2 Forms of skin aging that have different characteristics and effects

Aging is a natural process that affects us all, but did you know that there are different forms of skin aging? These forms each have their own unique characteristics and effects on our skin. In this blog we take a closer look at two different forms of skin aging: atrophic and hypertrophic form. Discover how these shapes manifest themselves and what impact they have on our skin. Understanding how these processes work can help us find effective strategies to reduce the signs of aging and maintain healthy, youthful-looking skin.

2 Forms of aging

Atrophic aging refers to the thinning of the skin and the loss of volume and elasticity. This can be due to natural aging, genetic factors, sun exposure and other environmental factors. With atrophic aging, the production of collagen and elastin decreases, making the skin more fragile and thinner. This can lead to the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and sagging skin. Blood vessels can also become more visible and pigment spots can appear. The skin may feel drier and more susceptible to damage.


Hypertrophic aging, on the other hand, refers to the thickening and hardening of the skin. This can be the result of prolonged exposure to harmful influences such as UV radiation, smoking, poor nutrition and chronic inflammation. The hypertrophic form, the activity of the fibroblasts in the skin increases, which can lead to thickened and stiff skin. This can cause deep wrinkles, coarse pores and an uneven texture. The skin may also look and feel rougher and stiffer. More about wrinkles

People with Fitzpatrick skin types I and II (red and blond hair with blue eyes, respectively) tend to exhibit the atrophic photoaging phenotype, with thin fine wrinkles and pigment changes such as freckles and nevi. In addition, telangiectasia (blood vessels) is common in people who clinically present with AP. In contrast, people with skin type III (dark hair and brown eyes – Mediterranean skin type) exhibit the hypertrophic photoaging phenotype and have clinical reactions such as tanning, deep wrinkles, coarseness, a leathery appearance of the skin and lentigines.


One of the types gives more chance of skin cancer!

The consequences of atrophic and hypertrophic forms differ. Atrophic aging often results in thin, fragile skin with fine lines, wrinkles and a sagging appearance. Hypertrophic aging, on the other hand, leads to thicker, stiffer skin with deeper wrinkles and enlarged pores. Both forms of skin aging can affect a person’s self-confidence and general appearance.

It is important to note that a good skin care routine, sun protection, a healthy lifestyle and regular skin treatments can help reduce the signs of both atrophic and hypertrophic aging and maintain healthy skin. Consulting a dermatologist or a skin specialist can also be helpful to determine the best treatment options for individual needs.

Risk of skin cancer

In terms of skin cancer risk, the atrophic form in men is believed to carry a higher risk than hypertrophic aging. With atrophic aging, the skin thins and loses its protective fat layer, making it more susceptible to damage from UV rays. In addition, the blood vessels can move closer to the skin surface, increasing exposure to UV radiation. The thin skin with reduced elasticity can also be more easily damaged by sunlight, increasing the risk of skin cancers such as basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma.

Atrophic skin aging has a higher skin cancer risk than the hypertrophic form

The hypertrophic form, on the other hand, is associated with thicker skin. While this in itself does not directly make the skin more sensitive to UV radiation, it can make the detection of early signs of skin cancer more difficult. Thickened layers of skin can make suspicious spots less visible, which can make it more difficult to detect and treat skin cancer at an early stage.

In other words

It is important to note that both atrophic and hypertrophic forms may be associated with other risk factors for skin cancer, such as prolonged sun exposure, a history of sunburn, a weakened immune system, and genetic predisposition. Wearing sunscreen, protective clothing and avoiding excessive sun exposure remain crucial, regardless of the type of skin aging, to reduce the risk of skin cancer.

It is always wise to regularly check your skin for suspicious spots and report any suspicious changes to your dermatologist. Early diagnosis and treatment of skin cancer increases the chances of successful treatment and recovery. More about Diagnosis of skin cancer, now what?

Understanding the different forms, such as atrophic and hypertrophic aging, can help you take better care of your skin and strive for healthy, radiant skin at any age. Remember that prevention and early intervention are key to maintaining a youthful appearance and reducing the risk of skin cancer. Always consult a dermatologist for tailored advice and enjoy healthy and radiant skin throughout your life.

Iconic Elements advice:

Picture of Dr. Francis Wu

Dr. Francis Wu

Dr. Francis Wu, een vooraanstaande dermatoloog, is de drijvende kracht achter Iconic Elements. Hij heeft sinds 2004 zijn expertise ingezet om een veilige en effectieve huidverzorgingslijn te creëren, geschikt voor zowel gezonde huid als huidproblemen. Iconic Elements, opgericht in 2016, is de eerste brede skincare lijn in Nederland ontwikkeld door een dermatoloog. Als medisch specialist streeft Dr. Wu naar het bevorderen van het welzijn van mensen door hoogwaardige en effectieve huidverzorgingsproducten te bieden. De proefdiervrije en vegan producten vermijden schadelijke chemicaliën en bevatten natuurlijke ingrediënten.
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