AP Biology class blog for discussing current research in Biology

Ending the Age of Aging Skin

“Your epidermis is showing,” my older sister once mischievously teased. What I at first thought was an inappropriate reference turned out to be an anatomical term for skin. This external tissue takes on a lot, from ultraviolet radiation to harmful chemicals and gases. With age, the damage is visible, as my sister had once indirectly implied, but a new study suggests this physical deterioration is fixable.

Nadine Pernodet, a scientist at the Materials Science and Engineering department at Stony Brook University, looked into how skin function changes due to epigenetic changes. She confirmed that skin cells follow a circadian rhythm (they change based on a daily schedule). For example, skin is relatively dry during the day, acting as a barrier to the elements, while it works to repair itself overnight and is more hydrated in the morning. However, when comparing the human skin cells from younger and older subjects, Pernodet found that these rhythms were only present in the young cells.

Perdenot further investigated with her team, studying other cellular processes that the circadian rhythm affects such as cellular recycling processes (found in lysosomes) and protein production. She utilized metabolomics, a method that measures the presence of metabolites (the products of metabolic processes such as carbohydrates, lipids, and amino acids) at any given time. Scientists removed skin metabolites for analysis using special tape and identified hundreds that affected skin appearance. They found that over sixty percent of metabolites cycled rhythmically for Caucasian women 25 and younger, but that less than twenty percent of those same metabolites oscillated strongly or consistently for women 60 and older.

The results showed that metabolites are more active and follow a circadian rhythm in younger skin cells, revealing how oscillation weakens and skin repair efficiency weakens with age. Though, there is much hope for potential solutions. In identifying the issue, certain skin-treatments have incorporated specific peptides which return the skin to a more youthful rhythm by restoring the once-lacked metabolites. This, in turn, can ultimately reduce visible signs of aging. Brands such as Estee Lauder are at the forefront of this terrain.

The study may also open up more research, as the metabolomic test strip can be used for other parts of the body, revealing other health conditions and issues, too. The future (and our skin 😉 ) looks bright. How do you care for your skin? Which products and habits do you use? Let me know in the comments below.


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  1. kylsquared

    Hey Jessophagus! As a skincare fanatic, I really enjoyed your article! I find the study of the skin cells processes in relation to aging very fascinating and you’ve done a great job of explaining it in relation to metabolomics. Within this article (, I’ve found that Estee Lauder has also found inflammation to be a cause of accelerated skin again and has developed a skin treatment of fermented kelp to ease the effects of aging! It is always cool to know the science behind skincare and I’m excited to see the future strides we will make!

  2. largeintestein

    This article was really fascinating! I never actually knew why skin becomes wrinkled (gas and UV exposure, etc.), as I always just assumed that “it came with age.” I found a cool article that talks a lot about the UV exposure induced wrinkles on our skin, and how to treat it. It offered visual scans of elastic fibers before and after repetitive UV exposure, and makes it clear as to why our skin wrinkles with age!

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