Cosmetic science is increasingly looking at anti-ageing processes at a cellular and genetic level.
Until recently, it was accepted knowledge that humans weren’t able to control the genes we inherit at conception. However, research into feast-and-famine patterns of the 1800s in the very north of Sweden has challenged that theory. Scientists found that the life expectancies of later generations were dramatically affected by their ancestors’ diet.
Enter the discovery of epigenetics: ie changes in gene expression not caused by changes in the DNA sequence.
The beauty of epigenetics is that it may allow us to take control over our genome, and this could provide opportunities that positively influence our health, including skin and hair health. But to get a better understanding what this all means, let’s go back a few steps and decipher some of these terms.
Epigenetic beauty applications
Two of the most important reactions that take place in the epigenome are acetylation and methylation.
If enzymes can’t attach to the DNA due to the blocking nature of the methyl group, the gene remains off – a process dubbed methylation.
The arrangement of methyl groups can change over the course of a lifetime, and diet and environmental stress are the two major contributing factors in determining epigenetic change.
What research has discovered is, by altering methylation patterns, we can promote and restore positive epigenetic gene interaction and target anti-ageing in skin care.