Olay 'breakthrough study' discovers gene expression changes that impact the skin's ageing process

By Michelle Yeomans contact

- Last updated on GMT

Olay 'breakthrough study' discovers gene expression changes that impact the skin's ageing process

Related tags: Gene, Dna

Olay has carried out in-depth research that shows how gene expression changes impact the appearance and quality of women's skin as they age across every decade.

According to Olay's scientists, this 'breakthrough' Multi-Decade and Ethnicity (MDE) study carried out over the last three years, reveals biological commonalities among a unique subset of women who look exceptionally younger than their age.

The collaboration with genetic firm '23andMe' marries genotypic and phenotypic science and examines women from their 20s to their 70s across the Asian, Caucasian, African and Hispanic ethnicities. 

The research was led by Dr. Alexa Kimball, Harvard professor of dermatology and other leading scientific and analytical research partners in the fields of systems biology, skin biology, and 3D imaging and hormone mapping.

While the cosmetics player reports it is continuing to collect and analyze samples from Asian and Hispanic women to broaden the application of the study's findings, scientists have so far discovered similarities among women who have not undergone cosmetic procedures but still appear to be "ageless."

Advanced bioinformatics analysis 

Through advanced bioinformatics analysis of approximately 20,000 genes, Olay identified a unique skin fingerprint among these "exceptional skin agers" comprised of around 2,000 genes.

They are responsible for a range of key biochemical pathways, including those involved in cellular energy production, cell junction and adhesion processes, skin and moisture barrier formation, DNA repair and replication, and anti-oxidant production.

The study found that although we all have these genes in our skin, how strongly these genes are expressed is distinct in "exceptional skin agers" – and that can be influenced by environmental factors, lifestyle choices and even skincare habits.  

"What's exciting about these findings is that the genes that make up the unique skin fingerprint of 'exceptional skin agers' may hold the key to successful ageing, and decoding which pathways they affect and why they are acting differently in these women – nature or nurture – can enable Olay researchers to help more women achieve skin that looks like the exception, not the rule at any stage of life​," says Dr. Rosemarie Osborne, P&G Beauty Research Fellow.

Olay presented the initial findings from this study at the world's most prestigious international gathering of dermatologists – the 23rd​ World Congress of Dermatology, held in the US this month.

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