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Genes Behind Looking 10 Years Younger, Finds Harvard Study

Younger looking skin is all due to genes, says a study. (Photo: Wikipedia.org)

Why do some people look at least ten to 20 years younger compared to others who look older by mid 20s? Now the scientists have come out with the answer in genes, which make some look 10 years younger with their youthful skin.

In a study undertaken by Harvard University and genetic database 23andMe on more than one million people, it was found that 10% of white and 205% of black people actually carry the “genetic recipe”, solving the age-old puzzle as to why many blacks look younger than their white counterparts.

The genes essentially act in seven categories to keep the skin fresh and younger, said the researchers citing the DNA repair, the maintenance of the junctions between skin cells, and keeping the skin protected from the heat and dust in the environment, besides the main function of producing lamellar bodies in the skin that helps churn out lipids, molecules with fat, wax and nutrients to keep the skin moist.

“Many of us felt that people with darker skin aged better because of more pigment and better photo [sunlight] protection, but we have found there is much more to it than that,” said Alexandra Kimball, professor of dermatology at Harvard Medical School, who worked on the project.  She is also Director of the Clinical Unit for Research Trials in Skin and Dermatology.

While dermatologists had no idea of the source of ageing of the skin, the research findings may help find links with other factors that keep skin from ageing faster, said Kimball. “They have other characteristics in their skin which confer good ageing,” he said pointing out that researchers still do not have clearer idea about it.

To be published in the International Journal of Dermatology, their paper will herald new studies on medical intervention to keep the skin younger and fresh.

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