the science of skin - epigenetics.
This is a subject that has me totally nerding out!
I am an anti-band-aid-er... meaning... I prefer to discover the why of skin disorder and treat the cause and dysfunction, rather than the symptom/s.
And this is why epigenetics has me in love.
Epigenetics is the study of change caused by modification of gene expression (yep, initially this sentence had me head scratching too).
To break it down, that beautiful double helix, recognisable as DNA, happens to contain the coding information for approximately 20 000 genes. Gene expression is used to code proteins, proteins then dictate our cell function.
You may have heard the adage, "genetics may load the gun, but environment pulls the trigger".
Gene expression is a regular and natural occurrence but can be influenced by several factors including age, environment and lifestyle, further, your parent may of lived an unhealthy lifestyle, triggering a genetic 'on' switch, exposing you and potentially your children to undesirable gene expression and predisposition for disease.
Genes can be turned 'on' and 'off', this is not an alteration of our genetic code, it is a modification of it's expression and coding.... and this modification is the study of epigenetics.
The implications of epigenetic study are enormous. If we can control which genes are active and which are dormant, we can potentially keep the good and eliminate the bad, reversing damage and disease... MIND BLOWN.
I could write in circles about this all day, so I'll behave and bring it back to skin.
When it comes to skin health, epigenetics is currently influencing the way we treat and prescribe in 2 ways, firstly, the ability to carry out a simple test to scientifically assess genetics and what our client may be predisposed to, this in turn will allow for targeted topicals and recommendations to support individual needs long term. Secondly, the widening study of topical applications and their ability to reach their target and positively effect gene expression and skin health.
Skin clinics, such as Rationale and O Cosmedics, are integrating DNA testing into their client consultations, allowing them to dispense skincare, lifestyle and nutrition advice that can be 'made today, to prevent (and reverse) the signs of ageing tomorrow'. This is revolutionising the consultation process for both skin therapist and client.
In terms of topicals and their ability to influence us at a DNA level, research is exciting, with Vitamin A & C being studied for their ability to remove 'epigenetic marks' or 'memory' from our DNA. A host of other topicals are also cited for their abilities, however, for now, don't believe the hype... do your research, and stay tuned.
To be continued...