Ageing is in your Genes
We have all been told if we want to see what we will look like when we are old that we should look at our mothers – this is probably true in a lot of ways
Throw in some external factors like how much time you spend in the sun and whether or not you drink and smoke certainly influence the way you age, but genes and genetics are a major culprit when it comes to wrinkles, sagging skin, age spots, and everything else.
So just how do your genes influence ageing and why you should spend a little more time talking to each other about it.
HOW ARE GENETICS LINKED TO AGEING
Your genetic blueprint, or genome, is made of approximately 25,000 genes—that’s around 3 billion letters of DNA. Every single characteristic you have, from cute feet to sugar cravings to crow’s feet, is held in that imaginary chain. And, like it or not, every single part of that chain comes from your parents.
Traditionally, science has seen aging as a straight 50/50 blend of genetics and environment. In part, this was because specific genes responsible for aging hadn’t been isolated. But very recently, a study revealed that ‘white European people with two copies of variant forms of MC1R, a gene linked to pale skin and red hair, have faces that appear up to two years older than those who are the same age but don’t have both copies’.
The takeaway is that learning more about how our genes influence the aging process and understanding which genes in particular are doing the work could lead to scientists having the ability to manipulate those individual genes in the future.
One question asked participants to consider aging in the era of selfies: 90% of moms and 88% of daughters believe expectations to look younger longer are greater now than in past generations. No wonder we all feel under pressure? A majority of mums wanted to look ten years younger, and nearly half of daughters would consider using an injectable to stave off the signs of aging (among those who hadn’t already done it).
TALK TO YOUR MUM!
Dr. Doris Day, who worked with the campaign, thinks talking about aging with your mom is the first step. When you think about skincare, beauty and aging, so much is linked to how your mother is aging—creating an open dialogue and discussion can be really valuable.
“Women can learn a lot about how the process may affect them by observing and talking about the changes their moms go through,” she says. “Genetics and nurturing good skin health practices are big factors influencing the way the face ages,” adds Dr. Day.
Interestingly enough, many mothers and daughters aren’t talking openly about beauty, skin health and aging. We actually discuss aging more often with our friends than with the person whose genetics most closely resemble ours.
In fact, the same study found that 82% of mums hope facial ageing is easier for their daughters, but more than half actually never talk about it together.
Try striking up a conversation about what you eat, the products you use, and what treatments you’ve tried—you might learn more from your mother than you think.