AUG 2018

DAYSPA is the business resource for spa & wellness professionals! Each issue covers the latest in skin care, spa treatments, wellness services and management strategies.

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r [ 42 ] • # dayspamagazine • august 2018 Understanding Epigenetics Although DNA is like a blueprint, meaning it never changes, there's another layer of information called the epigenome—a multitude of chemicals and proteins that tell DNA to switch certain genes on or off . Through continuing research, scientists have found that epigenetic tags are not only connected to the aging process, but that certain environmental factors, from sun exposure to diet, can act upon them to infl uence genes' expression. In other words, people may have more control over their health—including skin health—than they realize. "Our genes are not the entire story," says Neal Kitchen, PhD, chief operating offi cer of HydroPeptide. "Your DNA doesn't change, but what does change is how it's expressed over time, and that can be quite dramatic. It's a question of what's happening at the cellular level—what is the health of your cells at a certain stage of your life, and how can we use epigenetics to alter your gene expression in a meaningful way?" Essentially, one of the keys to antiaging lies in knowing which genes to switch on and which ones to switch off . Although modifying behaviors (e.g., limiting UV exposure or consuming a healthy diet) can obviously make a big impact, Kitchen explains that certain actives can also infl uence skin on the cellular level, turning on genes that protect and promote youthful skin cells, and turning off the ones that can damage or destroy those cells (which leads to undesirable skin traits, like hyperpigmentation and sensitivity). For instance, HydroPeptide formulates its latest antiaging products with a patented amino acid complex that employs the principles of epigenetics to increase cellular regeneration, boost collagen production and block hyperpigmentation. The brand also uses an antioxidant blend to help control damage from free radicals and prevent premature aging. Meanwhile, French skincare brand Biologique Recherche has developed the EpigenActiv peptide, which acts on epidermal growth factor (EGF) receptors in the skin, responsible for cell repair and renewal. "We have tested the eff ects of active ingredients like EpigenActiv and found that they can turn on the right genes, such as those involved in dermal cell proliferation (SDC4), collagen fi ber organization (LUM), dermal extracellular matrix protection (TIMP1), or antioxidant defenses (GLRX)," says the brand's co-chairman Rupert Schmid. EpigenActiv also helps block certain gene carriers that would impair the synthesis of proteins important for skin youthfulness, he adds. © GETTY IMAGES gene genius With the rise of DNA testing services like 23andMe, as well as advances in the understanding of how gene expression impacts the skin, a brave new world in customized skin care is emerging: Companies that analyze clients' DNA, identify the tiny genetic variations associated with problematic skin conditions, and recommend appropriate steps that may include products, supplements and lifestyle changes. Some are even partnering with spas to help them personalize their service offerings. One of the newest is LifeDNA (, which uses data that clients have already obtained from Ancestry or 23andMe, and then provides different subscription-based options including a three-month supply of Personalized Moisturizer, a one-month supply of Personalized Supplements, and a variety of Beauty/ Wellness Boxes. Another company, Pathway Genomics (, offers two choices: SkinFit, which tests 23 genetic traits, including texture and elasticity, infl ammation and allergy risk, and moisture factor; and SkiN iQ, which analyzes 13 traits. Clients are connected with an online physician and the results take a few weeks. Meanwhile, SKINSHIFT (, created by integrative medicine specialist Ruthie Harper, MD, analyzes data from 23andMe to create three reports and recommendations for skin health, general health and weight loss. W i u h a sub s Mo is t TESTING, 1-2-3

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