Consumers have long been searching for the secret to maintaining a youthful appearance. The global beauty industry is saturated with creams, lotions and injections to help maintain youthfulness or even help reverse the ageing process.
The good news is that our DNA can reveal our susceptibility towards ageing and, through making changes in our lifestyle, we can prevent the majority of factors that affect our health – including premature ageing of the skin.
Recent research indicates that increased expression of certain genes may be the key to intrinsically younger looking – and younger behaving – skin. According to a study by the Harvard Medical Faculty1, it’s not just the genes you are born with that have an impact on ageing, but also those that turn on and off over time.
Women in the study who were younger in appearance had increased activity in genes associated with basic biologic processes, including DNA repair, cell replication, response to oxidative stress, and protein metabolism.
Women with exceptionally youthful-appearing facial skin in older age groups also had higher expression of genes associated with mitochondrial structure and metabolism, overall epidermal structure, and barrier function in their facial epidermal samples, as well as dermal matrix production.
A personalised approach
Genetic testing has advanced the science of ageing by highlighting the critical role of genes in assessing the best treatment for the individual.
“It reveals the risks you are carrying for skin ageing, what ingredients are relevant for you and how you can best focus on those skin concerns,” says Dr Danny Meyersfeld, founder and CEO of DNAlysis Biotechnology, one of South Africa’s premier genetic testing laboratories.
It’s all about personalising your skincare regime so that you can take preventative action to reduce the visible signs of ageing.
“Skin ageing is an extremely complex process influenced by multiple factors, both internal and external,” says Dr Sly Nedic, founder of 8th Sense Medical Clinic, and a certified functional medicine practitioner.
“Through DNA analysis and personalised medicine, patients can address biological ageing, premature ageing, and hormonal disturbances as a part of a holistic approach that takes the whole person into account using the latest in medical advances.”
The Genetic Link
Genetics play a large role in determining whether you have good skin, also influencing how our skin looks and behaves. Our genes are largely responsible for our skin type – dry, normal or oily, skin conditions like atopic dermatitis and eczema, and wrinkles.
Even individuals with “good genes” can show early signs of skin ageing if they have a high exposure to harmful external factors. On the other hand, people with a high genetic risk for skin ageing can limit their risk by avoiding exposure to harmful environmental factors.
“Take, for example, a 30-year-old woman who is troubled by dull, damaged skin, that is wrinkling and ageing prematurely,” says Dr Nedic.
“A lacklustre complexion often acts as a warning signal of underlying health issues. Genetic testing coupled with other measures can help to determine why she is experiencing these symptoms, what additional health issues she may be facing, and what lifestyle changes she needs to make to improve her health outcomes. Dermatologists and functional medicine specialists can offer patients personalised topical, nutraceutical, diet, and lifestyle recommendations, enabling the patient to take charge of their heath.”
The Role of DNA Testing
Understanding how the individual’s skin functions and the options and treatments that are available to help clients improve and optimise their skin has become much easier as a result of DNA tests that provide insight into key areas that influence skin health.
“DNA testing is advised for anyone who wants to address skin concerns including elasticity or loss of collagen, pigmentation, breakouts, accelerated ageing due to sun damage and pollution, and sensitive skin issues,” says Dr Meyersfeld.
Patients who adopt a personalised approach to health, inside and out, can improve the look and the health of their skin. The genes analysed in a DNA test work in biological pathways that contribute toward commonly reported skin concerns, such as skin elasticity, antioxidant status and environmental pollution, UV ageing, (hyper)pigmentation, breakouts, skin sensitivities and wrinkles.
Visit https://dnalysis.co.za to find an accredited practitioner or buy a DNA test online. An accredited healthcare practitioner from the DNAlysis network will guide you through the process.