Hallmarks Of Aging

There’s not a single one of us out there who hasn’t experienced the impacts of aging. Since you can read this, there are clearly some positive impacts that come with age such as increased cognitive function.

But most of us, when we think about aging, tend to think about the negative aspects. Those smile wrinkles you could swear weren’t there yesterday, those pesky gray hairs that come in more and more every day, and, please, what is up with those creaky knees?

Reference Lab

July 15, 2020


01Thanks, but no thanks

The telltale signs of aging impact us every day, and they drive a booming industry of beauty products, fitness classes, diet crazes, etc. But in technical terms, scientists define aging as “a progressive loss of physiological function that can increase our overall susceptibility to disease and death.” Not a particularly cheerful thought, and as humans it’s something we tend to grudgingly accept as an inevitable part of life – but does it need to be?

Key Takeaways Optimize Your Healthspan As longevity scientists, we believe that lifestyle modifications coupled with innovative technologies can make a profound impact on the quality of life that we experience as we age. Our goal at One Skin is to forever transform the way humans experience aging - and we hope that you join us in our journey!

02So, why do we age?

Scientists who study aging have recognized that there are some commonalities amongst species and how they age. Based on their overall relevance and impact, nine of these commonalities were selected as the hallmarks of aging. Although each is incredibly unique, they interact with one another to contribute to the signs of aging. By understanding them and how they interact, not only can we better understand aging, but we can begin to address how these processes can be altered to mitigate the impacts of time.

03The Nine Hallmarks of Aging

  1. Genomic Instability: Over time, numerous factors can impact the integrity of our DNA. As damage accumulates, a lack of proper functioning can lead to disease and accelerated aging.

  2. Telomere Attrition: Telomeres, which reside on the end of our chromosomes, shorten over time, making it harder for our cells to multiply. This incredibly complex process can lead to – no surprise here – age-related disease.

  3. Epigenetic Alterations: Our DNA can be chemically modified by both internal and external influences – for example, from the foods we eat or via UV exposure from the sun. These modifications can determine if a gene is expressed or not expressed, which can either promote or inhibit the production of whatever protein that gene codes for.

  4. Loss of Proteostasis: Proteostasis maintains proper folding, degradation, trafficking, and biogenesis of proteins in our body. Let’s summarize by saying that as we age, misfolded proteins accumulate that can lead to many issues, including chronic inflammation.

  5. Deregulated Nutrient-Sensing: Nutrient availability and a lack thereof dictate a whole lot about the way our body functions on a molecular level. Too much metabolic activity over time can stress our cells and cause them to age more rapidly.

  6. Mitochondrial Dysfunction: Increased stress on “the powerhouse of the cell” can’t be good. And indeed it isn’t. Mitochondrial dysfunction can actually increase the rate at which our cells go through apoptosis – aka the dreaded cell death.

  7. Cellular Senescence: Cells that can no longer divide tend to build up over time as we age. As they accumulate, they send signals that may cause inflammation and contribute to many chronic diseases.

  8. Stem Cell Exhaustion: The activity of our stem cells slowly decreases as we age for a variety of reasons. For example, the pro-inflammatory signals that senescent cells secrete reduce stem cell activity and contribute to loss of tissue regeneration.

  9. Altered Intercellular Communication: Cells are constantly communicating with one another to properly function. As we age, the signaling pathways our cells use to communicate can be disrupted, leading to various forms of damage.


Reviewed by Alessandra Zonari, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) and Co-Founder of OneSkin

Alessandra earned her Master’s degree in stem cell biology, and her PhD in skin regeneration and tissue engineering at the Federal University of Minas Gerais in Brazil in collaboration with the 3B’s Research Group in Portugal. Alessandra did a second post-doctoral at the University of Coimbra in Portugal. She is a co-inventor of three patents and has published 20 peer-reviewed papers in scientific journals.