Poor skin cells. It appears we’ve been giving them a tough time for making us look older when, as it turns out, it’s not all their fault. A new study from the University of Michigan Medical School says that what surrounds the cells plays a role in aging too.
During the study, a research team found that when they added filler to the fiber-filled area that surrounds skin cells called the extracellulal matrix (or ECM), the cells acted younger than they were. Twenty one volunteers in their 80s had filler injected into the skin on their buttocks’ and after three months, they found that their skin cells started to produce more collagen, while their actual skin grew thicker.
"This shows that skin cells in elderly people have the capacity to respond robustly in a very positive way to alterations in the mechanical property of their environment," says senior study author Gary Fisher, Ph.D. "We still need to know more about how cells sense their environment, but in general it appears we have made a real difference in the structural integrity of skin."