Are Genetics to Blame for Bad Skin?

Or is it just plain luck?

Photo by Patricia Heal

This article originally appeared on MIMI

Look to any Hollywood red carpet or even your own personal high school reunion and you're sure to spot those who seem to age flawlessly and those who look good, but definitely look their age. Are good genes at play or do are these never-aging women hiding the fountain of youth in their backyards?

According to an Olay study conducted with Harvard University, 20 percent of African-American women and 10 percent of white women do have genes that keep providing that youthful glow as they age (the findings for Hispanic and Asian women hasn't been released yet).

"[These women have] skin that seems to defy the rules of aging," says Dr. Frauke Neuser, PhD, Olay's principal scientist, in an interview with Refinery 29. "They look 'ageless' compared to other women the same age, without having undergone a cosmetic procedure."

A study of their RNA (ribonucleic acid) proved that what these women have in common is that they are all "exceptional skin agers). For most of us, the genes that take care of our skin show a decrease in activity as we age, but for these genetically-blessed humans, theirs work better for a longer period of time.

Lucky ducks.

"Olay researchers found a unique gene expression fingerprint of around 2,000 genes, many of which are interlinked and connected," explains Dr. Neuser. "They are responsible for biological pathways such as natural-antioxidant production, skin-barrier formation, or cell-energy metabolism. We all have those genes, but while in the average woman they slow down and become less active with age, in the exceptional skin agers they maintain a higher level of activity — and we know that activity can be influenced by environmental factors, lifestyle choices, and even skin-care habits."

So, while you might not necessarily have active skin care genes running rampant through your body for decades, a solid skin regimen and a healthy lifestyle can still help you look and feel youthful for many years to come.