Get Healthier, Younger Skin

Do you realize how important your skin is?  

It is not just something that covers the beauty within you. Do you realize your skin has clock genes?  What does this mean?  According to the two studies below, the skin is involved in circadian rhythm control as if it is connected to the environment and tells the body what to do.  

When I think of circadian rhythm I think of the book written by Dr. Sidney Baker from Weston, CT.  He talks about how light goes through the eyes to the base of the brain where lies the pituitary gland.  When the pituitary gland senses a decrease in light, as in darkness, it produces melatonin which tells the body it is time to go to sleep. Do not mistake this for melanin.  Melanin is produced in the skin while exposed to sunlight and results in tanning.  You will learn about this in another blog.  

Can you turn back the clock by keeping your skin healthy?

So, back to the clock.  Can you turn back the clock by keeping your skin healthy? According to the studies below the answer is YES!

turn back time

As a nutritionist, what did I learn from the studies below?   

Don't mess up your oscillators. Don't be putting chemicals on your skin whether it be your shampoo, your body lotion, your supposedly anti-aging creams. Please read the labels on everything you put on you even if it's your hormone cream.  See, this is yet proof that what you put on you DOES get absorbed: estrogen cream, progesterone cream, nicotine patch....they WORK because they get absorbed through THE SKIN.   What happens if you BLOCK your skin with SUN BLOCK?  How will your oscillators work?  This is yet to be determined.  The moral of this blog is...what you put on your skin DOES MATTER.

J Drugs Dermatol. 2014 Feb 1;13(2):130-4.

Therapeutic implications of the circadian clock on skin function.

Luber AJEnsanyat SHZeichner JA.

Abstract #1

The human circadian clock ensures that biochemical and physiological processes occur at the optimal time of day. In addition to a central pacemaker in the body, recent evidence suggests that peripheral mammalian tissues also possess autonomous circadian oscillators, which are regulated by genes linked to distinct tissue-specific functions. The skin is situated in a position naturally exposed to diurnal environmental changes. The skin's chronobiological functioning influences skin aging, cell repair and development of skin cancers, as well as optimal timing of drug delivery to the skin. An understanding of circadian skin-related functions and the impact of their disruption allow clinicians to improve therapeutic decision-making and maximize the effectiveness of prescribed treatments.

Cell Mol Life Sci. 2012 Oct;69(19):3329-39. doi: 10.1007/s00018-012-1026-1. Epub 2012 May 25.

Human skin keratinocytes, melanocytes, and fibroblasts contain distinct circadian clock machineries.

Sandu CDumas MMalan ASambakhe DMarteau CNizard CSchnebert SPerrier EChallet EPévet PFelder-Schmittbuhl MP.

circadian rhythm

Abstract #2

Skin acts as a barrier between the environment and internal organs and performs functions that are critical for the preservation of body homeostasis.

In mammals, a complex network of circadian clocks and oscillators adapts physiology and behavior to environmental changes by generating circadian rhythms. These rhythms are induced in the central pacemaker and peripheral tissues by similar transcriptional-translational feedback loops involving clock genes.

In this work, we investigated the presence of functional oscillators in the human skin by studying kinetics of clock gene expression in epidermal and dermal cells originating from the same donor and compared their characteristics. Primary cultures of fibroblasts, keratinocytes, and melanocytes were established from an abdominal biopsy and expression of clock genes following dexamethasone synchronization was assessed by qPCR. An original mathematical method was developed to analyze simultaneously up to nine clock genes. By fitting the oscillations to a common period, the phase relationships of the genes could be determined accurately.

We thereby show the presence of functional circadian machinery in each cell type. These clockworks display specific periods and phase relationships between clock genes, suggesting regulatory mechanisms that are particular to each cell type. Taken together, our data demonstrate that skin has a complex circadian organization. Oscillators are present not only in fibroblasts but also in epidermal keratinocytes and melanocytes and are likely to act in coordination to drive rhythmic functions within the skin.


Joseph Naples
Joseph Naples

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