Could Lead to Restorative Skin Treatments
Anti-Ageing Discovery. We may have a Multi-billion-dollar skincare industry that makes plenty of marketing success claims. However, absolutely nothing exists that can prevent our skin from turning into tissue paper as we age. In addition, accumulated damage from UV radiation and other age-related stressors drains the skin’s pool of renewal cells. Also, called stem cells, and there is no way to stop or slow this process. But hope for skin sufferers is on the horizon. Here a new study published in Nature provides an insight into how stem cell loss occurs. And it also identifies two chemicals that may be able to prevent it.
Anti-Ageing Discovery. The research was led by Emi Nishimura, a professor of stem cell biology at Tokyo University in Japan. Also, it revealed that ageing and UV exposure deplete stem cells of a crucial collagen protein. So then, skin enthusiasts may recognize collagen as a key player in maintaining healthy, youthful, elastic skin. As a result, the weakened stem cells no longer usually divide. And are ultimately forced to turn into adult skin cells. Consequently, over time, so many stem cells become damaged that there aren’t enough healthy ones to replace them.
How Skin Works
Anti-Ageing Discovery. Our skin has two sections: the epidermis on top and the dermis underneath. So then, the top layer of the epidermis is constantly being sloughed off, as part of normal skin health. Also, replaced. from a self-replenishing pool of stem cells that hang out on the bottom (or basal) layer. Also, these stem cells have roots that anchor them to a thin piece of tissue called the basement membrane. And that connects the epidermis and the dermis. In addition, the basement membrane is essential for maintaining a cell’s stemness. And the ability to replicate and mature into another type of cell.
Most of the time, the stem cells in the epidermis divide horizontally, cloning themselves and adding to the renewal pool. Sometimes, though, they divide vertically. And the new cell starts to mature into an adult skin cell. And which is gradually pushed up, through the layers of the epidermis.
Thereby replacing older cells at the top of the epidermis with younger cells from the bottom. So then, this explains how cuts heal,, and skin stays young-looking. However, as people age, the pool of stem cells becomes depleted, and the normal cell turnover slows. Therefore, the result is leaving people with thin, fragile skin.
This study suggests that the stem cells that divide vertically do this because they are impaired by normal ageing. And the normal cell turnover process, including exposure to UV light, or other types of toxins. Also, not only does the new adult cell start its journey through the epidermis. Furthermore, the original stem cell also gets pushed off of the basal layer. Thus, forcing it to mature. This is because the damaged stem cell’s roots have become weakened. So then, it can no longer sufficiently anchor to the basement membrane.
“It appears that this is due to a quality-control mechanism. Here, when skin stem cells get damaged they will be purged from the skin. However, if you’re gripping that basement membrane, you’re going to do better.”
At first, this competition is beneficial, ridding the skin of malfunctioning cells or even cancer-causing mutations. However, at a certain point, too many stem cells become damaged, and they outnumber the healthy ones. When this happens, the skin can no longer effectively rejuvenate itself or respond to injury. “Stem cell competition between epidermal stem cells sustains skin youthfulness, but the decline of the competition ends up with skin ageing.”
The linchpin in this process is collagen 17, a specific type of collagen protein that is critical for rooting the stem cell to the basement membrane. As stem cells become damaged, they lose precious amounts of collagen 17. The more protein they lose, the weaker their bond gets to the basement membrane. Afterwards, eventually, forced out by neighbouring healthy cells.
The good news is that there may be a way to increase or preserve levels of collagen 17 in stem cells, staving off this process of skin ageing. Nishimura showed that two experimental chemicals, Y27632 and apocynin, applied topically can increase collagen 17 levels in cells and even promote wound healing. This is great, but it is still at the early stages.
This does not mean you should purchase the next skincare product you see that has “collagen” or “stem cells” on the label—there is no evidence that anything on the market affects this pathway. But it does suggest a scientifically backed rejuvenating cream could be on the horizon, in the next couple of years.
Important Note *
Remember that everyone is different, and it is ultimately YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to find what your body responds to. So please do your due diligence before trying anything new, including getting Medical Advice to ensure your safety and peace of mind.
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