GQ Magazine – 2013
The future looks bright as SkinDNA technology brings new life to your daily regime.
Sure, DNA can absolve the innocent and unlock evolution’s mysteries, plus who wouldn’t want one of those model genomes on their bookcase? But what has DNA done for you lately? Once reserved for dubious advertisements, such technology can now determine the ultimate grooming regime. The SkinDNA company touts its service – the only of its kind in Australia – as “the most advanced skin diagnostic test available” and, as we discover, it mostly lives up to the hype.
The first thing you are instructed to do is swab your mouth with what looks like a large toothbrush without bristles, before sending the sample off with a rather specific questionnaire about your hereditary background (I was able to check off “Ashkenazi Jew” for the first time in more than three decades of filling out forms).
What do you get back?
Two weeks later, the results arrive back from an American lab. These take the form of a detailed, seven-page report covering your skin’s “firmness and elasticity”, “wrinkling”,
“Sun damage” and “pigmentation”. It also covers damage by free radicals – groups of atoms with an unpaired number of electrons that form when certain molecules interact with oxygen. Not with us? Well, you know those guys at the bar spoiling for a fight? Those are free radicals, their prize is electrons and they damage healthy cells, resulting in sallow skin and a dull complexion (among a host of other body issues). The final truths this report uncovers is sensitivity to everyday pollutants – car fumes, chlorine and cigarettes – which play out in the form of redness or irritation.
Is it worth it?
As you’d expect for a service that starts at $189, you’re presented with a serious wad of details about each condition. But all you need to know is this: if dealing with wrinkles, for example, you’ll find out how you scored compared to the rest of the population, and what causes the lines and visible effects. The money shot lies in the “prescription” section of each page. These recommendations detail the topical ingredients and nutritional supplements you’ll need to help prevent further damage.
While the report doesn’t deliver specific lotions and potions (rather, it highlights the ingredients you need to be on the look out for), SkinDNA co-creator Stefan Mazy is happy to point customers in the direction of the readily available brands, which contains such players as biopeptides, whey proteins, retinol, resveratrol, coenzyme Q10 and carotenoid supplements. Says Sydney dermatologist Dr Elizabeth Dawes-Higgs: “While these analyses can provide a heightened level of detail, they are no substitute for a consultation with a dermatologist who can assess the bigger picture.
It’s also important to remember that no skin cream can alter your genetics, it merely works alongside your specific profile.” True, although certain skin conditions respond better to specific ingredients and, at the very least, a DNA test acts as a strong matchmaker between the two. It also represents a level of diagnosis once reserved for clinicians – real ones.