Suffering from those itchy red pimples? Take heart, as your skin may age more slowly than those with no history of acne, a study has found.
Signs of ageing such as wrinkles and skin thinning often appear much later in people who have experienced acne in their lifetime.
It has been suggested that this is due to increased oil production but there are likely to be other factors involved, the study said.
The findings revealed that people who have previously suffered from acne are likely to have longer telomeres in their white blood cells, meaning that their cells could be better protected against ageing.
Telomeres are repetitive nucleotide sequences found at the end of chromosomes, which protect them from deteriorating during the process of replication.
The telomeres gradually break down and shrink as cells age, eventually leading to cell death, which is a normal part of human growth and ageing.
“Our findings suggest that the cause could be linked to the length of telomeres which appears to be different in acne sufferers and means their cells may be protected against ageing,” said lead author Simone Ribero, a dermatologist at King’s College London.
Previous studies have shown that white blood cell telomere length can be predictive of biological ageing and is linked with telomere length in other cells in the body.
“For many years dermatologists have identified that the skin of acne sufferers appears to age more slowly than in those who have not experienced any acne in their lifetime. Whilst this has been observed in clinical settings, the cause of this was previously unclear,” Ribero said.
‘Longer telomeres are likely to be one factor explaining the protection against premature skin ageing in individuals who previously suffered from acne,” added Veronique Bataille from King’s College London.
In the study the team measured the length of white blood cell telomeres in 1,205 twins.
A quarter of the twins reported having experienced acne in their lifetime.
Statistical analyses which adjusted for age, relatedness, weight and height showed that telomere length in acne sufferers was significantly longer, meaning that white blood cells were more protected from the usual deterioration with age.
The researchers also examined gene expression in pre-existing skin biopsies from the same twins to identify possible gene pathways linked to acne.
One gene pathway (the p53 pathway), which regulates programmed cell death, was found to be less expressed in acne sufferers’ skin.
This requires further investigation to identify other genes involved in cell ageing and how they differ in acne sufferers, the researchers noted, in the paper published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology.