Teenagers cursed with acne could have the last laugh over their peers with “perfect skin” as they will stay looking youthful for longer, new research suggests.
Experts claim it’s because people with acne have a built-in protection against ageing.
That means things like wrinkles and thinning skin often appear later.
The study, published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, focused on the white blood cells of people with acne and found they had longer protective caps on the ends of their chromosomes than those without acne.
The protective caps, called telomeres, have been compared to the plastic tips on the end of shoelaces that stop them from fraying.
The telomeres stop chromosomes (packages of DNA) from deteriorating and people with long ones generally age more slowly – and show signs of ageing later – than people with short ones.
The researchers studied 1,205 female twins, a quarter of whom had acne, and analysed samples of their skin. They identified a skin pathway, called P53, which regulates cell death and can begin when telomeres become too short.
The acne sufferers were shown to have a less active P53 pathway than the others.
Dr Simone Ribero, from King’s College London who led the research, said dermatologists have long noticed that acne sufferers’ skin seems to age more slowly than people who have never had acne. However, the cause had been unclear until now.