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The Genetic Basis For Wrinkles

By Daniel Baker

Have you ever wondered why some people seem ageless, never developing the wrinkles that appear on most peoples’ faces? There are, of course, many lifestyle factors such as diet, sleep, stress, and sun exposure impacting the development of wrinkles. Genetics also play a key role.

According to a new study, genes inherited from your mother’s side are those most likely to impact the appearance of your skin. The research, published in the journal Nature, focused on the relationship between genes and cellular ageing. The researchers found that mitochondrial DNA passed down from your mother influences how your body ages.

Between 20,000 and 25,000 human genes have been identified. Around 1,500 are known to play a role in skin ageing. The age at which you start to notice wrinkles, as well as their severity and depth, is influenced by these genes.

Look to your family tree for clues about how you’ll fare as you grow older. If your mother developed wrinkles at a young age, you may sport your own facial lines early. On the other hand, if your mother’s skin remained smooth past middle age, you could be facing a wrinkle-free future yourself.

Other factors play a role as well, such as whether you use sunscreen regularly, how much water you drink and whether you get enough sleep. Growing old gracefully or developing a face full of wrinkles depends both on your genes and on your lifestyle.

Future Developments

Researchers hope that a fuller understanding of the role genetics plays in ageing will help in the future development of anti-ageing treatments. For instance, by narrowing down the DNA involved in skin ageing, researchers may be able to develop medications or creams that stimulate or suppress certain genes to restore a youthful appearance.

Turning Back the Clock

Although such gene-based therapies are years away, there are already methods to reduce the signs of ageing. Whether you seek long-term results targeting deep facial folds, or are looking to treat fine lines with a less-invasive treatment, facial plastic surgeons offer several treatment methods designed to lessen the visible effects of ageing.

For instance, muscle relaxant injections can smooth wrinkles caused by overactive facial muscles, and injections of dermal fillers can fill in the fine lines caused by loss of skin volume. Other surgical techniques such as facelift surgery or brow lifts can reduce more serious wrinkles and provide longer-lasting results.