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Want to Slow Skin Aging? A Recent Study Could Be Key

by kelly / January, 22 2020 01:30

Photo of a women with cucumbers on her eyes at a spa

The number one skin concern for many is aging skin. It happens to all of us and it’s nothing to be ashamed of but I understand why many of us want to slow it down. How do we do that? Well, understanding how and why our skin ages is key. So key that a recent study from Tokyo Medical and Dental University in Japan investigating just that found some exciting new potential anti-aging compounds.

How Our Skin Works

First, to understand the conclusion of the study we need a quick crash course in how our skin works.

Our skin is very active. I know it sounds weird. But it’s constantly shedding old stem cells and replacing them new and healthy stem cells. There’s actually a natural competition between all these stem cells where healthy cells drive out weaker cells and encourage replication of stronger cells.

At first this competition is great; it rids the skin of malfunctioning cells - even cancer-causing mutations. The healthy skin cells replicate more, outnumber the unhealthy ones, and enable the skin to rejuvenate itself and respond to injury. However, as we age the bad cells, if you will, begin to outbalance the good cells.

According to Emi Nishimura, a professor of stem cell biology at Tokyo Medical and Dental University in Japan and the researcher behind the study:

“Stem cell competition between epidermal stem cells sustains skin youthfulness, but the decline of the competition ends up with skin aging”

A Potential Fountain of Youth

Thanks to Professor Nishimura’s study – a key to this competition and a way to potentially slow down the aging process was discovered.

His study confirmed the importance of a skin protein called COL17A1. This protein is vital in skin cell competition keeping skin intact and unimpaired. As we age COL17A1 decreases.

Professor Nishimura was able to isolate two experimental chemicals that potentially increase or preserve levels of COL17A1. Nishimura showed that the chemicals Y27632 and apocynin applied topically can increase COL17A1 in cells and even promote wound healing.

I should mention that his study is still experimental and in the early stages. But it’s an exciting discovery nonetheless.


Of course COL17A1 is only one part of the overall aging process. UV radiation and other age related stressors also deplete our skin of new cells. So don’t forget sunscreen and sun protection in general – two proven anti-aging weapons.

For even more anti-aging information and tips check out our Anti-Aging blog series.

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