What are telomeres and what can they do for my skin?

At the ends of our chromosomes are strands of DNA. Often described as their ‘plastic shoelace tips’, telomeres bind them and protect our genetic data.

Telomeres make it possible for our cells to divide without losing genes. Cell division is crucial for our bodies to grow new cells such as skin, bone and blood.

Without telomeres, the main part of our chromosome would get shorter each time a cell divides.

By protecting our DNA strands, telomeres cultivate our genetic information, rather than allowing it to be scrambled or destroyed.

Crucially, they are the parts of our chromosomes that affect ageing and lifespan.

A study by Nobel Prize in Medicine winner, Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn, began to show a connection between telomeres and cell longevity—the longer the telomere, the longer the cell life.

Whilst long telomeres indicate that you will age better, shorter telomeres are associated with a more limited lifespan.

How telomeres can help your skin

In a nutshell, the longer your telomeres, the better your skin health. The good news is that it’s not just down to the luck of genes ‘monopoly’: Dr Dean Ornish’s research indicates that lifestyle choices can really help to lengthen telomeres.

The five year study at the Preventive Medicine Research Institute, indicated that regular yoga, a healthy diet, stress management and exercise are all credited with lengthening telomeres.

Dr. Ornish has shown that this combination can reverse heart disease and diabetes.

It has also been attributed to potentially stabilising prostate cancer and halting its progression. In effect, changing your daily routine can make it possible to ‘reverse’ ageing at a cellular level.

We already know that stress plays havoc with our skin. Reduction of this – alongside other factors, makes longer telomeres, which help to keep skin smooth and supple.

With the news that yoga can actually increase skin confidence and general wellbeing, our weekly office session has never felt so good for the soul!

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