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Olay Provides New Insights to the Age-Long Nature versus Nurture Beauty Debate

January 19, 2017

Study Reveals That Certain Lifestyle Choices Might Matter More Than Genes When it Comes to Exceptionally Youthful Looking Skin

Olay, in collaboration with personal genetics company 23andMe, recently conducted a study to identify factors associated with exceptional skin aging. In this particular study, external factors (nurture) had a larger effect on exceptionally youthful skin appearance than two identified genetic variations (nature). More specifically, sunscreen usage and positive attitude were positively correlated with younger-looking skin, while sunbathing and frequent dry skin have a negative association with skin aging.

The collaboration was inspired by a breakthrough discovery made last year when Olay identified biological commonalities among a group of women called ‘exceptional skin agers’. During the brand’s largest research endeavor, the Multi-Decade and Ethnicities Study (MDE Study), Olay scientists found that 10% of women looked more than 10 years younger than their actual age and shared a unique gene expression fingerprint, effectively enabling their skin to behave like that of someone much younger. This led to questions about why some women look more than 10 years younger than their actual age; due to their environment and lifestyle choices, or a genetic predisposition.

Most recently, in a study with over 155,000 participants conducted in collaboration with 23andMe, Olay researchers learned that women can take control to achieve exceptional skin aging. The work will be presented at this year’s AAD Annual Meeting1.

  1. Women who almost always used sunscreen were 78% more likely to be an exceptional skin ager, compared to women who almost never do.
  2. Women who reported they had a positive attitude towards themselves were 30% more likely to be an exceptional skin ager.

Similarly, women with less than ideal skincare habits were less likely to achieve successful skin aging.

  1. Women who frequently sunbathed were 35% less likely to be an exceptional skin ager.
  2. Women who frequently or always suffered from dry skin were 30% less likely to be an exceptional skin ager.

Additional positive predictors included: activity and energy levels, living in an urban area, regular exercise, eight or more hours of sleep a night, multi-vitamin usage and high self-rated health. Additional negative predictors included: smoking cigarettes and a body mass index of over 25.

“These findings are incredibly exciting because they show that women can actively take beauty into their own hands,” said Dr. Frauke Neuser, Principal Scientist, Olay Skin Care, P&G. “In this study, having skin that looks exceptionally young – ageless – was not down to luck; genetics plays some role, but factors within women's control have larger effects. Future genomics and genetics research might enable us to provide increasingly personalized services and product solutions for women around the world.”

Inspired by these insights and the discovery of the 10% exceptional skin agers, Olay re-engineered some of its most loved products with new ingredients to help more women’s skin look ageless. Specifically, several new or reformulated Olay Regenerist, Luminous and Total Effects products, containing Carob Seed Extract, carnosine or increased amounts of antioxidants respectively, have been shown to deliver visible results and youthful looking skin.

New Olay Regenerist, Luminous and Total Effects will be available at local retailers beginning January 2017.

About Olay

Olay is a worldwide leader in skin care and has been trusted by women for over 60 years. Olay continues to hold to the philosophy it was founded on: to maintain a deep understanding of women’s changing needs and to combine products that fit their needs with the latest advances in skin care technology. The end result—superior product performance women have come to expect from Olay. It brings healthy, beautiful skin to more than 80 million women on five continents.

About Procter & Gamble

P&G serves consumers around the world with one of the strongest portfolios of trusted, quality, leadership brands, including Always®, Ambi Pur®, Ariel®, Bounty®, Charmin®, Crest®, Dawn®, Downy®, Fairy®, Febreze®, Gain®, Gillette®, Head & Shoulders®, Lenor®, Olay®, Oral-B®, Pampers®, Pantene®, SK-II®, Tide®, Vicks®, and Whisper®. The P&G community includes operations in approximately 70 countries worldwide. Please visit for the latest news and information about P&G and its brands.

About 23andMe

23andMe, Inc. is the leading personal genetics company. Founded in 2006, the mission of the company is to help people access, understand and benefit from the human genome. 23andMe has more than 1 million customers worldwide with over 80 percent consented to participate in research. 23andMe, Inc. is located in Mountain View, CA. More information is available at

[1] AAD 2017, Poster #5530: Genetic and Lifestyle Factors Contribute to Youthful Facial Appearance. R Osborne, J Tiesman, F Neuser, M Tamura, W Safi, MH McIntyre, SS Shringarpure, IB Hallgriìmsdoìttir

For Procter & Gamble
Kate DiCarlo, 513-983-7166
Melissa Chua, 212-546-8517
Ali Greenman, 212-546-8531

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