Scientists are Getting Closer to Reversing Signs of Skin Aging
It’s Called Epigenetics!
Celebrities rarely dish on their actual beauty secrets. But what if we told you that getting the famous Hollywood “glow” is more of a science than an art. Over the last two decades, the cosmetic industry has been exploring some major breakthroughs — many of which are changing the realm of skin care. Currently, cosmetic science isn’t just focused on formulating powerful ingredients, it’s also learning how to maximize its effects based on DNA behavior. Sounds neat, right? Just wait. This technology focuses on a trending field of study called “epigenetics”.
To unpack this science further, we’ll explain how epigenetics work and why it matters for beautiful, healthy skin.
What is epigenetics?
The study of epigenetics looks at what happens to our genes throughout our lives. Although a portion of our gene’s behavior is hereditary, we can also influence how they behave. To understand this process, we need to understand more about DNA. Don’t worry, we’ll keep it simple.
The role of DNA in epigenetics
Our DNA is a blueprint with a set of instructions that guide our cells. We have billions of cells, each its own DNA blueprint. They contain two main elements: a genome (the body’s worker) and an epigenome (the body’s operator). The genome’s job is to follow instructions and the epigenome’s job is to give instructions.
Information gets coded into our DNA and affects how our cells function. The epigenome controls what new information arrives, which influences how our cells express certain traits. All our genes — such as skin quality, hair health and metabolism speed — are all managed by the epigenome.
The basic structure of our DNA never changes throughout our lives, but the epigenome can add or subtract “extra tags” of information from our DNA blueprint. So depending on our lifestyle choices, emotional state and habits over the years, our epigenome can create new instructions for our DNA. Basically, the epigenome makes adjustments to our bodies on a cellular level based on how we treat it.
Getting to know the epigenome
The epigenome is “the boss” and records information based on our lifestyle choices, emotional health and personal habits. It relays this information to the “assistant operator”, known as the Methyl Groups (made of hydrogen and carbon atoms), which “ping” your genome (the workers) to respond.
For example: Let’s say you were a healthy eater, but over the years, you started a long-term pattern of skipping meals. Your cells will get new instructions from the epigenome, which recognizes that your body is entering starvation mode — and perhaps that instruction will be “let’s save energy by slowing down hair growth”. Here’s what’s happening: it’s not that your genes are changing, but rather, your epigenome is adding or subtracting “edits” to your DNA blueprint. Then in response, your Methyl Groups will dial certain genes up or down.
Why we have epigenomes
The epigenome makes sure our cells respond properly to how we treat our body.
It decides which traits stay active and which ones are deactivated. Think of it as a “red light” and “green situation”. The epigenome is the controller of which genes stay “on” or “off”, while the Methyl Groups react and manage “how much”.
Here’s another example: Let’s say your genetic code contains information for oily skin, but for the most part, you’ve always had normal, combination skin. Then, over the years, you’ve been experiencing high levels of stress and dehydration. The epigenome reads this information and passes on a memo to your genome, saying “hey, let’s dial up those oil glands — we need more sebum.” In response, your genome obeys and you start noticing greasier skin.
The clone analogy
Epigenetics can also explain why two clones can grow up to look different. In both clones, the DNA is still the same, but depending on their individual lifestyle choices and habits, their epigenome is writing different “information tickets” for the DNA, which affects how the cells behave in each clone.
Unless both clones lead identical lives (which is pretty much impossible), they will not grow up to look exactly the same. That’s why identical twins can age differently or even develop different acne problems.
Epigenetics and skin care
Cosmetic science is exploring how epigenetics can unlock the secret to reversing skin aging. Ahhh, now you see why it matters? Engineers are finding ways to develop formulas that “train” the skin cells to stay healthier over the long term.
Imagine if we could control our epigenome’s instructions. Obviously, we’d want to trigger the genes in our DNA that favor stronger, smoother skin. Unfortunately, this type of technology is SUPER advanced and still in its early stages of development. However, the cosmetic industry is already taking great strides toward this goal.
Epigenetics-inspired skincare products
Current breakthroughs in epigenetics are changing how skincare products are engineered.
Dr. Phillip Levy, a renowned aesthetic dermatologist, describes epigenetics as a switch. “As we age, the switches that keep our skin young and regenerate cells gradually go off, but the important thing is that they’re still there.” The goal is to continue activating these “good” genes — the ones that control your skin’s youthful firmness and glow. And ideally, we want to “turn off” the “bad” genes — the ones that cause skin laxity, pigmentation and fine lines.
NOTE: Bad epigenetic information isn’t permanent. So for instance, if you quit smoking, your epigenome might slow down your collagen destruction process. This way, your skin might age more slowly than if you were to continue smoking.
Epigenetics and anti-aging
The purpose of epigenetics in skin care is to train the cells to receive good epigenetic information. EMK technologies is a research facility that focuses on this science, working toward developing more sophisticated anti-aging treatments.
The Rescue Serum is the company’s most prized product; its unique formula has undergone decades of research in epigenetics. That’s why celebs like Madonna and Simon Cowell trust EMK products to maintain their youthful glow.
Epigenetics and SPF
The connection between sun care and epigenetics is also a trending topic. As we all know, exposing your skin to Ultraviolet (UV) Radiation contributes to various forms of skin damage: age spots, wrinkles and loss of elasticity. However, the extent to which we’re at risk of these problems depends on our behaviors.
UV aging and epigenetics
If we protect our skin from UV light using SPF, then we’re at a lower risk of skin aging. The reason, however, has to do with epigenetics. Over the years, on a DNA level, applying SPF to your face tells your genome, “hey, we’re protected; we don’t need to develop early dark spots!”.
Only 20% of skin aging is due to genetic factors; the other 80% is controlled by your epigenome, according to a dermatological study. So by protecting your skin with SPF, a hat and sunglasses, you’re helping create good epigenetic information. In turn, you can work towards preventing 80% of skin aging. Now that’s fun science!
To keep your skin protected, make sure to use an SPF-based moisturizer like the Guard Sunscreen or the Glowin™ Tinted Cream.
By unlocking the truth about anti-aging, there's no need to envy A-listers or interrogate your dermatologist. The “secret” to beautiful skin is truly a science. It’s a life-long journey, a never-ending training session for your skin, created by epigenetics.