Epigenetics: Changing the Face of Skin Care

Written by Neal Kitchen, PhD, chief geneticist at HydroPeptide

Humans are in a new age, where customization and personalization can play a major role in how the body is maintained. From customized diets to DNA testing, the ability people have to understand their genetic makeup is impacting the choices they make, the products they use, and the personalized changes they can implement to maximize results. However, the ability to customize goes beyond the unique DNA sequence inherited from parents. The science of epigenetics – that is, the study of changes in gene expression without changing the underlying DNA sequence – will play the biggest role in advancing technologies around personalized care.

 

How DNA is impacted by environment is fascinating – especially in the case of identical twins. Twins are alike in many ways – after all, their DNA sequences are copies of each other. However, they are not truly identical because their DNA expression patterns change over time and in response to individualized experiences. Different combinations of genes can be turned on or off in response to stimuli and these combinations can be inherited or altered by lifestyle factors. Epigenetics helps to explain why identical twins can have the same DNA blueprint but not look exactly the same. It has everything to do with how one’s genes are expressed. DNA expression patterns affect everyone, not just twins. If people could clone themselves and then live the next 10 years side by side, they would eventually notice differences. This could be profoundly noticeable if one clone had a different lifestyle (like sun and pollution exposure, stress, skin care regimen, and so forth). DNA expression patterns change as people age and as they adapt to the external responses they experience – both good and bad. Epigenetics demonstrates that people can have a far greater influence on who they are and who they will be than perhaps they once thought.

 

The impact that epigenetics will have on skin care is particularly exciting to consider. Scientists are now using the principles behind epigenetics to create ground-breaking skin care formulas that impact cellular health and help change gene expression patterns over time, so skin looks and acts younger from the inside out. With an innovative approach of reversing the aged epigenetic state of the cell and improving cellular health, solutions can be created that benefit the health of the skin long-term. What people eat, where they live, who they interact with, how long they sleep, how they exercise, and many of the natural skin aging processes will cause chemical modifications around genes, thereby turning them on and off. Skin is a primary defender and protective barrier to the harsh environment people live in and, therefore, has the biggest risk and potential to epigenetic changes. If the right kind of products are used to help DNA patterns to reset on a daily basis, people can help purge damage and inflammation, strengthen defenses, and prevent unwanted changes to gene patterns. The skin’s epigenetic state needs help by correcting, healing, and protecting it with products designed for that purpose.

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