What’s New in Skin Care Research?

ATsai Editor
  • What’s New in Skin Care Research?


    Since the skin is our body’s largest organ and also the one most exposed to the elements, it’s important that we do everything we can to take care of it. Recent research is shedding new light on what causes certain skin conditions, how our skin ages, and what boosts skin cancer risk. Here are some of the more recent studies.


    How is gut bacteria linked to eczema? 


    Scientists have discovered that kids with eczema have more diverse gut bacteria than kids who do not have eczema.


    For the study, researchers in Finland observed kids with and without eczema between the ages of six and 18 months old. They found that all of the infants had the same gut bacteria at six months of age, but at 18 months, the toddlers with eczema had more types of gut bacteria found in adults than the children without eczema. The scientists said that a change toward adult-type bacteria at an early age seems to be a risk factor for eczema.

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    How does our skin age? 

    The surface layer of the skin, the epidermis, renews continuously over a 21-day cycle and is mostly composed of keratinocytes. A balance takes place between the epidermis, the membrane that is below it, and the dermis, which is the deep layer of skin, due to cell proliferation. This is known as homeostasis.


    This process of cell renewal is essential for tissue function, and alterations to it are responsible for the physical signs of aging, such as sagging skin, loss of hair, or wound-healing issues.


    Recent research has defined this process more clearly and found that a certain molecule, CD98hc, is involved in skin cell renewal and could determine the skin’s capacity to regenerate. A study in mice found that removing the gene CD98hc disrupts the skin’s balance and healing process, as well as the hair follicle cycle. Researchers found that this molecule recruits cells for skin renewal when necessary, such as for healing a wound. As we age, scientists believe this molecule has reduced ability to renew the skin, which is why our skin begins to sag. 


    Do some people have armpits that never smell?

    According to research, two percent of people carry an unusual form of the ABCC11 gene, which means their armpits do not smell – ever.  Researchers looked at 6,945 women and found that 117 carried this gene. However, researchers said 75 percent of these people still put on deodorant anyway, simply to follow cultural norms. 


    They also found that people who carried this gene were more likely to have dry, flaky ear wax as opposed to sticky ear wax. Researchers say a simple gene test could determine if you are wasting your money on deodorant.


    How does the skin respond to UV light?


    Another study has found out exactly how skin cells react to UV light in order to protect the skin. Researchers determined that melanocytes in the skin rely on an ion channel, TRPA1, to allow a rush of calcium ions into to the cells when exposed to UVA light. The rush of calcium ions triggers the cell to make melanin, which protects against DNA damage. 


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    This discovery parallels a study that found that some skin cells use a light-sensitive receptor outside the eye to trigger the production of melanin. Researchers say stimulating this chain of events could be a future target for improving the body’s natural protective response.


    Are tanning beds worse than lying out in the sun? 

    Recent research shows that tanning beds carry double the risk of skin cancer than spending the same amount of time in the summer sun. A team of researchers looked at 400 tanning beds in the UK, and measured UV radiation. In nine out of 10 beds, the UV radiation level was almost two times higher than the recommended limit in British and EU guidelines. 


    Researchers then analyzed the risk of getting skin cancer from using the tanning beds and compared it to the risk from the noontime, summer Mediterranean sun for the same length of time. The average skin cancer risk was two times higher for the tanning beds. One tanning bed, however, carried a risk six times higher than the sun. Researchers hope this information will deter people from using tanning beds. 



    n.p. (2013, January 23). "Eczema Linked To Gut Bacteria In Kids." Medical News Today. Retrieved from http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/255235.php


    n.p. (2013, January 23). "Regulator Of Skin Aging." Medical News Today. Retrieved from http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/255211.php


    n.p. (2013, January 18). "Two Percent Of People Have Armpits That Never Smell." Medical News Today. Retrieved from http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/255147.php


    n.p. (2013, January 23). "An Essential Step In The Skin's Response To UVA Light." Medical News Today. Retrieved from http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/255203.php


    n.p. (2013, January 18). "Tanning Bed Cancer Risk Double That Of Summer Sun." Medical News Today. Retrieved from http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/255082.php



Published On: January 28, 2013