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Your genes reveal the truth about your skin

Dina gener avslöjar sanningen om huden - 1753 SKINCARE

You share 99% of your DNA with chimpanzees and bonobos, but the biggest genetic difference between humans and our closest living relatives lies in the genes that control our skin. Humans have developed a unique set of genes that enable the production of special oils in the sebaceous glands, which include substances such as Sebaleic Acid. These substances are unusual and are found only in the human body, not in any other part of the animal kingdom.

Traditionally, it has been believed that the main purpose of these oils, or sebum, is to lubricate the skin. Although that is part of its function, research shows that there are other substances that the skin could easily produce to achieve this. The question then is why we have developed this particular set of oils, which require 7% of our energy to produce.

Research in recent years suggests that the primary function of these oils is to act as nourishment for selected microbes that live on and in the skin. Sebum seems to be the optimal prebiotic, that is, nourishment for good bacteria on the skin. It raises thoughts about overproduction of sebum and its alleged link to oily skin and acne. At the same time, we in the Western world have lost about 30% of the microbes that should normally be on and in our skin, and these microbes feed on sebum. The question that arises is whether overproduction of sebum is really the main cause of skin problems.

It is interesting that we often use skin care products to wash away these oils on a daily basis, even though our bodies seem to produce them with a specific and important function. With almost half of all women in Europe experiencing sensitive skin and 85% of teenagers suffering from some form of acne, it may be time to reassess our approach to skin care and our skin care routines. Perhaps it is time to adapt our methods to preserve the natural balance of microbes on and in our skin.


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