The Hayflick Limit and Why We Age Explained Rachael D’Aguiar

The Hayflick Limit and Why We Age Explained Rachael D’Aguiar

Rachael D’Aguiar tells us about The Hayflick Limit, what it’s all about and why people age.

The Hayflick Limit is really important for people who are trying to look after their skin because for years and years now we’ve been told that the faster you can basically get rid of the skin on your face, younger it’s going to look.

But when you look at science for decades now, scientists have known about something called The Hayflick Limit. Now what The Hayflick Limit is, is it tells us that cells have a certain number of times that they can actually divide before they die.

So before Leonard Hayflick proved this, scientists thought, well you cut yourself, you heal. So cells will just keep on going on and on and on. But essentially what he proves is that when cells divide they can only do it a certain amount of times and then they can’t divide any longer, and they basically commit suicide. So that’s it, that cell is now dead, you cannot make it go on forever, it has a finite life.

Now later when telomeres were discovered they realized that actually the telomeres explained Leonard Hayflick’s theory and it was the telomeres that were getting shorter and when the telomeres got too short that’s when the cell couldn’t divide any longer and that’s when the cell died.

But what it tells us is that if you are doing anything that promises to increase the division of your cells or to bring fresher skin to the surface faster, or I mean, we all know it, there’s increase your cell turnover by 21 days, and that kind of stuff, and it’s always sounded like a really great thing.

What science tells us is that that is not a great thing at all. And I worry for my generation, for our generation that we’re actually the guinea pigs of speeding up that cellular division, mostly on our faces. So nobody knows the answer to the question of when we’re 90 years old, or 100, or 120 because we’re going to be living longer and we’ve been increasing the cellular turnover unnaturally on one part of our bodies, what does that look like?

Now healing requires cellular division. So if you were to get a cut on your face or if you were to get melanoma or skin cancer and that needs to be cut out and removed how does the skin on your face heal if it can no longer divide, if it essentially has reached the point where it’s committing suicide and dying, and nobody knows what that looks like.

So what makes me really passionate about this is we’re not just talking about wrinkles and about how you look but current advice is sending you down a track which is really unhealthy and it’s unknown territory. And it means further down the track we might not actually be able to cure you should something go wrong with you.

So The Hayflick Limit has so many important things obviously for medical research as well but we’re talking about the skin here today. So now that you know that your skin has a finite life please don’t try to speed that life up it’s probably the worst thing that you could do for yourself.

About The Author

Katherine Baltazar

I am a media reporter writing for the Hair, Beauty and Spa Industry. I've been writing and covering salons, beauty products and hair treatments for the pace 5 years.