New skincare tool can ‘see’ your cells age

If you could see a cell age then you might be able to change your lifestyle to limit the changes that occur over time. This is now a possibility thanks to the development of an infra-red laser that measures minute changes in the skin that are associated with ageing.

More than a barrier

Skin is our biggest organ and its ability to function can depend on our wellness and age. It cools us down when we’re too hot, it helps our body eliminate toxins and also protects us from agents in the air that could harm wellbeing. It’s not surprising that over time it starts to function less well, and becomes more vulnerable to pollutants and prone to dryness and dehydration. A new technique used by National Taiwan University professor Chi-Kuang Sun involves a beam of light being directed at skin cells to measure changes in structure. The experts involved in pioneering the technique explained that specific cells enlarged with ageing, indicating there’s a scientific way to measure the age of cells.

What this means

This project involved scientists looking at a sample of skin cells on the underneath part of the participants’ forearms. Due to this area usually being hidden from the sun’s rays, the experts believe this can show the ageing of cells free from environmental factors. If patches of skin like this were compared to other areas that are exposed to the sun and pollutants, then it’s possible to measure the impact of outside factors on how skin cells age. As well as helping to back-up some already well-known theories (like sun damage leading to premature ageing), the laser technique could investigate how effective some anti-ageing products are. The tool could also lead to the development of more products that directly tackle the signs of ageing, as the results on skin cells would be clear to see thanks to the laser’s ability to look directly at inner structures.

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