Great skin could come down to your genes

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by By JEAN ENERSEN / KING 5 News

NWCN.com

Posted on August 15, 2009 at 1:34 PM

Updated Friday, Sep 25 at 2:24 PM

Video: Great skin could come down to your genes

Wrinkles, lines, discoloration - just some of the skin problems that detract from the beauty of your face. Could the causes and cures of those problems be linked to your genetic makeup? That's the newest theory in skin science.

"Although you don't look very oily to me just looking at you, I can see you have a lot of oil on your skin," a doctor tells her patient. "So this image shows us the bacteria on your skin. You see it's concentrated over your nose and on your forehead."

So why isn't acne a problem for this patient?

"I believe there's something that causes acne that we haven't discovered yet," said cosmetic dermatologist Dr. Leslie Baumann.

That's where genetic research comes in. Baumann has been improving the skin of her patients since 1997.

"Over the years I've kept a list of names of people who for some reason don't age very much, so they smoke cigarettes, they lay in the sun and they don't do anything I tell them to do, but their skin looks great," said Baumann. "Obviously that's genetic and I want to find that gene."

After plastic surgery, there is always excess skin that's removed and usually discarded. Surgeons working for the Cosmetic Medicine Research Institute in Miami will get permission from patients to use that skin for genetic testing. They are also enlisting plastic surgeons in the community to donate their patients' skin leftovers to a new genetic skin bank.

"It's just a great way for everybody to get involved in the future of medicine and genetic anti-aging," said Dr. Lisa Gunebaum, head and neck surgeon.

That also applies to study participants.

"Not only do I get the newest and latest things, but I also get to look younger and fresher," said Donnamarie Perrone, study participant.

The University of Miami Cosmetic Center is he first university-run cosmetic research center in the country. Even with all the high-tech science, experts still say the best anti-aging strategy is to use sunscreen.

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