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article imageNew insights into skin aging

By Tim Sandle     Jul 3, 2013 in Health
Researchers have made a discovery about the processes involved in the regeneration of skin tissue and the causes of epidermal (outer skin layer) aging.
The research was carried out at the University of Sheffield together with the pharmaceutical company Procter and Gamble. For the research a study was conducted where a virtual skin model was used in order to test the three most popular theories of how skin cells function. The study was run over a three-year period.
The results suggest that a population of dormant stem cells reside in the lowest layer of the skin but these do not constantly divide to make new cells unless the skin is damaged. It was also noted that this stock of "sleeping" cells gradually depletes with age. This means that as a person gets older the regenerative properties of the skin decrease.
It is also thought that mutations of these stem cells are responsible for causing skin cancers such as basal cell carcinoma. Skin cancer is one of the most common cancer types in the world.
Basal-cell carcinoma can cause significant destruction and disfigurement by invading surrounding tissues. Superficial basal-cell cancer can present as a red patch like eczema; it is often difficult to distinguish basal-cell cancer from acne scar.
Commenting on the research, Dr Xinshan Li of the University of Sheffield faculty of engineering is quoted by the India Times as saying: "If it's possible to study this phenomenon for long periods of time, it may be possible to find ways to prevent the activation of mutated cells and therefore reduce the risk of developing the disease."
According to the Daily Mail, the breakthrough may open the door to the development of better beauty treatments to zap wrinkles for good.
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