Gene-Personalized Products: Customized Skin Serums

The marriage of science and beauty is a recent one. As consumers have become more savvy and knowledgeable, they are looking for skincare that works and is supported by clinical data. However, one size does not fit all in medicine and skincare.

Key takeaways:
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    Gene-personalized skincare is just in its infancy.
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    The theory behind it is that personalized skincare based on our genes would be more beneficial.
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    So far, no good studies have been published to prove that gene-personalized skincare is the best way to care for your skin.
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    Many are concerned about who will have access to their genetic information and what will they do with it.
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    Genes are not the only factors that influence skin health and appearance. You must also consider environmental factors, nutrition, and lifestyle.

This has spawned the desire for more customizable skincare products for individual needs. Many believe the best way to determine a person's specific skincare needs is based on their genetic makeup.

What are the benefits of customized skincare?

Personalized skincare could benefit those susceptible to certain skin conditions, such as rosacea and premature skin aging. The premise is that if you can isolate the genes responsible for causing certain conditions, you can find a better way to treat them. For example, patients who have had no treatment success for rosacea may benefit from a different treatment based on their genetics.

How is DNA testing done?

Most DNA tests consist of a quick and painless mouth swab. The test results come back quicker by doing it at the lab. Many tests are sent away to the lab by mail; therefore, they will take longer. Many companies also have the patients answer questions or fill out questionnaires to help better customize their skincare.

What can DNA testing tell you about your skin?

Genetic testing has shown ethnic differences in our skin which explains susceptibility to certain skin conditions and premature aging. Therefore, researchers believe that skincare tailored towards ethnicity can be beneficial. For example, Caucasian skin is thinner and contains less melanin, contributing to more sun damage and faster aging. More sunscreen and antioxidants would benefit Caucasian skin. On the other hand, African skin tends to lose more water, so it becomes drier quicker. Thicker moisturizers and barrier creams used daily benefit African skin.

Research has begun to find genes responsible for skin aging, especially at different points in the aging process. Researchers are also looking for ways to create products to target these genes to reduce premature and normal intrinsic aging. Many cosmetic companies conduct research to help market their product, saying they can reduce wrinkles and sagging skin. However, no published clinical trials in peer-reviewed journals are available.

Are gene-personalized skin serums worthwhile?

This technology is still in its infancy, so studies supporting gene-personalized skincare are scarce. With more research and many supportive clinical trials, personalized skincare may be the norm in the future.

Are there any downsides to gene-personalized skincare?

Many people are concerned about sharing their personal genetic information with others. They are concerned about the safety of their genetic information. What if it falls into the wrong hands? They worry about who owns their genetic data and has access to it. For instance, law enforcement has solved crimes by utilizing data from genetic databanks.

What gene-personalized products do not take into account is that it is not only the genes dictating your skin's appearance. There are other powerful factors to consider, such as environment, nutrition, and lifestyle. These have a tremendous impact on skin health and aging. If it turns out that your genetic testing tells you that your genes are resistant to oxidative stress from the environment, does that mean you can get as much sun as you want and smoke like a chimney without any consequences? No, it does not. You may be more resistant to oxidative stress on your skin cells, but excess sun and smoking will take their toll on your skin and prematurely age you.

The gene-personalized skincare industry is in its fledgling stages. The concept has merit, but there is a lack of good studies and research to consider it gospel. There are exciting breakthroughs all the time. This may be the wave of the future, but for now, it is best to consult with a board-certified dermatologist to help you with your skincare concerns and questions.

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