So how much will that ridiculously expensive cream you just bought really erase your crows feet and lift your sagging jowls? Well, according to a £2billion human genome project that has been taking place over the last few years, our ability to grow old gracefully has already been predetermined by our genetic makeup, as researchers have established that there are some 1500 separate genes that will govern how long we remain wrinkle free!
The team of scientists have also identified that there are eight major causes of ageing skin, each one controlled by its own group of genes, and how you age depends partly on these genes and partly on your lifestyle.

So why does the skin deteriorate with age?

Hydration – one of the most important factors is the way that the skin collects and retains its moisture, using molecules that bind water into the skin. As we grow older, the genes that control this process become less active and our skin loses its ability to retain water, and without moisture, skin becomes wrinkled.

Collagen – this protein gives skin its underlying structure. As we get older, our collagen starts to collapse as the 40 genes that are involved in this process become overactive, leading to more wrinkles.

Inflammation – the 400 genes that are involved in inflammatory conditions become more active with age, again triggering more wrinkles, so a diet rich in essential fatty acids, such as those found in high strength fish oils can help to control inflammation.

Free radicals – around 200 genes control the skins defences against these molecules that roam the body harming DNA. Age weakens these defences allowing more wrinkles to develop, which is why the use of antioxidants both orally and topically is so important, as they ‘mop’ up these free radicals.

Skin regeneration – as we age, the production of new skin cells slows down, and the skins ability to repair itself is compromised.

Photo-ageing – ultra violet light from the sun speeds up the natural ageing process, damaging genes that are involved in keeping skin healthy, which is why sunscreen should always form part of your skincare regime.
The good news is, that by narrowing down the DNA involved with skin ageing, researchers hope to create drugs and creams which can stimulate some genes and suppress others, allowing you to stave off the ravages of time and restore those youthful looks!

In the meantime, some of this damage can be prevented and even reversed by optimising your nutritional intake and consuming the appropriate oral supplements, as well as applying ingredient specific topical skin care products.

More information about this and your biological age will be covered in a future post.