There are several extrinsic factors that can have an impact on the health of our skin, from lifestyle choices, such as tobacco usage and nutrition, to the amount of sun exposure our skin has. However, there are also intrinsic factors, most notably linked to our genetics, that affect the health of our skin. OROGOLD reviews whether or not skin health is predetermined by genetics.
What Do Genes Do?
Scientists have estimated that there are between 20,000 to 25,000 different genes in the human body. These are made up of our DNA, and determine each and every one of our characteristics by telling the cells in the body how to make proteins. When it comes to the skin, genetics are extremely complicated, as there is no specific skin gene. Instead, many genes work together to determine one trait. Since the skin is made up of so many proteins, genes have a huge impact on the skin. Collagen, which forms the skin’s basic structure, is a protein, as is melanin, the pigment that gives our skin its color.
Genetic Skin Disorders
There are several common myths when it comes to genetic skin disorders, such as the one stating that there is a specific gene that signifies a skin disorder, or that all genetic skin disorders are immediately present at birth. These are both incorrect, as there is no specific gene for any disorder. Instead, these are created when regular genes are mutated. Genetic disorders are also not always present at birth, and can often begin to show as your cells get older, or if they are exposed to certain harmful chemicals. This is especially true when it comes to skin cancer. Although excessive exposure to the sun greatly increases the risk of cancer, this risk is even higher when you take certain genetics into account, such as family history of cancer and having light skin and freckles. Genes also control the way in which the body generates new cells to replace the dead ones, and, if our DNA has been mutated, our genes incorrectly instruct the body to create cells that form a cancerous mass. There are certain skin disorders that are caused almost entirely by genetics. These include Albinism, where the body has not produced enough melanin resulting in pale hair, skin and eyes, Neurofibromatosis, which causes tumors under the skin and dark pigmentation on the surface, and Ichthyosis, which causes a buildup of dry, thick and scaly skin.
Skin health is an extremely important topic, and it is always useful to know what determines the health of our skin in order to look after it better. Although genetics do have a large impact on skin health, it would seem as though external factors play a bigger role, and any genetic skin predispositions can usually be kept under control with a healthy lifestyle. OROGOLD also recommends developing a good skin care routine to help keep any extrinsic factors at bay.