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Our understanding of skin care has evolved significantly with advancements in science and technology. Now, we have the remarkable ability to unlock the secrets hidden within our own DNA. By harnessing the power of DNA testing, we can delve into the genetic makeup of our skin and gain valuable insights into its unique characteristics, needs, and potential concerns. Gone are the days of picking skin care products based on the type of skin (dry, normal, or oily). Welcome to the world of personalized skin care solutions! 

What Is Skin DNA Testing?

DNA testing is a groundbreaking process that involves analyzing specific genes and genetic markers associated with our skin’s health to gain valuable knowledge about its inherent qualities, such as its ability to retain moisture, recover from damage, and combat signs of aging. The process eliminates all of the guesswork associated with our skin care and provides medical professionals with all of the information they need to create a personalized skin care regimen. 

The whole process is relatively simple, and it only requires a swab from the inside of your cheek and, in some cases, a saliva sample. All of this can be done from the comfort of your home. You just have to order a skin test from a site like Muhdo, take the swab yourself, and send it back for DNA analysis. 

The test is then analyzed in the laboratory, and in four to six weeks, you’ll get the DNA skin test results. Collagen synthesis, elasticity, antioxidant protection, inflammatory response, and susceptibility to the sun are just a few of the many factors that will be included in the results. Once you have your results, it’s time to book an appointment with your dermatologist to get the appropriate treatment your skin deserves. 

Skin Aging Process 

To better understand the test results, it is necessary to first discuss some fundamental skin aging processes that naturally take place and influence how our skin looks.

While skin contains many layers, it can be divided into three main parts:

  1. Epidermis (outer part)
  2. Dermis (middle part)
  3. Subcutaneous layer (inner layer)  

Within each layer of the skin, you’ll find connective tissue comprised of collagen fibers, which offer structural support, and elastin fibers, which contribute to the skin’s flexibility and resilience. Each layer also contains various skin cells, nerves, oil glands, proteins, fat, and blood vessels, and all of them influence our skin in one way or another. 

While we can’t peel the skin and take a closer look at each layer to see what is going on, we can take skin DNA tests to gain valuable insight into the factors that influence our skin’s aging progress and help us develop effective strategies to slow it down. 

The most common aging processes that people try to combat are: 

Loss of skin elasticity – Skin elasticity is governed by several factors, the most important ones being collagen and elastin. The bad news for us is that, over time, we start producing less and less of them. Elastin begins to degrade once we reach maturity, whereas collagen reaches a tipping point in the mid-20s to early 30s, after which we lose between 1 and 2% per year. 

And these are just the main factors. You also have to factor in outside forces like UV radiation, pollution, a bad diet, and smoking on top of the other internal factors we didn’t even mention. It’s a rather complicated subject, and this is why it has been such a thorn in our sides. 

With so many factors working together, it’s not easy to prescribe the right therapy, either. This is where DNA skin analysis comes into play, giving dermatologists valuable insight into our genetic makeup and allowing them to provide effective treatments and even suggest cosmetic procedures if necessary.

Oil production – As the number of skin proteins (including collagen) declines, our sebaceous glands begin to produce less body oil, which keeps our skin fresh and moist. A decrease in oil production can lead to dryness and itchiness

Skin thinning – As we grow older, our skin starts to appear thinner, paler, and more translucent, but we don’t actually lose any skin layers. What we do lose are pigment-containing cells called melanocytes. The remaining cells compensate for this loss by stretching themselves to cover a larger area, which leads to the skin looking thinner than it actually is

Sun Damage – While catching some sun is good for us since it helps us create vitamin D, catching too much can lead to the creation of liver spots, solar elastosis, and, in some cases, even skin cancer. While a skin genetics test can’t directly prevent the UV radiation from the sun, it can tell us how susceptible we are to it

Loss of skin fat – Our subcutaneous fat layer gradually thins out and stops acting as a natural barrier and cushion, which leads to a hollowed-out or skeletal appearance. Losing fat usually isn’t a bad thing, but in this case, it is. 

Easier bruising – Just like everything else, the number of blood vessels also decreases over time, and they become fragile, in part due to decreased collagen and melanocytes. The combination of these factors increases the skin’s vulnerability to damage and slows its natural healing processes. The bruises we would shrug off as kids start taking quite some time to heal as we grow older.

DNA Skin Testing Results

The six areas listed below will be presented once you receive your findings from the examination of the sample you sent back: 

  1. Collagen quality
  2. Wrinkling
  3. Pigmentation and UV protection
  4. Sensitivity and inflammation
  5. Skin antioxidants
  6. Elasticity

The number of areas may be different depending on the laboratory from which you bought your test kit, or they may be grouped differently.  

Collagen quality – The test will also look at how good our body is at synthesizing one of the most important proteins in our bodies, collagen. The better our bodies are at creating collagen, the farther away the aging tipping point is. Medicine has already identified a DNA sequence that results in a higher rate of collagen loss. If detected early enough, proper collagen-strengthening DNA skin care therapy can push the tipping point further away.  

Wrinkling – We already know that the creation of wrinkles is influenced by the sun, pollution, lifestyle choices, smoking, and a lot more. Collagen and elastin play a key role in holding everything together and preventing the formation of wrinkles and other fine lines, so anything that affects their creation or quality will significantly impact the look and health of our skin. One such process is glycation. 

Glycation is our body’s natural reaction to sugar molecules, which can result in the creation of advanced glycation end products (AGEs). They first damage the proteins involved in the glycation process and then start binding to other proteins and lipids found in our bodies, including collagen and elastin proteins found in our skin. Once the AGEs binds to them, they severely impact their flexibility and quality, which can lead to the earlier formation of wrinkles and saggy skin. 

A DNA skin test will look at your genetic composition to gauge how your body handles sugar and how well it can metabolize it. The better your body is at getting rid of sugar molecules, the less chance there is of AGEs damaging everything they touch. 

Pigmentation and UV protection – One of our main lines of defense against UV radiation is the melanin pigment that melanocyte cells produce. However, as these cells age and die, the remaining melanocyte cells must expand to cover larger surfaces, and so our defense starts deteriorating slowly. The sun’s rays start penetrating our skin and creating lasting damage that impacts our production of collagen.

It goes without saying that people who spend most of their time in the sun or tanning beds will feel the effects of aging sooner. However, because we’re all different, some people can spend more time in the sun without suffering its full effects. The only way to find out how you would fare against it is by using a skin DNA test kit. 

Sensitivity and inflammation – Inflammation is the body’s natural response to irritants like foreign bodies or germs. Just like with everything else in life, when you overindulge in something, no matter how good it’s for you, it starts creating the opposite effect and becomes harmful. The same goes for the anti-inflammatory molecules. If your body’s response is too harsh by generating a higher concentration than necessary, it can lead to itching, redness, and other inflammatory irritations, and in the long term, your skin starts aging faster. 

Skin antioxidants – Antioxidants play a vital role in protecting our skin from oxidative stress caused by factors like UV radiation, pollution, and lifestyle choices. They help neutralize harmful free radicals (unstable molecules), preventing them from damaging skin cells and accelerating the aging process. 

A skin DNA test checks our levels of antioxidants, which gives cosmetic dermatologists valuable insight into how well our body is capable of fighting off all of these challenges on its own. 

Elasticity – Any negative change in skin elasticity is called elastosis. Such changes don’t have to lead just to saggy skin. When there is a buildup of elastic material in a specific area due to sun damage, the skin can become rough and leathery (solar elastosis), which is most common in sailors and farmers.  

Naturally occurring elastosis, or simply put, the period when our skin starts losing elasticity due to age, starts around our 40s. This occurs as a result of endopeptidases called matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), which cause damage by degrading the extracellular matrix (ECM), including collagen and elastin. The test will look for a genetic sequence that regulates the activity of these enzymes to try and predict when this process will occur and determine if it has already started.  

Conclusion

It’s time to say goodbye to generic skincare routines and say hello to the new era of personalized DNA skin care. By harnessing the power of our genetic information, we can bid farewell to guesswork and embrace a tailored approach that caters to our skin’s unique needs. This paradigm shift in skin care allows us to optimize our routine, targeting specific concerns and unlocking the potential for healthier, more youthful-looking skin. It’s time to say goodbye to one-size-fits-all solutions and say hello to the transformative possibilities of DNA-based skincare.

FAQ

How long does DNA last on a cheek swab?

If handled properly and kept in a dry and cool place, a DNA cheek swab can last up to six months, which is more than enough to reach its destination. 

Do DNA repair creams work?

The majority of patients who used DNA repair creams noticed an improvement after using them. 

What is DNA-based skin care?

It’s a personalized skin care routine tailored to each individual by analyzing the DNA of their skin, which allows for targeted product selection and treatment strategies that align with their specific genetic characteristics and needs.

References: 

  1. Clinical Relevance of Elastin in the Structure and Function of Skin; Leslie Baumann (MD), Eric F Bernstein (MD, MSE), Anthony S Weiss (PhD), Damien Bates (MD, PhD, MBA) Shannon Humphrey (MD), Michael Silberberg (MD, MBA) and Robert Daniels (PhD); Sep 2021
  2. The Effect of Aging on the Cutaneous Microvasculature; Itay Bentov (MD,PhD) and May J. Reed  (MD); APR 2015
  3. Skin melanocytes: biology and development; Mirosława Cichorek, Małgorzata Wachulska, Aneta Stasiewicz, and Agata Tymińska; Feb 2013
  4. Characteristics of the Aging Skin; Miranda A. Farage, Kenneth W. Miller, Peter Elsner, and Howard I. Maibach; Feb 2013
  5. Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs): chemical-biological functions and (Q)SARs; Rajeshwar P Verma and Corwin Hansch; Jan 2007
  6. The role of glycation in the pathogenesis of aging and its prevention through herbal products and physical exercise; Chan-Sik Kim, Sok Park, and Junghyun Kim; Sep 2017
  7. Advanced Glycation End Products (AGEs): Biochemistry, Signaling, Analytical Methods, and Epigenetic Effects; Anna Perrone, Antonio Giovino, Jubina Benny, and Federico Martinelli; Mar 2020
  8. The Roles of Matrix Metalloproteinases and Their Inhibitors in Human Diseases; Griselda A. Cabral-Pacheco, Idalia Garza-Veloz, Claudia Castruita-De la Rosa, Jesús M. Ramirez-Acuña, Braulio A. Perez-Romero, Jesús F. Guerrero-Rodriguez, Nadia Martinez-Avila, and Margarita L. Martinez-Fierro; Dec 2020
  9. Free radicals, antioxidants, and functional foods: Impact on human health; V. Lobo, A. Patil, A. Phatak, and N. Chandra; Dec 2010
  10. Six critical questions for DNA repair enzymes in skincare products: a review in dialog; Daniel B. Yarosh, Amanda Rosenthal, and Ronald Moy; Aug 2019
  11. Personalized skincare: from molecular basis to clinical and commercial applications; Ewa Markiewicz and Olusola Clement Idowu; Apr 2018
  12. Solar Elastosis in Its Papular Form: Uncommon, Mistakable; Jun Khee Heng, Derrick Chen Wee Aw, and Kong Bing Tan; Apr 2014
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