Personalizing skin treatments has been cosmetics’ real turning point. Perhaps, rather than identifying new molecules, the key lies in using the most suitable ones.
Currently, the new frontier of treatment personalization is called epigenetics ,and is applicable not only to cosmetics but also to nutrition, sport and medicine. Epigenetics studies the set of chemical signals that manage the expression of the genes contained in our DNA.
More specifically, our DNA contains 20,000 genes, but not all of them are simultaneously active, on the contrary, quite a small proportion is: epigenetics studies the biological mechanisms that turns some genes on and others off. The number of different combinations of activated or deactivated genes is almost infinite. What we eat, where we live, with whom we interact, how much we sleep: these and countless other situations can cause chemical changes on genes by turning them on or off. This also happens for some diseases such as cancer or Alzheimer’s disease: various genes will switch to the opposite state, far from their normal/healthy state.
Epigenetics makes us unique. Even if we are all human, why do some of us age earlier or get sick more easily? Why do we love certain flavors that perhaps others consider unpleasant? Why are some of us more sociable than others? The different combinations of genes that are turned on or off are just what makes each of us unique.
There’s more: research currently tells us that some epigenetic changes can be inherited, which opens the door to new mechanisms of interaction of the environment with the individual’s genetic heritage. At the same time, epigenetics is reversible: if we could map every single cause and effect of the different combinations, we could reverse the state of the gene to maintain favorable conditions by eliminating unfavorable ones, which in turn could hypothetically cure cancer, slow down aging, stop obesity and much more.
In cosmetics, the research scope is to identify the biological markers which activate the genes responsible for the correct functioning of the skin, its barrier function, its immunological and structural properties, and its adaptability to environmental conditions. Once these biological markers have been identified, we will be able to identify the cosmetic ingredients – such as alpha hydroxy acids, hydroquinone, retinol (vitamin A) and L-ascorbic acid (vitamin C) – with the greatest potential for epigenetically influencing the skin’s profile.
All this is already a reality: some companies have made kits for the analysis of the epigenetic characteristics of the skin, and possess huge databases to associate the results of these analyzes with the characteristics of the most suitable cosmetic treatment for that defined subject at that particular moment, even sorting through lists of products already on the market and of a recommended brand.
In a non-remote future, we will no longer choose treatments based on our tastes, advertising appeal or price but on the basis of a careful and scientifically validated selection.
Article of Dr Adele Sparavigna for https://4me.styl