Body

Do gingers hold the key to anti-ageing?

New research has found a link between the ‘ginger gene’ and appearing younger.

Julianne Moore
Julianne Moore

Despite usually facing a lot of abuse for their ginger locks, it turns out the gene that causes red hair could be the most promising anti-ageing asset to date.

Scientists from the Erasmus University Medical Centre in the Netherlands came to their conclusions after looking through makeup free images of over 2,000 people, comparing how old they looked to their actual age.

Those who were found to look youthful had mutations of the MC1R gene – which makes melanin. Melanin is what protects the skin against UV rays and changes skin pigmentation.

Erasmus professor Manfred Kayser told BBC News they were very excited to have located the gene responsible, and are hopeful for what it could do in the future.

However, despite locating a link between MC1R and looking youthful, Ian Jackson – a professor within the UK Medical Research Council’s Genetics Unit – warns that this doesn’t necessarily mean just because you are pale and a redhead means you will have a more youthful appearance.

He adds that he isn’t convinced researchers made enough adjustments to the study to make the findings accurate enough - so more research is required.

But with more research on the way, Dr David Gunn says he is hopeful of finding something that will boost the ‘youth gene’ for all, potentially changing anti-ageing as we know it.