“Anti-aging” is a buzzword in the health and beauty community, and the global anti-aging market is expected to reach $331.41 billion by 2021. That’s a lot of money being spent on skincare products designed to delay the signs of aging. But how well do these products actually work?
The Genetics of Skin Health
Long story short, your DNA may have more of an impact on your skin than any product available on shelves. One study found that, of our 25,000 or so different genes, around 1,500 of those genes impact our skin health. They also determined there are eight major ways our skin ages, and each of these groups is controlled by its own group of genes. In fact, there are around 200 genes that affect how the skin defends against free radicals, which can age skin.
Everything from stretch marks and varicose veins to discoloration and skin sagging are related to our genetic makeup. This explains why some people start seeing wrinkles, acne, and skin discoloration in their 20s while others may not experience skin troubles until later in life.
Genetic Skin Disorders
If your genetic makeup can impact how quickly or slowly you wrinkle or your skin ages, it only makes sense that there are also several skin disorders that are genetic. There are a few skin disorders that are nearly entirely caused by inherited factors, including albinism, epidermolysis bullosa, ichthyosis, and neurofibromatosis.
However, it’s important to remember that you can’t have a gene for a disorder. Genetic skin disorders, like any other genetic disorder, is caused by the mutation of a gene. While they can be passed down from your parents or grandparents, there isn’t a 100% guarantee that you will also inherit the disease.
Many skin disorders are caused by a combination of genetics and environment, such as skin cancer. While a family history of skin cancer can increase your risk of experiencing skin cancer, other factors include excessive sun exposure and having fair skin.
Steps You Can Take
While genetics play a large role in your skin health, it doesn’t mean you’re destined to inherit skin cancer, wrinkle early, or experience adult acne. Your lifestyle choices also play an important role in your skin’s health. Research shows that 40% of aging factors are non-genetic, meaning you can take actions to improve your skin health.
For example, we shared that there are 200 genes that control how your skin defends against free radicals. Aging can weaken our skin’s ability to defend against free radicals, but eating antioxidant-rich foods, like berries and green tea, can help our bodies absorb free radicals better.
Here are just a few healthy lifestyle habits to make that can improve your skin health:
- Drink plenty of water. It’s the most common advice given, but it’s essential for your health. Staying hydrated keeps your skin hydrated, helping to promote the loss of dead skin cells. The more hydrated your skin, the plumper and more supple your skin.
- Wear sunscreen. Regardless of whether or not skin cancer runs in your family, wear sunscreen any time you are outside in the sun. The sun ages skin by damaging your DNA and skin cells. Along with potentially experiencing skin cancer, sun damage can cause skin discoloration and wrinkles.
- Don’t smoke. Along with sun damage, smoking is one of the worst things for your skin. Toxic chemicals in cigarettes can seep into pores, causing congestion and free radical damage.
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet. Eating foods rich in antioxidants and vitamins, from fatty fish to vegetables and fruits, can help neutralize the free radicals that can cause skin discoloration and wrinkles.
It can also be helpful to take a DNA test specific to skin health. By understanding your genetic predisposition to wrinkles, cellulite, inflammation, and other skin conditions, you can make positive changes to eliminate, reduce, or delay symptoms for a personalized skin care plan.
With the Pathway SkinFit test, we focus on 23 DNA insights that you can turn into powerful lifestyle changes and a personalized plan for how to care for your skin. With the SkinFit test, you’ll discover your personalized skin genetic profile, including analysis of seven categories of skin health, and how to proactively address your skin health through lifestyle improvements. You’ll also gain insight into which skin nutrients and topicals will benefit your skin the most and which procedures are recommended for you.
Combining the insights you gain from the SkinFit test and healthy lifestyle changes, you can take the first step towards beautiful skin.