Studying the human skin – part 1,  intrinsic and extrinsic aging.

In order to make the best skin care products, it is very important to understand how it operates. The skin being the largest organ of the body (16% of total body weight), protects the body from physical, chemical, and infectious attacks and plays a role in several biological and biochemical processes like excretion and temperature regulation. 

Skin appearance is an important moderator in human social interaction. Humans attach great importance to having beautiful, healthy, and youthful-looking skin. Partly conveyed by the cosmetic industry, skin beauty includes a radiant complexion without blemishes.

Skin radiance is influenced by intrinsic and extrinsic factors which hav e an impact on skin aging. While the intrinsic aging is inevitable and is determined by gravity and genetics, extrinsic aging is the result of the interplay of external factors and human behaviors, such as tobacco, nutritional deficiencies, alcohol, stress, and ultraviolet (UV) exposure. These factors impact the oxidative stress by an overproduction of reactive oxygen species.  Thus, with aging, the skin is potentially more exposed to oxidative stress, leading to increased reactive oxygen species production. 

The overproduction of free radicals, which plays an important role in skin aging, damages skin cells and in addition,  leads to a degradation of collagen and elastin. These fibers are responsible for the skin firmness and elasticity and the integrity of the blood vessels, and hence for adequate vascularization.  Moreover, cell degradation and UV exposure happening in a non-uniform pattern, will lead to overproduction of melanin by melanocytes in those areas, which leads to facial spots and a uneven complexion.  

Damaged and aging skin, therefore, can be charaterised by thinning skin, discolouration, age spots, grooves, wrinkles and fine lines. Of course, these can happen in varying degrees depending on genetics, nutrition, stress levels, habits and skin care practices



In the next post about aging, I will talk about formulating for mature skin – are anti-aging products worth it? Until then, I will love to know your thoughts and concerns. 


References


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