Researchers have identified a group of genes that allow some people to look up to 10 years younger than their actual age.
Researchers at Harvard University and 23andMe, biotechnology company based in Mountain View, California, studied around 1 million people and found that 10% of white and 20% of black Americans carry the 'genetic recipe' for youthful skin.
A 'younger gene' has been identified by scientists with black people twice as likely to have it than their white counterparts. The scientists believe its presence can result in people looking up to 10 years younger than they really are.
The genes fit into seven categories that manage functions such as DNA repair, the maintenance of the junctions between skin cells, and the performance of the skin's barrier against damaging environmental factors.
Another category covers the production of elements in the skin called lamellar bodies that produce lipids, molecules containing fats, waxes and nutrients.
"Many of us felt that people with darker skin aged better because of more pigment and better sunlight protection, but we have found there is much more to it than that," said Alexa Kimball, professor of dermatology at Harvard Medical School and a member of the research team.
"They have other characteristics in their skin which confer good ageing, which until now we had no idea about," Kimball said.
The findings of the study will be published in a series of publications, including the International Journal of Dermatology, later this year.