DNA not only serves as foolproof evidence in television crime series, but it also plays a large role in cosmetics.
But what does DNA have to do with beauty?
Deoxyribonucleic acid, or DNA for short, is the carrier of the genetic code and is present in every cell of the body—even in skin cells. Strands of DNA, called genes, encode our hereditary information. These genes contain the building plans for the biological molecules necessary for cell metabolism. These genes are responsible for the synthesis of proteins like collagen, which play an important role in the firmness of the skin.
Damage to DNA
DNA, including skin cells, can become damaged through various external influences. X-rays and UV rays, for example, are very harmful and can alter the nucleotide bases, which in turn cause changes in the genetic material, metabolic malfunctions, and in the worst case, cell death.
What does this mean for skin?
Excessive UV exposure alters the nucleotide bases, especially the pyrimidine dimmers, which is likely a significant cause of skin cancer. Wrinkles can also be traced back to excessive UV exposure. Research has shown that, due to UV damage, enzymes are released that break down collagen and elastin fibers, which are important for skin elasticity. Once these fibers break down, skin loses its tautness and wrinkles form. Wrinkles are not caused by DNA damage alone, but in such cases, this creates long-term damage. DNA is, however, able to regenerate itself to a certain degree. Damage to nucleotide bases, for example, can be repaired with help from the enzymes photolyase and endonuclease.