Wrinkles? Blame the genes

Scientists isolate the genes that cause ageing

Scientists believe they have isolated 1,500 genes responsible for the way our skin ages, explaining in much more detail why some people look youthful longer than others.

Researchers from P&G Beauty, Proctor and Gamble’s cosmetics arm, used the results and techniques of the £2bn global genome project to try and understand skin ageing.

Because so many genes are involved with skin ageing, it was considered too complex to unravel, until new techniques were developed in the genome project, reports the Times.

The scientists at P&G Beauty discovered that skin ages in eight different ways, each governed by a different group of genes.

Skin hydration is one of these eight areas. As people age, the molecules that the skin uses to bind in water become weaker, as the genes that control them become less active. The scientists from P&G Beauty discovered that this process involves up to 700 separate genes.

A second are of ageing is collagen, which firms the skin. As people age the genes that degrade collagen become too active, leading to wrinkles, and this process is governed by 40 genes.

The research shows how important genetic make-up is to skin ageing, but it also underlines the importance of environmental factors. According to the P&G research, aged skin that had not been sun-damaged showed about 3,800 genetic mutations, compared to 10,000 for sun-aged skin.

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