Environmental Skin Aging vs. Intrinsic Skin Aging

Dermatologists like to tell people what they can do to treat lines and wrinkles caused by UV damage, wind, smoke, etc. It’s easy. There are lots of good ingredients for treating environmental aging.

But intrinsic aging—meaning, you and your skin are just getting older—is different. Until recently, if you asked dermatologists what ingredient worked best, they wouldn’t be able to give you a straight answer because they didn’t know what ingredients worked for natural skin aging!

But now, that’s changed. We have something to say to people who are getting older—and look that way.

Intrinsic skin aging (aka natural or chronological aging) looks a little different from environmental skin aging. With intrinsic aging, the wrinkles are finer, and the skin gets thinner and more lax. Environmental factors, on the other hand, cause deeper wrinkles and hyperpigmentation.

John Voorhees, MD and his team at the University of Michigan, did a test on the underside of the upper arms of older women—and found that high concentrations of retinol significantly reduced wrinkles and other signs of aging. The study was controlled (meaning that one arm was tested and the other was not) and double-blind (meaning that neither the researcher nor the subject knew what products were being tested). The underside of the arms have never been exposed to the sun, so it’s easy to isolate skin aged due to natural causes.

The conclusion: high concentrations of retinol successfully treat intrinsic aging due to retinol’s ability to stimulate collagen and retain water. As Dr. Voorhees said, “This is the first systematic, double-blind study showing that [retinol] improves any kind of aging—photoaging as well as natural aging. You can rub it anywhere, and it will help to treat the signs of aging.” The study was widely reported, but first published in the Archives of Dermatology.

That’s why we are so committed to ZO Skin Health’s Radical Night Repair Plus. Whether you’re concerned about environmental or natural skin aging—whether you’re concerned about your face or your arms—retinol, if properly formulated, can make a true improvement.