January 26,
image of Dr. Nadine Pernodet

This story is part of our Skin Longevity Series featuring industry experts, thought leaders, scientists and innovators who are changing how we think about aging.

Discover more about Estée Lauder’s longevity science, groundbreaking research and how to live a longevity lifestyle.

Why are sirtuins scientifically exciting or important?

Dr. Pernodet: After sirtuins were discovered, there was a rise of interest when they were reported to be linked to lifespan. These proteins have also been found to be present at a higher level in people 100 or more years old.

Further scientific research then showed that they’re critical to keeping cells healthier for a longer time—therefore increasing cellular health span. That’s why they are also known as “longevity proteins.” So, this field of research to find ways to help cells perform optimally for a longer period of time, is, of course, very exciting.

What should people know about sirtuins?

Dr. Pernodet: Sirtuins are a family of proteins with 7 members, SIRTs 1-7. They are present in all cells in our body—including skin cells. Research has shown that sirtuins are involved in key pathways that fight aging such as metabolism/energy and control of inflammation. This makes them critical to helping cells perform more optimally for longer.

The sirtuins are critical players in many pathways in a range of different processes. What’s their role in skin and skin cell longevity specifically?

Dr. Pernodet: Inspired by this longevity science research, we at Estée Lauder have now been studying the role of sirtuins in skin for over 15 years and have shown that sirtuins are also vital to the longevity and performance of skin cells.

We started by studying SIRT-1 in collaboration with Dr. Guarente’s lab from The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who made the primary discoveries on sirtuins. Further studies in partnership with Harvard scientists demonstrated that SIRT-3 helps skin cells to restore their natural ability to produce energy.

Our interest in Sirtuins expanded and we began to focus on SIRT-6. There was little research in this area on skin cells, which required us to develop our own models to understand how critical SIRT-6 is for skin cells. 

We similarly developed our own models to study SIRT-2 and have been on the forefront of researching its role in skin. Taken together, we understand how each of them supports different key activities in skin cells to keep skin looking and acting younger.

What sirtuin research are you working on now? What does the future hold?

Dr. Pernodet: We continue to learn how SIRTs contribute to the overall optimized performance of different skin cell types and gain insight into their role in skin aging.

What are your hopes for sirtuins? What’s the ultimate goal?

Dr. Pernodet: The research we’ve done shows that age and environmental aggressors cause sirtuins to decline, which can lead to signs of aging such as sagging and loss of firmness. As this research is still early, we will continue and hope to unlock further secrets from sirtuins and how they impact the look of skin.

We think there are many more opportunities to unlock additional ways to keep skin performing optimally. We hope that our future research continues to identify additional knowledge and benefits about the role of sirtuins in skin. This helps us achieve our ultimate goal of always pushing to develop skincare founded on science and formulated with advanced technologies.

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