19 March 2012

Genes hold the key to ageing skin

Your DNA might help dictate how your skin changes with age, one expert says.


Your DNA might help dictate how your skin changes with age, one expert says.

While factors such as smoking and sun exposure contribute to skin ageing, a person's genes can have an even greater influence, explained Dr Zoe D. Draelos, a consulting professor at Duke University School of Medicine.

"There is groundbreaking research underway to determine the differences between old and young genes," Draelos said. "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."

Researchers are examining differences in how genes are expressed in older and younger skin, and how diet may affect those genes.

How the study was done

In one study, pregnant mice were fed a diet lacking in folic acid, which changed the expression of the gene responsible for hair colour in their offspring. The poor diet resulted in a change from "blackish" to "blondish" hair in the offspring and in all future generations.

"This study demonstrated, quite remarkably, how some genes are turned on and off by what you eat," Draelos explained.

"As dermatologists, we're constantly asked by our patients 'what should I use on my skin to make it look better,'" she noted. "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."

Information presented at medical meetings should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Read more:
How your skin works

(Copyright © 2012 HealthDay. All rights reserved.)

This article has not necessarily been edited by Health24.


Read Health24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Ask the Expert

Skin expert

Dr Suretha Kannenberg holds a degree in Medicine and a Masters in Dermatology from the University of Stellenbosch. She is employed as a consultant dermatologist by Stellenbosch University and Tygerberg Academic Hospital, where she is involved in clinical duties and the training of medical students and dermatology residents. Her areas of interest and research include vitiligo, eczema and acne. She also performs limited private practice work in the Northern suburbs of Cape Town in general and cosmetic dermatology.

Still have a question?

Get free advice from our panel of experts

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

* You must accept our condition

Forum Rules