Gene of the Week: SOD2 (Skin Protection)

There are around 30,000 genes in the human genome. In this weekly series, we’ll write about a new gene featured in Orig3n DNA tests so you can discover the kinds of information genetic assessments can offer you. Have you ever wondered why some people’s skin ages differently than others? There’s a gene for that™!

Here at Orig3n, we’ve been dreaming of a winter wonderland. Skiing, snowshoeing, snowman-building — you name it, we’re outside. Because it’s easy to take your skin for granted during these cold months, we’re focusing the gene of the week on the Skin Protection (SOD2) gene.

If you live in a warmer climate, it may be easier to remember to shield your skin with sunscreen. However, it can be harder to remember to protect the largest organ in your body when you’re out on the ski slopes! With the SOD2 Skin Protection gene, you can learn if you’re more likely to experience skin damage from the sun.

The SOD2 gene affects your: 

Skin aging.

Are you likely to experience earlier signs of skin aging? Do your genes make you more likely to experience skin wrinkling at a younger age?


Environmental oxidative damage.

Is your skin more susceptible to oxidative damage from the sun? Should you consider being more cautious when you’re out in the sun?


How does it work? 

The SOD2 plays a crucial role in protecting our skin cells from oxidative stress that comes from the sun’s UV rays. As you likely know, repeated sun exposure can lead to wrinkling, fine lines, and age spots. When skin cells encounter UV rays, superoxide free radicals are generated (free radicals are unstable molecules that bounce around and harm cells).

The SOD2 gene plays a role in detoxifying these radicals to help reduce damage from sun-based oxidative stress. Depending on your SOD2 gene result, you may be more or less prone to experiencing earlier signs of aging.

Which result do I have? 

The three variants for SOD2 are AAAG, and GG. If you have the AA variant, you’re likely to have average protection from oxidative damage. Since your body breaks down superoxide radicals normally, you’re likely to experience average skin aging. Even though you’re not at high risk of oxidative damage, you may want to consider protecting your skin all year round with sunscreen. Eating a healthy diet high in antioxidants — berries, leafy-green vegetables, whole grains, and fish — will also help you keep your skin looking and feeling youthful.

If you have either the AG or GG variant you’re likely to be significantly more susceptible to oxidative damage from the sun. As a result, you may experience premature signs of aging including wrinkling, sagging, and “age spots”. To protect yourself — and your skin — from sun damage, consider using serums or topical creams containing aloe vera, sunscreens measuring at least 30 SPF, and products or supplements that contain Vitamin C, Vitamin D, and green tea extracts.

Remember, while DNA may give you a tendency to stay younger looking longer or experience earlier signs of aging, your diet, environment, and skincare routine can make a difference in how your skin looks and feels. Before going out for a day on the slopes take care to protect your skin, and discover more about your skin-related genes with Orig3n’s Beauty DNA test or the Skin Aging Mini DNA test.

Ready to discover what your beauty genes say about you?


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