Ground-breaking technology developed over ten years at Imperial College London can now analyse your DNA and provide a personalised skincare routine to bring you healthy looking skin. Time to book in for a test…
Here’s a question: what informs your skincare regime? Are you drawn to a product through a friend’s recommendation, swayed by a magazine review, loyal to a beauty brand simply because it’s the same one your mother has used for years? Perhaps you have grown accustomed to the fragrance and feel of a particular cream or serum, and have forgotten why you started using it in the first place.
But what if that tube of beauty serum sitting on your bathroom shelf was left a little less to chance and the result of testing your genetic make-up. While it may sound a trifle futuristic, this is exactly what the scientists behind the recently launched GENEU have devised – ground-breaking technology developed over ten years at Imperial College London that specifically analyses your DNA and provides a personalised skincare routine to achieve healthy looking skin.
Armed with nothing more than an open mind and a burning curiosity to find out more about my skin and how my genes are affecting how rapidly it is ageing – after all, who doesn’t want to know how fast the wrinkles will appear? – I turn up at a pristine headquarters of GENEU, tucked away discreetly just off London’s New Bond Street. Today, I am booked in for the enticing sounding World-First Microchip DNA Skin Test, the results of which will be processed while I wait (customers can alternatively opt for the Original DNA Skin Test, which promises results in 48 hours).
Having never been tested for much more than my blood group in the past, the prospect of finding out about my genetic make-up is both thrilling and intimidating. What if the DNA tests assesses my collagen degradation level and finds that at the rate it’s going I’ll be the human equivalent of a prune within the next five years? Conversely, and more optimistically, what if, based on my genes, I get to hang on to some semblance of jeunesse for longer than I had imagined. Could my genes hold the key to eternal youth? Either way, there is comfort in knowing that you are in the best hands, and that science can deliver a beauty regime that is tailored specially to my DNA profile.
Today, in the small downstairs laboratory, my DNA today is being tested by the very amiable and knowledgeable Sarah Brown, scientific adviser and graduate of Imperial College. The first thing I’m asked to do is complete a quick and simple lifestyle assessment on an iPad that covers off everything from whether I wear SPF when I’m out and about (I do, thanks to a fairly robust tinted moisturiser with an SPF of 20) and how many holidays I take each year (it varies, but I settle on two). The reason for this, Sarah tells me, is because our ageing is influenced 60 percent by genes and 40 percent by lifestyle, and so it is important to consider factors such as smoking and suncare to build an accurate picture.
To test my DNA, I have a non-invasive cheek swab, which entails 15 rotations around the inside of each cheek and is pleasantly non-taxing
Lifestyle assessment completed, it’s now time to analyse my DNA. Sarah tells me she is going to be looking at two genes that dictate my predisposition towards antioxidant protection levels and my predisposition to breaking down collagen. “The balance between collagen production and collagen breakdown begins to favour collagen breakdown as we get older. From as early as your mid-twenties, collagen breakdown begins to predominate over production, and gradually, with time, this results in the formation of wrinkles,” she explains.
To test my DNA, Sarah takes a non-invasive cheek swab (“buccal sample”), which entails 15 rotations around the inside of each cheek for a minute and is pleasantly non-taxing. Then, through a series of processes, my DNA is extracted before being heated at 95 degrees, which helps to unravel the bonds of the DNA, and then analysed through heating and cooling on a microchip in a temperature-controlled “gateway”.
Thirty minutes and a cup of Earl Grey tea later, Sarah talks me through the results of the first test for lifestyle and genetics. A full wheel appears on the iPad in front of us. My antioxidant protection – the enzyme that fights off free radicals – is deemed “very good”, and Sarah tells me “it is likely that my parents would have a similar result”. I am encouraged. It feels like being told your cholesterol levels are healthy or that the dentist has pronounced your teeth in excellent condition.
My antioxidant protection is deemed “very good”, and Sarah says “it is likely my parents would have a similar result”
We wait for the results of the second DNA test, the one that shows the breakdown of collagen, and that comes back as “moderate’ (not slow, which of course would have been a pleasant surprise, but then again not fast either, which is a relief). To put it in context, and to reassure me, Sarah says that you “don’t get slow very often”, and that the anti-ageing personalised serums prescribed for me, each containing the right levels of ingredients in the appropriate concentrations, will aim to increase levels of collagen.
Before I leave, Sarah presents me with my two serums – a mix of botanicals and active ingredients including vitamin A, C and E, as well as peptides that boost the function of collagen – both neatly contained within a sleek case (I choose a gunmetal grey but there is also black and white, each which can be engraved with your initials or a message if you so wish). The first is the Genotype Antioxidant AOX serum, the second the Genotype Collagen Col serum, and I am to apply two pumps of each daily, morning and night. “From six to eight weeks of use, you should see that the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles are reduced, skin texture and tone is smoother, radiance is increased and the complexion is brightened,” Sarah explains, “but you will feel within the first week that your skin is visibly smoother and more hydrated.”
Well, it is a week in to my new GENEU DNA skincare regime, and I am pleased to report that my skin is indeed much smoother and more hydrated and has a new-found lustre and plumpness. What’s more, having a beauty regime that is uniquely personal to me, that takes in to account my genetic make-up, is strangely empowering. It feels as though, for the first time, I am taking control of my skin’s future and what it needs. And that is what GENEU is all about.
For more information, and to book an appointment, visit GENEU
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