Findings from a recent Harvard University study of women’s skin are pulling the rug out from under the beauty industry. Researchers have discovered what may be the real reason that some women’s skin shows its age more than others:


The findings were presented in June 2015 at the 23rd World Congress of Dermatology conference in Vancouver. They draw into question whether beauty creams and treatments are actually effective. (This must have been quite a shock to study sponsor and cosmetic industry giant, Olay Industries.)

Team Costhetics wants you to know more about this important scientific discovery. Don’t worry, we’ll keep the technical jargon to an absolute minimum.

Meet Methuselah, Queen of Your Wrinkles

The MDE (multi-decade and ethnicity) study began in 2012 with two hundred and thirty one female participants. They ranged in age from their 20’s to their 70’s, with ethnic backgrounds including

  • Caucasian
  • African
  • Hispanic
  • Asian

The researchers relied on hormone mapping, 3D imaging, and advanced bioinformatics to analyse approximately 20,000 genes in the study participants. They ultimately identified 2,000 genes (a “genetic clump”) common among those women who had not undergone cosmetic enhancement, yet who appeared “ageless.”

The researchers playfully named their discovery ‘Methuselah,’ after the oldest living man in the Old Testament

The genes in the clump were identified as instrumentalin:

  • Cellular energy production
  • Skin and moisture barrier formation
  • DNA repair
  • Antioxidant production

The Genes of Exceptional Skin Agers

Researchers reported that these genes exist in everyone’s skin, but how they act is unique in some individuals referred to as “exceptional skin agers.” So in the same way that some people are genetically inclined to be slim or nearsighted, genetics explains why only a lucky few are naturally pre-disposed to look younger longer.

The Methuselah genes are found in one-fifth of black Americans

and in only one in ten white Americans

How a Woman’s Skin Ages by Decade

A bonus of the broad-based research was information on general ageing trends in women’s skin.

  • 20’s  – decline in skin’s antioxidant response begins
  • 30’s – decline in skin’s bio-energy
  • 40’s – increase in age-related cellular deterioration
  • 50’s – degeneration of skin barrier function
  • 60’s – acceleration of all the above factors

The Harvard Study is ongoing. “Once completed, the MDE study will have examined female skin aging throughout six distinct decades and across four different ethnicities,” say representatives from Olay.

Costhetics will keep you posted on any updates.

Pin It on Pinterest