Now that winter is setting in, you might notice your skin isn’t looking as glowing as it did back in summer. As the temperatures go down and the central heating is turned up, this can lead to skin dryness over the cold months – not a great look when you’re gearing up to flaunt that Christmas party frock.
The arrival of winter can have a significant impact on your skin. Your lifestyle can contribute a lot to that – going on a sunbed to prolong your summer tans, or spending cosy evenings on the sofa with Christmas choccies and an eggnog or three. These kind of lifestyle factors hardly lend themselves to a soft, hydrated, radiant complexion. But it goes more than skin deep, and our DNA can have a lot to answer for when it comes to the condition of our skin.
If you are concerned about your dry skin or have a condition such as eczema, it may be worth discussing things with your GP.
Skin DNA – look out for these signs
Being aware of how our genetics affects our skin can help give us a head start to avoid the worst effects of ‘winter skin’ and help to improve our general wellbeing.
FLG gene – affects the skin’s outer layer
Several different genetic markers associated with the filaggrin gene (FLG) have been found to have effects on skin moisture. The FLG gene makes a structural protein that plays a critical role in the maintenance of the skin’s outer layer (epidermis) and in the skin’s ability to protect against environmental factors such as the sun. Variations in the FLG gene lead to a loss of filaggrin protein and may result in dry skin, which can feel uncomfortable and may also be a factor in accelerated wrinkle development.
AGER gene – accelerated ageing
The AGER gene is connected to accelerated skin ageing associated with the sugar in our diet. This gene is involved in regulating advanced glycation end products (AGEs). AGEs are formed during a process known as skin glycation where glucose from sugar and carbohydrates attaches to proteins in the skin, such as collagen and elastin. The accumulation of AGEs increases with age and they are believed to degrade collagen and elastin, causing the loosening of elasticity in the skin. AGEs are therefore implicated in accelerated skin ageing where skin may become looser, thinner and cracked. Variations associated with this gene could lead to increased ageing from eating too many sugary foods.
MC1R – UV sensitivity
A genetic marker associated with the MC1R gene has been implicated in (Ultra Violet) UV sensitivity (from the sun or other sources) and can signal whether a person is more likely to be sensitive to UV and encounter premature ageing as a result. This gene plays a role in the pigmentation of skin by regulating the different types of melanin produced in skin cells. One type of melanin allows a person to tan easily and provides more protection from the sun while another form makes skin more sensitive to the sun. Increased sensitivity to the sun can result in UV related skin ageing (otherwise known as photoageing).
What can I do about skin dryness?
There are steps we can all take to reduce skin dryness, such as moisturising, still using sun cream when we go outdoors to help protect us from UV and environmental factors. Also turning down the central heating by a notch or two and layering up with clothes and blankets can reduce spending prolonged time in a dry environment can help. But if you want to know more about what in particular could be contributing to your skin dryness, finding out more about your genetic markers could help.
By having a better insight into how your genetics may affect your skin, you can understand how your how you might be able to make changes to your lifestyle to keep your skin looking tip top over the winter season. Order a DNA Skin Care test today and discover more about the inner you.