People with acne are better protected against aging, according to scientists at King’s College London. They found that the white blood cells of individuals who suffered from acne have longer telomeres, which break down and shrink as we age.

In their study in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, the team explains that telomeres can predict biological aging. However, when we grow and age, telomeres deteriorate. The longer telomeres are, the more protected the cells are from deterioration caused by aging.

The researchers studied 1,205 twins in the UK.  Their age, weight,  height and relatedness were also taken into account.

The team found that those who have acne have significantly longer telomeres. The researchers cite that the findings echo previous ones that determined that acne sufferers age more slowly than people who have never had acne.

Aging signs such as skin thinning and wrinkles usually appear much later in acne sufferers. Other experts believe that this is due to increased oil production but they also believe that there are also other reasons for this, one of which could be the longer telomeres these individuals have.

Moreover, the team also took skin biopsies from the participants so they could study the gene expression in each twin. They found that the p53 pathway is less expressed in people who have acne. This gene pathway is responsible for programmed cell death.

“Our findings suggest that the cause could be linked to the length of telomeres, which appears to be different in acne sufferers and means their cells may be protected against aging,” says the study’s lead author Simone Ribero , a dermatologist at the university’s Department of Twin Research and Genetic Epidemiology. “By looking at skin biopsies, we were able to begin to understand the gene expressions related to this. Further work is required to consider if certain gene pathways may provide a base for useful interventions.”