Cosmetic surgery to reverse the signs of ageing may be required by some people and not others due to the activity of a certain protein.
Researchers at the Swedish medical university Karolinska Institutet isolated the process that causes people to look older and identified 'unstable' proteins to be the cause.
Cell respiration, which causes premature ageing, was found to occur when proteins synthesised in the cells' 'power plants' become 'unstable' and break up.
Scientific researcher Aleksandra Trifunovic commented: "Our results show that premature ageing is caused by point mutations in the mtDNA, which cause the mitochondrial proteins to become unstable and disintegrate."
An ageing worldwide population is causing some anxiety about the pressures on healthcare and the economy as the over-65s grow in numbers.
Asia and Europe are expected to experience a significantly ageing population, with the average age reaching 50-years-old.