The Types of Aging and Why Some Women Age So Much Better Than Others

types of aging


You have probably heard that the skin is the body’s largest organ. And just like any other organ in the human body, as we age our skin’s structural makeup breaks down and its physiological functions begin to decline. The physiology of aging skin is complex, with several culprits responsible for the age spots, sagging skin, fine lines and wrinkles, and other skin conditions associated with aging.

There are different types of aging, intrinsic aging, extrinsic aging, and mechanical aging. Learning about the 3 types of aging will help you understand why some women and men seem to age so much better than others, and what you can do to slow down the rate at which your skin is aging, and reverse the signs of aging that have already began to appear.

Related Article: The Secrets Behind Exceptional Agers >


Intrinsic aging, also known as chronological aging, is the skin’s unavoidable path of decline that all people experience as they age. Intrinsic aging is programmed into our DNA and determined by our genetics, which means the rate of this type of aging can vary from one individual to the next and can be different overall between different ethnic groups.

Intrinsic aging includes:

  • Thinning skin

The slow down in cellular renewal leads to thinning skin that is weaker, more susceptible to extrinsic aging, and prone to injury.

  • Sagging

The breakdown of structural proteins such as collagen and elastin that leads to sagging, lax skin.

Learn more about the causes of sagging skin.

Elastin is one of the two main proteins that provide skin strength and structure. As we age, our body produces hormones that inhibit the production of elastin and existing elastin fibers begin to degrade. Elastin is a coil-shaped protein found in the structural makeup of the dermis. It provides the skin with its elasticity, or ability to spring back into place after stretching to accomodate movement.  When Elastin declines and breakdowns our skin loses its firmness. The effects of this are especially noticeable in the neck area and around the jawline.

  • Dry Skin

As we age, our skin loses it’s ability to retrain moisture which leads to dry, brittle skin. Learn more about intrinsic aging that causes dry skin. Dry skin is another notorious age related skin issue. Several factors contribute to it.

Decrease in Hormones

The body becomes less effective at producing the hormones that stimulate processes responsible for maintaining the skin’s hydration. One example is the sebaceous gland, which produces sebum, the oil that lubricates the skin.

Estrogen is another hormone that provides moisture and hydration to the skin, by stimulating the production of hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid is a Glycosaminoglycan, or GAG, responsible for binding water to proteins. When estrogen levels decline, hyaluronic acid production is affected, further compromising the skin’s ability to retain moisture.

Breakdown of Moisture Barrier

The moisture barrier seals in the skin’s water. As we age, the body’s production of lipids, ceramides, and fatty acids, the components that make up the barrier, begin to decline, compromising the barrier’s seal, leading to transepidermal water loss.

  • age spots

Uneven skin tone and pigmentation issues are comon with old age. While a majority of brown spots result from UV damage, intrinsic aging can also contribute to “age spots” as melanocytes, the cells that produce the skin’s Melanin, the pigment that protects the skin from the sun and gives skin its color, become clustered together. Increased hormone levels can also trigger the over production of melanin.

  • fine lines and wrinkles, and more.


Extrinsic aging is the second type of skin aging and refers to external factors that cause our skin to experience the functional decline and mechanical breakdown associated with natural aging. One of the most effective ways to ward off the signs of aging is by protecting our skin from harmful environmental factors that cause extrinsic aging.

Different environmental factors that cause extrinsic aging include our exposure to ultraviolet light, conditions of our environment such as air pollution and extreme weather, and lifestyle factors, such as stress, smoking cigarettes, and our skin hygiene.

The most caustic form of extrinsic aging and the leading cause of premature aging is cellular and molecular damage caused by UV radiation. Radiation from the sun damages the cellular structures within our skin, breaking down collagen and elastin. It can also cause the pigmentation problems by affecting the skin’s pigment, known as melanin. Pigmentation issues, especially those caused by UV damage can be significantly helped with a photofacial NYC.

Related article: Celebrities that age gracefully and their anti-aging secrets >>

Mechanical Aging

Mechanical Aging is the last type of skin aging and refers to the wear and tear we put our skin through on a daily basis. Physical movements affect the structural integrity of our skin and repetitive motions and extended strain can lead to dynamic wrinkling and other skin issues associated with aging.

A majority of the fine lines and wrinkles that age the face can be attributed to mechanical aging. A life time of smiling, frowning, laughing, squinting and the hundreds of other facial expressions we repeat each day create dynamic wrinkles that form around our eyes, brow, and mouth. These wrinkles are caused by grooves that form under the skin by continuous skin and muscle movement.

Repetitive movements can also contribute to the degradation of the protein fibers that provide the skin with its firmness and tightness. Repeated use causes elastin fibers to permanently stretch out, losing their retention and compromising the structural support they provide the skin.

Learn about the best non-invasive cosmetic treatment for dynamic wrinkles >>

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