If you’ve ever had an acne breakout, you know there are few things worse for your appearance and confidence. But there’s finally a silver lining to being an acne sufferer – your “bad” skin may actually be “good” skin that looks younger over time.
A new study using data from over 600 pairs of twins found that people who have suffered from acne are more likely to have longer telomeres in their white blood cells, meaning their cells could be better protected against aging.
What are telomeres, and what do they have to do with aging? Telomeres are sections of DNA that protect chromosomes from deteriorating during replication, the process by which cells reproduce. As cells age, the telomeres slowly break down and shrink until that cell can no longer reproduce, so the longer the telomere, the longer it takes for that cell to “die.”
Prior studies have shown that white blood cell telomere length can be predictive of biological aging and is linked with telomere length in other cells of the body.
Additionally, skin biopsies of the same twins showed that a particular gene pathway which regulates programmed cell death was less expressed in acne prone skin.
For a long time, dermatologists surmised that acne sufferers had fewer wrinkles and delayed skin thinning due to having oilier skin, but the findings in this latest study suggest otherwise.
So if you’ve struggled with the occasional breakout or worse, take heart in knowing that you’re likely to age more gracefully because of it. And by taking the right steps, you can fight acne naturally and experience the benefits of slower aging without the perils of pimples.
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David H. Rahm, M.D. is the founder and medical director of The Wellness Center, a medical clinic located in Long Beach, CA. Dr. Rahm is also president and medical director of VitaMedica. Dr. Rahm is one of a select group of conventional medical doctors who have education and expertise in functional medicine and nutritional science. Over the past 20 years, Dr. Rahm has published articles in the plastic surgery literature and educated physicians about the importance of good peri-operative nutrition.