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Genetics

  • Aging and Genetics

    Mar 18 2014 12:24 PM

    Genetics determines our skin, hair and eye color, amongst other physical attributes and is also an internal (intrinsic) source of aging.

    Ethnicities with very fair or fair complexions have less pigment in their skin, which is how the skin protects us from the sun’s damaging rays. This makes and are more vulnerable to the prime cause of aging - the sun.

    Thomas Fitzpatrick, a Harvard Dermatologist in 1975 developed the Fitzpatrick Scale, which measures the skin’s tolerance to UV light, genetic disposition and how skin reacts to sun exposure. There are six levels determined by the color of the skin, hair and eyes and the skin’s ability to tan or tendency to burn after UV exposure. The six types are as follows:

    Type I skin types are highly sensitive to the sun, always burn and never tan. making them the skin type most vulnerable to sun damage.

    Type I includes white or Caucasians with very fair skin color, possibly freckles, even albino skin. Type I’s have red or blond hair and blue eyes.

    Type 1 is high risk for skin cancer so while all types need sunscreen, Type 1 should never be without it. Type 1 may scar if slow to heal, and has higher potential for vascular damage which makes type 2 has higher potential for vascular damage and is therefore more inclined to get visible dilated capillaries typical of sun damage.

    Type II skin types are very sun sensitive, burn easily and tans minimally making this group the second most vulnerable skin type to sun damage (after Type I). Type II Includes white or Caucasians with fair skin, blond or red hair and blue, green or hazel eyes.

    Type 2 is high risk for skin cancer so while all skin types need sunscreen; Type 2 (like type 1) should never be without it. Type 2 may scar if slow to heal, and pigment with trauma. Type 2 has higher potential for vascular damage and is therefore more inclined to get visible dilated capillaries typical of sun damage.

    Type III skin types are sun sensitive, and burn sometimes, and gradually tans to light brown. Type III skin types have cream or beige skin color and are darker Caucasians; Type III is very common and may have any eye or hair color. Type III is high risk for pigmented conditions and moderate risk for skin cancer. There is high potential for scarring and moderate risk for vascular damage.

    Type IV skin types are minimally sun sensitive, rarely burn and tans with ease to a moderate brown. Skin tone is medium and beige with brown tint and is typical of mediterranean caucasian skin.

    Type IV has high risk for chemical, heat or trauma caused pigmentation and moderate risk for all other pigmented skin conditions.

    Also, Type IV are at high risk for scarring and moderate risk for visible vascular damage.

    Type V is rarely, if ever, sun sensitive skin that rarely burns and tans well. Type V skin types are dark brown and includes mid-eastern, some hispanics and some blacks.

    Type VI is sun insensitive, never burns and tans very easily. Type VI includes black or deeply pigmented skin seen in darker blacks.

    Fitzpatrick Scale I - III Are more inclined to solar burning and damage as the degree of sun damage is relative to the individual’s melanin in their skin.

    There is actually a gene that fails to function properly in Fitzpatrick 1 & 2 that leaves it unprotected and vulnerable to the sun’s rays. Scientifically speaking, this gene (P53 gene) is normally activated in response to UV damage to determine whether a cell should be damaged or repaired. However, in Fitzpatrick 1 & 2s, there is a deficiency in the DNA protection by the melanin cap.

    Category: Genetics

    Learning Center Category: Anti-Aging

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