Lifewatch: Skin and genes

Reported by Claire Hosmann - email
Posted by Debra Worley - email

(WECT) - Wrinkles, lines, and discoloration are just some of the skin problems that detract from the beauty of your face.

Now, genetic research is playing a big part in the future of skin care, and cosmetic dermatologists from the University of Miami are hoping to find the gene that holds the secret to great skin.

A new camera system can give a true vue of skin beyond what doctors can actually see.

A patient can have oily skin and bacteria and not have a problem with acne, but why?

"Over the years I've kept a list of names of people who for some reason don't age very much, so they smoke cigarettes, they lay in the sun and they don't do anything I tell them to do, but their skin looks great," said cosmetic dermatologist Dr. Leslie Baumann.  "Obviously that's genetic and I want to find that gene."

Genetics could lead to new anti-aging therapies, which is why UM has formed the cosmetic medicine and research institute.

At the institute, an all-female team of surgeons and dermatologists is working together with the goal of changing the course of aging skin.

"We can do trials for example, where we put one cosmetic product on one eyelid and another product on the other, and when you have your plastic surgery and get your eyes done we can then take that skin and look under the microscope and look for differences," said Dr. Baumann.

Doctors at the institute will also continue to offer participation in research trials, which means patients get to test cosmetic treatments for free and sometimes get paid.

Some of the world's leading geneticists are already working on unlocking the causes of many disease.

They will begin to look into the skin conditions and the process of aging in 2009.