old hands
Hu Juan from Zhengzhou, the Henan province of China suffers from a rare medical condition known as Cutis laxa, which has made her to look like an 80 –year-old woman at the age of 28. (Representational Image)Lisa Edmonds/Flickr

Hu Juan from Zhengzhou, Henan province of China, suffers from a rare medical condition known as Cutis laxa, which has aged her prematurely to look like an 80-year-old woman at just 28,  reports shanghaiist.com.

Cutis laxa, meaning loose or lax skin in Latin, is a disorder of the connective tissue, which gives "structure and strength to the muscles, joints, organs and skin" and helps maintain elasticity of the skin, according to Genetics Home Reference, NLM-NIH's (National Library of Medicine- National Institutes of Health) web site on genetic conditions.

Hu, a mother of two, looked alright until she turned 18. However, the disorder hit her hard shortly after she welcomed her first child- a baby boy in 2003. Within six months of giving birth; Hu started showing signs of premature aging.

Her condition has compelled Hu to confine herself to the four walls of a room. She suffers from depression and has attempted suicide twice. Her husband has been very supportive all these years, but Hu was hurt when her son once hesitated to introduce her to his school friends.

Hu has approached a plastic surgery clinic in Shanghai to regain her youthful appearance. However, doctors are unsure about how much they can help her.

According to Xinhua News, Hu is the only person in China to suffer from this condition.

Cutis laxa- More Facts

People with the disorder have a saggy skin and droopy appearance. According to Genetics Home Reference, only 200 cases have been reported across the whole world. Mutations in ATP6V0A2, EFEMP2, ATP7A, ELN, or FBLN5 gene have been linked to the disorder.

A similar case was reported in June last year. Zara Hartshorn from Rotherham, south Yorkshire in the UK, was only four-years-old when she started looking old. People thought she was 60 when she was only 16 years old.

But she regained her youthful appearance after undergoing plastic surgery, The Daily Mail reported.