Will wrinkles soon be obsolete? Photo: Peter Buckingham

Buried amid this summer's cinematic offerings of vampires, explosions and animated characters, you'll also find a thought-provoking documentary called "To Age or Not to Age," opening tonight, Friday, July 16th.

Filmmaker Robert Kane Pappas collected an impressive bunch of scientists to look into whether or not it's possible to delay that whole getting-old thing by altering certain genes that control the aging process.

We'll leave the moral questions of extending people's lives to the world's philosophers, and focus here on the -- admittedly more superficial -- ways these ideas could help make us look younger, longer.

In the future, Pappas claims that we may see FDA-approved drugs that can actually slow aging itself. This could mean a reduction in healthcare biggies like cardiovascular disease and cancer, and could also trigger a boost in flexibility, strength and bone density, all of which decline with each passing birthday.

In the meantime, while researching what it takes to create an extended healthy lifespan, Pappas identified a natural extract that can also be used to retain a youthful complexion. "Resveratrol is a small molecule compound found in the skin of red grapes that appears to stimulate our repair mechanisms," says Pappas.

"Over the past six or seven years, scientists have been experimenting with this idea, and so far it appears to be remarkably benign in terms of side effects," he adds.

In fact, Estee Lauder developed an ingredient, found in their Re-Nutriv line of products, based on these findings. And the French brand Caudalie derives all of it's formulations on this age-fighting ingredient, which they harvest straight from the vine.


Hopefully this is just the beginning of the process. "The external parts of aging are actually among the easier ones to address. The skin's two layers, the dermis and the epidermis, age in different ways, but we understand both pretty well now, and the development of therapies to rejuvenate them is well underway," says Aubrey de Grey, one of the doctors featured in the documentary.

"Stem cell implants to re-grow teeth are also moving to the clinic fast. This could all be available within a decade or so, but as ever, the harder we work at it the sooner it'll happen."

Wow. And we thought genetic testing that determines our odds of getting cellulite was cool.