Ever wondered why two people who are at the same age may look years apart? Or that somehow your grandmother in her seventies doesn’t have many deep wrinkles? It’s difficult to predict how our skin will age; thus, many have now turned to DNA testing to give us clues on how we age. Sounds extreme? This could well become a routine procedure – and sooner than we think!
While many external factors such as unprotected sun exposure and other environmental pollutants can contribute to aging skin, the influence of our genetic makeup inherited from our parents plays a huge role on how we age. At the 70th annual meeting by the American Academy of Dermatology, dermatologists were all excited about the role genes play in skin aging, and how – empowered by this knowledge – skin care treatment can now be improved. Researches are looking into the differences in how genes are expressed in older and younger skin, and how certain ingredients can affect those genes to produce changes in the skin over time.
What are genes?
Genes are basically the blueprint of unique codes that determine who we are. It can influence simple things like the colour of your eyes or the colour of your hair, to more complex issues such as your predisposition to develop a certain health condition.
About 99.9% of our DNA sequence are identical, but it is the 0.1% variation that makes you unique! This 0.1% difference has the potential to change the texture of our skin, the rate at which our skin ages, or the risk of developing pigmentation. Once we are aware of our genetic potentials, we are then able to target these skin issues with more efficient products and programs.
How is it done?
It is all very simple: a saliva sample is all you need to provide. This is painlessly and conveniently deposited into a kit which is then sent to a lab for DNA extraction and processing. Multiple genetic variations in your DNA known as Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms or SNPs (pronounced “snips”) are screened. These act as marker codes that can affect the various functionality of traits associated with skin characteristics. A detailed report of these results including dietary and lifestyle recommendations is generated. This information is used to devise an early stage strategy to prevent, intervene or minimise one’s predispositions to skin damage and premature aging.
What does OriSKIN screen for?
Our OriSKIN panel tests for 10 important traits including predisposition to collagen breakdown, skin glycation, hydration status, antioxidant properties, risk to pigmentation and sun damage sensitivity. All of these have influences on skin aging. Other traits include detoxification, youthfulness, dermal sensitivity and sun sensitivity.
Over the counter skin care products may be loaded with many potentially beneficial ingredients, but they’re not necessary what our skin needs. Say for example, you have genetic variations in MMP genes that are programmed to degrade collagen slowly; slathering on creams that claims to boost collagen production will not be of much benefit, and may instead even cause breakouts and clog pores!
Bespoke skin care regimes can now be tailored to our genetics, and contain the right ingredients with specific concentrations beneficial to our skin for optimum results. Studies such as this one have found that it is not only necessary to supplement the lack or low activity of certain skin traits, but that the excess of non-essential active ingredients in skin care products can be potentially harmful for those whose genetic backgrounds already provide strong natural capabilities. So ‘more’ isn’t always better!
The next generation of genomic-based research is now helping us determine not only ingredients that work best for specific skin types, but also the lifestyle changes throughout our life span that can affect our skin health. Science holds the key to providing us with better recommendations and treatments based on new found knowledge that is truly objective.