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Steps To Skin Beauty - The Age Defiers

Every cell in our body will age. With wrinkles and age spots, the skin is the first human organ to show signs of ageing. It would be wrong to suggest that we have found a way to beat ageing. The truth is we have not. We do know enough about the ageing process, however, to formulate strategies that target processes implicated in the ageing process.

Two popular theories on ageing can form the basis of an age defying strategy:

  • The free radical or anti-oxidant theory
  • The hormonal theory
Photo courtesy of Michael Bonkowski

Animal models such as Drosphila (fruitfly), Caenorrhabditis elegans (roundworm) and mice are providing important insights into the biology of ageing.

Theories on ageing
  • Free radical theory
    Free radicals (reactive oxygen species or ROS) are unstable molecules with an extra electron that go around stealing electrons from wherever they can, causing oxidative damage to cell membranes, DNA (deoxyribonucliec acid) and other proteins. Our body's metabolic processes, tobacco smoke, pollution and ultraviolet light generates free radicals.
  • Advanced glysolated end-products (AGEs)
    AGEs are formed when glucose and other reducing sugars form cross-linkages with amino acids (proteins). This process is called glycosylation or glycation and once formed, AGEs cannot be broken down and accumulate in tissues, impairing function. AGEs may act together with oxidative damage caused by free radicals in a process known as glyco-oxidation.
  • Telomere theory
    Telomeres are repeat sequences of DNA that cap the end of chromosomes. When a cells divides, it replicates all its chromosomes except for some of the DNA sequences for the telomere. The telomere therefore gets shorter and shorter with each cell division until the cell stops dividing altogether. Telomeres therefore act as a molecular clock that signals the end of cell division and the start of ageing.
  • Hormone theory
    Hormone levels fall with age and this is particularly the case HGH (human growth hormone), testosterone, DHEA and estrogen. The hormone theory argues that ageing is a consequence of declining levels of hormones. It forms the basis for the use of hormone replacement therapy to delay the ageing process.
  • Accumulation of chemical garbage theory
    According to this theory, cells stop functioning because they become cluttered up with toxic by-products of cellular metabolism. Interestingly, lipofuscin, the yellowish-brown garbage that accumulates in lysosomes (our cell's trash cans) has also been found in age spots (senile lentigines or liver spots) that are often the first sign of skin ageing.

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