If you’ve fallen victim to the frustration that is acne — and, seeing as how it’s the most common skin condition in the US, chances are you have — we’ve got exciting news. Those chronic breakouts bumming you out right now might lead to some unexpected benefits later in life. In fact, dealing with the skin condition in your teens may mean you look younger for longer, according to a study published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology.
In short, scientists at King’s College London studied the length of white blood cell telomeres (the nucleotide 'caps' that protect chromosomes) of 1,205 female twins, a quarter of whom had acne. Among the findings: Longer telomeres were linked to slower deterioration of white blood cells, and hence slower signs of aging — a common thread among the latter group. Translation: The blemish-prone individuals' skin aged slower than that of the acne-free participants. But do the benefits run deeper than skin? Could suffering from acne mean you could possibly have a longer lifespan? We tapped dermatologist Dr. Dennis Gross to help us break it down: “There isn’t enough scientific evidence to truly determine if acne can lead to a longer lifespan. If a study came along that focused solely on the correlation between those two — not just in addition to its link to younger-looking skin — only then would I believe the theory.” But he also says there is validity to a portion of the study that’s been long supported by derms, and it’s the bit that acne sufferers can tend to look younger for longer. “They typically have more oil glands, which increases the thickness of skin,” Dr. Gross explains. “That leads to a firmer, more plump appearance, as well as fewer visible lines and wrinkles." As long-standing proponents of looking on the bright side, we’ll take whatever we can get. Here's to continued research on acne and it's impact.