You know the ones. The J.Los, J.Albas and Giseles, the Sofia Vergaras and Naomi Campbells of this world—those gals that just never look any older. So what's their secret? Superfoods… supercreams… surgery? Or it could simply be that they're "exceptional skin agers," an actual group identified by scientists who are perceived to look younger than they are. Whoa.
It comes from a Harvard Medical School study, who partnered with DNA analysis company 23andMe and Olay to find out exactly why some of us age better than others—and what that means for future-proofing our faces. The research was conducted on 350 women in their 20s-70s from Caucasian and African-American backgrounds, although they hope to study more ethnicities in future research.
What they found was that it's not necessarily that this group have different genes, but that certain genes are expressed differently in women who look younger than they were perceived to. For example, the genes responsible for energizing the skin to repair itself and make enough collagen may be more active in younger looking people. These genes also have a positive effect on the skin's moisture barriers and antioxidant levels. All this means fewer visible signs of aging.
Interestingly, there was a BIG difference in the biology of the ethnicities tested—and how they looked. Olay principal scientist Dr. Frauke Neuser told stylecaster.com that the gene expression of African American women appeared to lag ten years behind that of the Caucasian women in their study. "So what changes, biologically, in the Caucasian woman in her 40s doesn't change in the African American woman until her 50s. She keeps youthful-behaving skin for longer." Wowzer.
As well as helping identify the best practise for your skin group (wearing sunscreen, religiously moisturising and exfoliating etc), this news could also shape-up your skincare. It's thought that anti-aging products can actually "activate" youthful behavior in our genes, to make them behave in the same way as those possessed by genetically lucky "exceptional skin agers."
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.co.uk. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.