Another day, another study on telomeres that misses the point, oversimplifies, and still puts food on someone’s table.
Barcelo et al from Kings College published a study in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology that just hit the newswires.
The study looked at twins and after controlling for other factors, they found that a history of acne was associated with longer telomeres in white blood cells. Skin biopsies suggested there was lower level of p53 expression (the enzyme increased when cells need to under apoptosis.
This study ignores something that we call statistical confounding. If two things are associated with a third, unconsidered variable, there will appear to be a direct association.
Since sex hormones like testosterone are positively associated with acne AND with increased telomerase activity, the study probably just captured this effect.
As for p53 expression being less in acne patients, p53 is expressed in higher levels when apoptosis is needed and apoptosis is needed when aging by telomere erosion takes place.
Does acne confer longer life? Probably not. But having high levels of sex hormones probably does and it definitely causes acne.
To learn more about skin health and telomeres, please watch this podcast that I made: