Cosmetics with DNA

The cosmetics industry invests heavily in innovation. It is a dynamic market in which consumers are always avid for novelty.

Recent years have seen the launch of a new class of skincare products, whose appeal is customization based on genetic analysis. 

Genetic sequencing is the result of the Human Genome Project which closed in 2003 and brought about a greater understanding of the order in which genes are combined in the genome (chromosome pairs) and thus of individuals’ hereditary characteristics. 

In the future, gene sequencing will make it possible to carry out studies to perform increasingly more precise diagnosis and prognosis of diseases and, consequently into the development of individualized treatments. 

A little over ten years ago, gene sequencing was the object of advanced research at a cost of millions of dollars. Today, thanks to advances in technology and with the development of new methodologies, these tests can be performed for under a thousand dollars. 

In the world of medicine, genetics is already showing the way towards more honed and effective treatments. Investment has been made in the genetic sequencing of patients with cancer and other diseases. 

In tandem, there has been increased development in pharmacogenetics or phmacogenomics, consisting of the study of the genetic factors which may interfere in the effects of medication. Genetic mapping allows the determination of the optimum dose of medication for a patient, one which which may be non-efficacious for another patient with the same diagnosis. Here nutrigenomics comes into play. Nutrigenomics is an area of science which studies how foodstuffs may interfere in gene performance. Nutrigenomic studies have concluded that vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower are a component able to stimulate carcinogenic genes. 

In dermatology, personalized prescriptions based on genetic studies are becoming increasingly more frequent. With this, it is possible to direct these prescriptions both toward the treatment of pathologies and toward mitigating the adverse effects aging has on the skin. The dermatologist prescribes active ingredients which compensate for a patient’s determined genetic characteristics (deficiencies). 

Based on this premise, in 2002 the US company Lab 21 launched DNA Face Cream, the first custom-mixed product, based on a sample of the customer’s DNA (taken from a cheek swab). 

In 2012, Skingena, the business arm of the O Boticário group, made this option of custom-mixing available to Brazilian dermatologists. Skingen Lab is the unit responsible for analyzing RNA (which contains DNA information), and Skingen Pharma makes the products. 

The cosmetics industry also entered this new era with skin-stem-cell-compatible vegetable stem cells, launched in 2008. Stem cells are able to transform (differentiate) into any of the body’s specialized cells and renew themselves via cell division, even after long periods of inactivity, and are induced to form tissue and organ cells with specific functions. Studies performed in Europe and the US show the efficaciousness of these vegetable stem cells in anti-aging skincare treatments. These active ingredients work mainly on restoring cellular balance and cellular rebuilding capacity, in addition to acting on the effects of sun exposure, dehydration and cellular replication. All of this aims at rejuvenating the skin. 

With advances in technology, it can be foreseen that in the future, cosmetics will have many more benefits than simply cleaning, protecting and scenting the skin. 

Hamilton dos Santos is the Publisher of the magazine Cosmetics & Toiletries Brasil

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