It is estimated that humans have between 20,000 to 25,000 different genes that determine everything from our hair color to our height to how well we age. However, there is not a specific gene for skin. Our skin traits are actually dictated by a combination of different genes.
How Genes Affect Aging
We age in two ways — extrinsically and intrinsically. Extrinsic aging is caused by external factors like sun exposure, while intrinsic aging happens naturally as time passes. It is intrinsic aging that we inherit from our parents.
Through our genes, we inherit certain skin tendencies, like skin that wrinkles or sags early or late in life, acne and hyperpigmentation. But genes only make up half of the skin story. The choices we make and our lifestyle also has a huge impact on how our skin ages.
The Future of Genomics
The study of genes, known as genomics, is likely to produce many exciting skincare advances in the future. Scientists are currently researching how different genes respond to different environmental factors (like sun and pollution) and how they interact with each other.
How to Maintain Healthy Skin
Regardless of the skin type you inherit, wearing a daily moisturizer with an SPF of 15 or more is the single most important thing you can do to minimize the signs of aging. A regimen with the following steps can also help your skin’s overall health:
• Washing your face twice a day, in the morning and in the evening, cleanses your face of dirt and oil.
• Moisturize right after you cleanse to replenish your skin’s moisture.
• Moisturizing in the evening before bed will ensure you wake up with a supple complexion as your skin repairs itself overnight.
• An eye cream applied twice a day, under eyes and on over the lids, will protect and hydrate the delicate eye area, while also reducing dark spots and puffiness.
No matter what genes you were born with, these healthy habits will help minimize signs of aging to keep you looking healthier and younger, longer.