Doesn't everyone know a woman who looks much younger than her actual age? We all wonder what her secret is – was she blessed with great genes, does she use a 'magic" cream or has she had a cosmetic procedure? For the first time, there is in-depth research from Olay that shows how gene expression changes impact the appearance and quality of women's skin as they age across every decade.
Olay's breakthrough Multi-Decade and Ethnicity (MDE) study reveals biological commonalities among a unique subset of women who look exceptionally younger than their age. Additionally, the research found specific gene expression changes that impact the skin aging process during each decade of a women's life. Olay will present initial findings from the MDE study at the world's most prestigious international gathering of dermatologists – the 23rd World Congress of Dermatology, which is being held in Vancouver from June 8-13.
The MDE study, which was initiated in 2012, marries genotypic and phenotypic science and examines women in nearly every decade of life – from their 20s to their 70s – and across ethnicities – Caucasian, African, Hispanic and Asian. The study is led by Dr. Alexa Kimball, Professor of Dermatology, Harvard Medical School/Massachusetts General Hospital, and other leading scientific and analytical research partners in the fields of systems biology, skin biology, and 3D imaging and hormone mapping. Additionally, for the first time, Olay entered into a collaboration with 23andMe, the leading personal genetics company, to further understand the genes linked to skin aging and their biological variability across different ethnicities.
The initial findings of this MDE study include data from Caucasian and African research participants. From these, there are two key takeaways that will help determine what's possible when it comes to cosmetic skin care and looking ageless.
First, there are similarities among women who have not undergone cosmetic procedures but still appear to be 'ageless." Through advanced bioinformatics analysis of approximately 20,000 genes, Olay identified a unique skin fingerprint among these 'exceptional skin agers" comprised of around 2,000 genes. They are responsible for a range of key biochemical pathways, including those involved in cellular energy production, cell junction and adhesion processes, skin and moisture barrier formation, DNA repair and replication, and anti-oxidant production. The MDE study found that although we all have these genes in our skin, how strongly these genes are expressed in the skin is distinct in 'exceptional skin agers."
'What's exciting about these findings is that the genes that make up the unique skin fingerprint of -exceptional skin agers' may hold the key to successful aging, and decoding which pathways they affect and why they are acting differently in these women – nature or nurture – can enable Olay researchers to help more women achieve skin that looks like the exception, not the rule at any stage of life," said Dr. Rosemarie Osborne, Procter & Gamble (P&G) Beauty Research Fellow.
In fact, research conducted in-vitro has confirmed that Olay's top-performing ingredients, such as Niacinamide (vitamin B3), pal-KTTKS (peptide), Olivem and Lyslastine are key components to address skin aging.
The second key takeaway from these initial findings is that based on the study of a subset of Caucasian women, there are distinct gene expression 'tipping points" that occur in each decade as we age:
1. Decline in antioxidant response (20s)
2. Decline in skin bioenergy (30s)
3. Increase in cellular senescence (40s)
4. Decline in skin barrier function (50s)
5. Acceleration of all the above (60s)
The collaboration with 23andMe allowed Olay to examine in detail the exact ethnic ancestry profiles of all MDE study participants and include the results of that examination in the study. Olay has begun linking these ancestry profiles to skin properties to learn more about how skin ages among different ethnicities.
'We are excited to see how our collective research can impact new innovations in fields beyond healthcare and genealogy," said Emily Drabant Conley, PhD, Research Scientist and Director of Business Development for 23andMe. '23andMe is thrilled to see Olay applying genetics to beauty and skincare. This collaboration has the potential to demonstrate the value of genetics to millions of people through their everyday skin care routine."
'The MDE study is providing a wealth of insights that we are leveraging to design better performing products. The understanding of -exceptional skin agers' enables us to create next generation products to better delay the onset of visible skin aging by offering more personalized solutions. We want to empower every woman to be exceptionally ageless," said Dawn French, Vice President, Global Beauty Care Research & Development, P&G.
Olay is continuing to collect and analyze samples from Asian and Hispanic women in their 20s to 70s to broaden the application of the study's findings. Once completed, the MDE study will have examined female skin aging throughout six distinct decades and across four different ethnicities. In totality, this research positions Olay at the forefront of skin biology research which may lead to transformative skin care products.