Rhonda L. Witte, BSc
Skin--we clean it, shave it, cream it and tan it, all with a common goal--to preserve our youthful image. Not only does it help our general appearance, but it also feeds our self-image, making us "feel" younger. In a society where younger parallels attractiveness, we find ourselves constantly in search of new remedies to prevent our skin from aging . On the other hand, aging is a sign of wisdom and the more signs we have, the better we look. Can't we just age without looking older? And is what we consider to be aging of the skin really due to the aging process itself?
Cutaneous aging is a result of both intrinsic and extrinsic events. Intrinsic aging, also referred to as chronological aging, occurs independently of environmental influences. The changes seen with intrinsic aging occur in sun-protected areas. It is this characteristic that sets it apart from extrinsic aging which occurs as a result of environmental effects on the skin, the most important of which is exposure to sunlight.1,2 The term "photoaging" refers to the age-related cutaneous changes resulting from exposure to sunlight and accounts for the majority of changes generally associated with appearance.