When one considers how we age, it's easy to assume a lot falls on genetics. You take after your parents and even grandparents in how you look, so it would make sense that how well you're destined to age would be written in your DNA as well.
Olay teamed up with Harvard scientists and 23andMe to analyze how women's skin ages—testing across generations and ethnicities. I recently heard Dr. Frauke Neuser, Olay's principal scientist and Dr. Alexa Kimball, professor of dermatology at Harvard Medical School explain their findings with us firsthand. During their research they came across certain women, making up about 10% of the study's participants, that were outliers—who they termed "ageless women." Within this group, the women's perceived skin age was well below their real age.
While the genes they were born with did not play a significant role (after accounting for differing melanin levels determined by ethnic origin), their gene activity was markedly different from the other 90% of women.
Unlike with genes, gene activity, or expression, is fluid. It fluctuates with your age, the seasons, and even your 24-hour biorhythm. With age, certain gene expressions are turned on and off, accelerating aging factors like the decrease of collagen. The gene activity footprint (an infrared-like visual of the exact areas of the DNA that were either off or working overtime) of the ageless women was almost a perfect photo negative of the footprints of women who looked older than they really were.
Ageless women have genes that are performing decades younger, and this study discovered that this is mostly determined by lifestyle factors, not the genes themselves.
Keep scrolling to see what "ageless women" have in common.
They Use Sunscreen Regularly
The number one lifestyle factor that determined which women were considered "ageless" was using sunscreen. When the women in the study were surveyed, those who said they always wear SPF were a whopping 78% more likely to be exceptional skin agers. Furthermore, women who avoided sunbathing were 35% more likely to fall into the ageless women group.
They Keep Their Skin Moisturized
Women who reported they very rarely had dry skin were 30% more likely to be exceptional skin agers. While this could mean they did not suffer from dry skin because of the nature of their skin, their environment, or because they regularly applied moisturizers, it is evident that well-moisturized skin helps to decelerate the damaging effects of aging. Taking care to keep skin healthy and moisturized by staying hydrated and using topical moisturizers are easy steps that contribute to the beauty and youthfulness of your skin today and beyond.
They Have a Positive Attitude
This final lifestyle factor correlated with exceptional agers might come as a surprise. While it was easy to see the connection between aging and protecting skin from sun damage and dryness, this ageless skin driver is a bit more abstract. Participants who strongly agreed with the statement "I have a positive attitude toward myself" were 30% more likely to be "ageless women."