Did you know that people today live on average 30 years longer than people did 100 years ago? This incredible leap in human longevity is no accident: medical advancements like antibiotics, vaccines, and life-saving surgeries have made it possible for us to far exceed the lifespans of our ancestors.A century ago, skin health didn’t make much difference – by the time skin started to decline and diseases like skin cancer began to emerge, most people had already died of something else. But today, we need our skin to stay healthy for much longer. While human skin has evolved over millennia to protect the body against environmental aging, it hasn’t evolved quickly enough to keep up with the rapid increase in human lifespan. Without evolution to help us out, it’s up to each of us to manage our own skin health – taking protective measures to prevent skin aging so our skin can remain strong well into our golden years.
July 3, 2023
Luckily, longevity scientists here at OneSkin have created solutions to prevent skin aging before it imparts lasting damage. Let’s explore the science behind aging prevention and when is the best time to start protecting your skin.
01 How can skin aging be prevented?
For centuries, people thought aging meant an inevitable decline in health. But science shows us that this couldn’t be further from the truth, especially for the skin. The vast majority of skin aging is extrinsic, caused by preventable external factors like sun exposure, and chronic stressors.¹ At the cellular level, both this type of preventable aging and unpreventable genetic aging is caused by a phenomenon called cellular senescence.
Now considered the central hallmark of aging, cellular senescence is the accumulation of aged cells at the end of their life cycle that induce aging in neighboring cells by excreting pro-inflammatory chemical signals called SASP (senescence-associated secretory phenotype). Like zombies, these dead cells infect the healthy cells around them with the release of SASP and kickstart a cascade of rapid aging. Linked to both intrinsic and extrinsic aging, senescence has systemic impacts and is associated with the development of a number of age-related diseases.²
By targeting the accumulation of these cells within the skin, it’s possible to prevent the aging process from accelerating – increasing the length of time that your skin stays healthy and strong. At the forefront of this research is the development of senotherapeutics, molecules capable of reducing cellular senescence.²
02 How does OS-01 work to prevent skin aging?
It might sound like science fiction, but longevity scientists have already identified a number of senotherapeutic molecules capable of reducing senescence, either by removing senescent cells (senolytics) or preventing their spread by blocking SASP (senomorphics). One of these is our very own proprietary peptide, OS-01.
As outlined in our recent publication in npj Aging, the OS-01 peptide has been proven to reduce the accumulation of senescent cells in ex vivo human skin samples. In research studies conducted by our in-house science team, we found that OS-01 prevents skin cells that are in early stages of senescence from entering late-stage senescence by enhancing DNA repair. By helping our skin cells repair themselves before they enter late-stage senescence, OS-01 reduces the excretion of pro-inflammatory SASP signals that trigger skin aging in neighboring cells. (Zonari, et al., 2023) This contains the spread of senescence before it begins–extending skin health, preventing skin aging, and helping the skin function like younger skin even as time marches on.
By utilizing RNA sequencing to identify how the OS-01 peptide modulates expression at the molecular level, our scientists uncovered the proposed model for how the OS-01 peptide works within cells to prevent late-stage senescence. They proposed that the peptide acts by consistently reducing the mRNA expression of CDK2AP1, leading to the activation of CDK2, probably through PP2A stabilization. This ultimately activates CDK2, leading to cell cycle arrest to promote DNA repair, preventing pre-senescent cells to progress to late-senescent cells and accumulate in the population, therefore reducing SASP-secreting cells. (Zonari, et al., 2023)
03 When should we start preventative measures?
You’ve probably heard that prevention is the best medicine. But how early is too early to start? While you might not see visible signs of aging until your 40s, most people start to significantly accumulate senescent skin cells around age 30. However, the aging process likely starts even earlier. In fact, some evidence shows that the skin becomes less efficient at clearing away senescent cells in our 20s.³
This research indicates that earlier prevention is better – by using senotherapeutics like OS-01 in our 20s or 30s, we give our skin a better chance at reducing the accumulation of senescent cells before they take hold and trigger major signs of skin aging.
04 Can senotherapeutics like OS-01 prevent other types of aging?
As a central hallmark of whole-body aging, the impacts of cellular senescence are so much more than skin deep. In fact, cellular senescence has been linked to a number of age-related diseases including atherosclerosis, diabetes, and renal disease.⁴ While more research is needed to understand how to best deliver senotherapeutics like OS-01 to prevent these types of conditions, there is promising evidence that these molecules may one day be a powerful tool in delaying the development of age-related disease - a critical medical advancement that might extend human healthspan by another 30 years in the next century.
05 Key Takeaways
- Due to our longer lifespans, we need to help our skin stay healthy for longer by taking preventative measures against skin aging.
- By delaying the development of cellular senescence – a central hallmark of aging – with molecules called senotherapeutics, it’s now possible to prevent skin aging before it starts.
- As shown in our recent publication in npj Aging, the OS-01 peptide is a novel senotherapeutic that has been proven to delay cellular senescence by enhancing DNA repair.
- The right time to start prevention measures with therapies like OS-01 may be as early as your 20s, when the first signs of reduced skin function begin to appear.
- Because cellular senescence is linked to a number of age-related diseases, senotherapeutics may offer the exciting potential to delay the development of age-related conditions and extend human healthspan.