Skincare DNA and Genetic Testing - Beginner's Guide
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Did you know that your genetic makeup helps determine your skin type, and therefore, also determines the types of skincare products that will work best for you? Believe it or not, there are dozens of genes related specifically to different aspects of your skin. With a simple DNA testing kit, it is now possible to get personalized skincare recommendations based on the actual genetic variants (SNPs) that help determine your skin type!
In this article, we’ll explore how different genetic predispositions can contribute to different types of skin and skin conditions. Then, we’ll look at some aspects of skincare that all people should take into account and the kinds of specialized skincare recommendations that a DNA-based skincare report can provide. Plus, we’ll show you how to get a personalized skincare report right now using a raw DNA data file from a genetic test!
What can DNA testing tell you about Your Skin?
First and foremost, it should be noted that while there are dozens of genes that have been connected to various skin types and skin conditions, there are likely just as many that the science of genomics does not have a clear understanding of - yet! Personalized health care, from skincare to more serious conditions, is well on its way to becoming a reality.
That being said, there are many clear correlations already established between different genotypes and the types of skin or skin conditions that they cause. For example, researchers have already identified specific genetic variants that affect the rate at which your skin will experience glycation - the introduction of sugar molecules to the collagen fibers keeping your skin smooth and flexible. People with certain genetic variants experience greater glycation than others, leading to skin that looks cracked and aged.
Researchers have also identified a number of other traits related to aging skin, such as skin moisture and hydration factor, that are also influenced by your genome. These genetic markers can indicate you are more prone to developing fine lines, wrinkling, or other early signs of skin aging. People with certain genotypes are much more likely to experience dry skin, which is more prone to damage, ages much faster, and can contribute to sensitive skin and other skin issues. Different genes also affect your predisposition for skin conditions such as cellulite, stretch marks, and varicose veins.
But, there are also genetic traits that have been researched that are related to the way your skin responds to different types of environmental damage and allergens. For example, there are genes related to your risk for developing eczema and contact dermatitis - two conditions that can cause itchy, red rashes that require specialized skin treatments. There are also genetic variants that can increase your risk of developing psoriasis or rosacea, and gene variants that can increase or decrease your skin elasticity.
Beyond this, there are many other conditions that are influenced by a wide variety of different genes. A whole host of conditions related to how your skin responds to sun exposure - from a person’s tanning response to their risk for developing sunspots or freckles - can all be determined based on which versions of several genes a person carries. Healthy skin also requires specific nutrients - nutrients that are absorbed and incorporated differently based on your genetics!
While these things are only the tip of the iceberg compared to the information scientists will have in 10 or 20 years, basic DNA test results are more than enough to help you come up with a personalized skincare routine today that will incorporate the best knowledge science has to help you avoid wrinkles, cellulite, dry skin, and many other common skin maladies.
Skincare Basics from the American Academy of Dermatology
While a skincare report personalized using your DNA data can be much more specific, there are several things that the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends for all skin types and age groups:
- Avoid the Sun
The sun is the #1 cause of damaged skin, regardless of skin pigmentation. In fact, the AAD recommends a high level of sun protection. For optimum skin wellness, you should not spend any amount of time in the sun without wearing sunscreen with an SPF rating of 30+. The UV rays present in sunlight are responsible for all types of damage to your skin, regardless of your skin color or skin type. UV light oxidizes molecules within skin cells, creating free radicals and directly damaging your DNA. This can easily lead to skin cancer if you are not careful. To put it clearly, even though UV light on your skin is one of the only ways your body can produce vitamin D, the AAD recommends that you should avoid all sun exposure and take a vitamin D supplement instead! This recommendation extends to tanning booths, which produce the same harmful UV rays!
- Moisturize Often
Moisturizing your skin helps prevent damage in several ways. First off, moisturized skin is less likely to become irritated, inflamed, or develop any sort of rashes. These sorts of skin damage can increase how often your skin cells have to divide, leading to a greater possibility of mutations (possible skin cancer) and more visible effects of aging. Second, moisturized skin helps keep bacteria, allergens, and toxins from the environment from getting into the deeper layers of your skin. Moisturizing can also affect the elastin proteins and collagen quality in your skin. This keeps your skin looking healthy and youthful!
- Protect Your Skin
The third recommendation, regardless of your age or skin type, is that you need to protect your skin from environmental damage not related to the sun. In our modern world of chemicals, toxins can be found almost anywhere! The chemicals you use to clean your house, for instance, can damage your skin cells. Also included on this list are common sources of toxins, oils, and dirt including things you might encounter doing gardening (soil, fertilizers, pesticides), car maintenance (oil, antifreeze, other petroleum-based chemicals), and even things you might not consider that you encounter every day (toxins on receipt paper, cooking oil, household allergens). In general, you can avoid these environmental toxins by wearing gloves whenever you deal with these chemicals specifically, and washing your hands regularly to remove any toxins you may have encountered.
Tips based on a DNA Test
While the tips above are generalized tips that everyone should follow, there are many, many specific skin types and conditions that require more specific interventions and can be identified with DNA analysis. For example, if you are at an increased risk for contact dermatitis, you may want to use a stronger moisturizer and use creams or ointments with added vitamin C and vitamin E to relieve the symptoms of contact dermatitis. Your genes may also indicate that you are at an increased risk for photodamage, suggesting that you should use sunscreen with an SPF closer to 100 to prevent any UV rays from damaging your skin.
If your genes indicate that you are at an increased risk of developing cellulite, studies have shown that using topical products with ingredients like caffeine and retinol can significantly decrease cellulite development. If your genetics put you at higher risk of skin oxidation, you may want to increase your nutritional intake of antioxidants to improve your skin health. These are just a few of the many ways that a simple DNA sample provided on a swab can help you develop a specific and more effective skincare regimen. Almost every skin condition that has a genetic correlation also comes with specific, scientifically-backed treatment options.
Skincare DNA Tests - Personalized Skincare
While the science of genetics and skincare has a lot more to discover, you can get a personalized skincare report today for much less than you might spend on skincare products that may not be optimized for your particular skin type or skin condition. If you have already gotten a DNA testing kit (from 23andMe, for example) and have a raw DNA data file from this genetic testing, you can start today. Check it out!
Genomelink’s Skincare Science Report
The Genomelink Skincare Science Report provides a personalized skincare routine based on the leading scientific research, your specific genetic variations, and recommendations from leading dermatologists and skincare experts. Plus, our team of writers and editors curates this information in an easy-to-understand way that will have you on track to have the healthiest skin possible in no time at all! Our writers and editors are also trained to never over-emphasize a scientific finding. In other words, we only give advice that has been scientifically validated and is backed by multiple studies.