A laboratory in the Netherlands has made significant discoveries that could unlock the secret behind why some people age better than others, reported The Guardian. The quest for eternal youth or at least the desire for fewer fine lines and a persistent, strong jawline is perhaps a force behind the multibillion-pound beauty industry's revenue. While we know that our diet, our lifestyle balance, our stress levels and our exposure to UV-light all greatly influence the way we age and the quality of our skin, a specific gene has now been identified that affects how old people look.
The Guardian reported that the gene was uncovered in a study when scientists recognised that people carrying a mutation of this gene appeared roughly two years older. While this research is still to be verified, it points to the beginning of a deeper understanding of how people’s faces change in time on a molecular level. This early discovery could lead to scientists developing ways to slow down visible signs of ageing. “This is the first gene we have found for perceived age, and this single gene has an effect of two years,” said Manfred Kayser, forensic molecular biology professor at Erasmus Medical Centre, Rotterdam. “We are just at the beginning.”
In an expansion of the same study, called the Rotterdam study, Unilever scientists asked a focus group to guesstimate the ages of 2900+ people via photographs. Women were consistently rated as being older than they were, and men were estimated as being younger by the observers (charming!). The scientists dug deeper and, using the DNA samples given by the many volunteers, one gene (called MC1R) was identified as being more common on those who were classed as ‘older than their age.’
Kayser added that these early findings point to the future of skincare, beyond creams and potions. “By finding more genes involved in perceived age, we can better understand the relationship between how old you look and how healthy you are,” he said. “It is a different approach to understanding healthy ageing.”
All of this talk of youthful-looking skin has whet our appetite for the world's best skin-loving products and moisture-boosting elixirs!
Scroll down to shop our round-up of anti-ageing must-haves.
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Opening Image: Style du Monde