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Acne or Aging? Pick Your Poison

October 12, 2016 | Contact Author | By: Rachel Grabenhofer
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Keywords: King's College London | acne | aging | telomeres | p53 | apoptosis | wrinkles

Abstract: Researchers at King's College London are onto something: the silver lining to acne—no really, there is one. In a recent study, individuals afflicted by acne were found to have longer telomeres, which can protect skin from aging.

According to a university press announcement, researchers at King’s College London have made an interesting connection between individuals having previously suffered from acne and their telomere length, which relates to aging processes.

Acne sufferers are likely to have longer telomeres in their white blood cells, and this can predict biological aging. Located at the end of chromosomes, telomeres are repetitive nucleotide sequences that protect chromosomes from deteriorating during the process of replication. Thus, the longer the telomere, the slower the aging.

The research, published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, measured white blood cell telomeres in 1,205 twins, one-fourth of whom reported experiencing acne. Statistical analyses adjusted for age, relatedness, weight and height showed that telomere length in acne sufferers was significantly longer, meaning white blood cells were more protected from deterioration with age.

The researchers add that dermatologists have long noted the skin of acne sufferers appears to age more slowly; that wrinkles and skin thinning often appear much later in those who experienced acne. It has been suggested that this is due to increased oil production but other factors likely are involved.

The researchers also examined gene expression and found the p53 pathway, which regulates programmed cell death, was less expressed in acne sufferers’ skin. This observation requires further investigation.