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Women who suffer from acne might have delayed signs of skin aging than those who never had acne, according to a research letter published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology.

Lead letter writer Dr. Simone Ribero, a dermatologist at Department of Twin Research and Genetic Epidemiology at King’s College in London, and her colleagues posit that women who have acne have longer telomeres, which are the caps on DNA strands that protect chromosomes in their white blood cells. Telomeres decrease in length as we age, and since acne maintains telomere length, skin aging might also be suspended. Ribero told Allure that acne patients had longer telomeres as 50-year-olds.

Dr. Ribero explains that dermatologists have anecdotally observed delayed signs of aging in acne sufferers. However, Adam Friedman, MD, professor of dermatology and Residency Program Director at the George Washington Medical Faculty Associates, has a different perspective. “I personally have not witnessed this finding in my patients,” he writes for MDedge. “Given that acne in its essence is a disease of chronic inflammation resulting from, for example, persistent activation of toll-like receptor 2 (TLR2) and NOD-like receptor family pyrin domain containing 3 (NLRP3) pattern recognition receptors, one would think the skin damage accrued would make these individuals look older, right?”

More research is needed to accurately connect the dots between delayed aging and acne, suggests Ribero. "There is some genetic reason at the basis of this association. We have found one gene that is expressed differently that plays a role in the apoptosis pathway, or the controlled death for cells," he said.

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