Do you ever wonder why two women, who are the exact same age, look years apart? Sure, extrinsic factors like sun exposure and smoking can be the culprit, but dermatologists are now starting to study how intrinsic factors-the genes inherited from your parents-can have an even greater influence on how your skin ages.
“There is groundbreaking research underway to determine the differences between old and young genes,” says Durham, N.C., dermatologist Zoe D. Draelos, MD. “The hope is that by understanding how to make old genes act younger and how to keep young genes from getting old, we can better advise our patients on caring for their skin.”
With genomic testing, researchers can look at the differences in how genes are expressed in older and younger skin and how certain ingredients in skin care may affect those genes to hopefully produce changes in the skin. To start, aquaporins, the proteins in the cell membrane that regulate the flow of water, are currently being looked at to understand how ingredients like glycerin, a popular skin-care ingredient, interacts with them. In fact, glycerin-based moisturizers are becoming increasingly popular, and the time-tested ingredient is being researched for its potential in improving cosmeceuticals that are used today.
“As dermatologists, we’re constantly asked by our patients ‘what should I use on my skin to make it look better,’” she says. “This next generation of genomic-based research is helping us determine not only what ingredients may work best for specific skin types, but how what we eat now and throughout our life can affect our skin as well. Science holds the key to helping us make better recommendations based on this newfound knowledge.”
Here’s to looking at the future of anti-aging skin-care.
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