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Had Spots As A Teenager? We Have Some Good News

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Artwork by Anna Sudit.
As teens we spent many a stressful morning plastering our hormonal skin with layer upon layer of concealer and cakey foundation. Spots and – worse – acne were the bane of our lives and we spent way too much time feeling self-conscious and miserable about them.

But maybe we shouldn't have.

New research suggests teenage acne-sufferers may live longer and stay looking youthful for longer compared to their peers with "perfect skin".

Scientists at King's College London said this is because they have natural built-in protection against ageing, meaning they will develop wrinkles and experience thinning skin later in their lives, reported BBC Newsbeat.

The study, published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, focused on the white blood cells of people with acne and found they had longer protective caps on the ends of their chromosomes than those without acne.

The protective caps, called telomeres, have been compared to the plastic tips on the end of shoelaces that stop them from fraying.

The telomeres stop chromosomes (packages of DNA) from deteriorating and people with long ones generally age more slowly – and show signs of ageing later – than people with short ones.

The researchers studied 1,205 female twins, a quarter of whom had acne, and analysed samples of their skin. They identified a skin pathway, called p53, which regulates cell death and can begin when telomeres become too short.

The acne sufferers were shown to have a less active p53 pathway than the others.

Dr Simone Ribero, from King's College London who led the research, said dermatologists have long noticed that acne sufferers' skin seems to age more slowly than people who have never had acne. However, the cause had been unclear until now.

Finally, we've found the silver lining of our teenage angst.
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