Your skin is being attacked by zombies. How to fight back

New Study

This is for real: anti-aging research has revealed that as cells in your body get old or accumulate damage, they often fall into a zombie-like state called senescence. These “zombie” cells are bad news: they’re not quite dead and not quite alive, but they do create a lot of inflammation and accelerate aging. Finding ways to eliminate or restore senescent cells is emerging as a promising anti-aging strategy, and exciting recent breakthroughs are becoming available. On October 21st, the first skin care product proven to reverse effects of aging by targeting senescent cells was released. Developed by a startup called OneSkin, OS-1 represents a new category of anti-aging skin treatment.

So how and why do these zombie cells form? As cells reach the end of their replicative life cycle (most cells can only reproduce about 50 times), they can either die off, become cancerous, or become senescent. Senescent cells are a bad influence on their neighboring cells, and they actually seed inflammatory molecules throughout the body. If we could selectively kill off these senescent cells, skin health could be improved and signs of aging reversed. Substances that do this are called “senolytics.”

We know what your skin did last summer

Which brings to the next exciting thing: it is possible to accurately measure your skin’s biological age, which reflects the accumulated damage from sunlight, number of cell cycle divisions, and even the effects of poor nutrition. The biological age of your skin, and your overall biological age, is manifested in changes to your DNA called “methylation.” These methylation changes can be tabulated to determine your “biological age” or personal “methylation clock.” A proprietary version of this specifically for human skin called the MolClock was developed by the scientists at OneSkin. Though it requires a massive amount of computer power, aging clocks have recently become widely available. So the effectiveness of an anti-aging product – say for example a senolytic like OS-1 - can be measured by more than just reduction in the “appearance of fine lines and wrinkles” like skin care products typically state. This stuff actually sets back the age clock at a molecular level.

It seems a little bit crazy to be talking about new skin care products and anti-aging at this time, but the research efforts leading to these new technologies – the Photo Age Clock, the DNA methylation clock, OS-1, and Emepelle – took years to develop and test. With Emepelle, we have a first-in-class estrogen receptor activator for skin rejuvenation in post-menopausal women, and with OS-1 we have a completely new skin treatment unlike anything before. We can scientifically measure results and reverse the effects of aging with unprecedented accuracy.

I couldn’t wait to see these new products, and can’t wait to see what’s next. We have Emepelle available in the office now, and will be happy to ship. OS-1 is only available online from OneSkin for now but we are working on getting it!