20’s to keep skin strong, healthy and more resistant to the toxic effects of intrinsic aging. Your esthetician will help you choose the facial that targets your skin concerns, and also works with your skin’s sensitivity level on the day of treatment.” –Teresa Stenzel, Bioelements Director of Education 

Here are a few professional facials that target the effects of Intrinsic Aging:

  • The VitaMineral Deep Detox Facial
  • Ultra-Detox Chemical Peel
  • Firm and Lift Facial
  • Chinese Herbology Facial
  • Fast Results Lift
  • Fast Results Peel

Book a facial at a spa near you to target intrinsic aging.

If you have any questions or comments about intrinsic or extrinsic aging, sign up for our newsletter here or comment below!


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