How medical tests are changing the future of skin care – WWD

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Are consumers ready to pass on their DNA in the name of perfect skin?

While personalized beauty is usually accompanied by an online diagnostic quiz, the category of personalized beauty pivots into more concrete science – and that often requires forking information gleaned from your DNA. Nowadays, companies are looking at a swab from the mouth or even the forehead for more detailed consumer information to prescribe personalized products and ingredients.

And what may seem too intrusive to older people worried about privacy issues is embraced by younger people interested in personalized beauty and more accustomed to sharing data.

About 76% of Gen Z and Millennial women want to take a quiz to receive more personalized product recommendations, according to an exclusive on-demand YPulse survey for WWD Beauty Inc that included 500 Gen Z and Millennial women.

According to YPulse research, 91% of Gen Z and Millennials are incredibly interested in products that are personalized to their needs. YPulse On-Demand Survey Shows 67% of Young Women Report Interest in Skincare Brands with Swab Testing for Hormones, Microbiome, and DNA to Inform Her Skincare Regime , and 55% would be willing to share a biological sample for DNA Analysis for a more personalized product, ”said MaryLeigh Bliss, vice president of content at YPulse. “But confidentiality will be a key part of participation for many.”

Jana Bobosikova, CEO of Epic Brands, a Los Angeles-based brand operations agency, sees companies focusing on front-end personalization – that is, quizzes – as a tool for acquiring and retaining customers. But it is in the field of diagnostic tests adapted or taken from the medical ecosystem that have become a source of innovation to help position their flagship products. “What we see coming is synthetic biology (or expressive biology, more poetically) and its ability to create truly personalized de novo solutions designed and developed to treat specific skin conditions,” she said. .

From hormones to the skin microbiome and DNA, home tests used by brands measure a range of biofactors and collect data to create long-term innovation. And no wonder. According to Euromonitor, there is growing interest in DNA-based personalization, although it is still in the exploratory stage.

“There are so many things that determine your skin, including your genes and your microenvironment,” said New York-based certified dermatologist Dr. Michelle Henry. “The genes are really complex. And the presence of a gene does not necessarily mean the expression of a gene. We’re sort of in the Stone Age when it comes to using DNA and genetic information in this way. “

Know Beauty, launched in June by founders Vanessa Hudgens and Madison Beer, saw DNA testing as an opportunity for consumers to learn more about their skin. “Our goal is to explore the genetic personalization of the skin so that we can open a door to prevention and maintenance,” said Dr. Avnee Shah, Chief Medical Officer of Know Beauty. “Personalization can allow people to adopt a less burdensome beauty routine by allowing you to have the assets that are best suited to your skin type. One possibility is that the formulations could be composed and created specifically for each individual consumer, allowing varying degrees of actives depending on the exact needs of the skin.

Know the beauty

Know Beauty’s diagnostic, which has been completed by 50,000 users since its launch, is a two-part process that allows consumers to determine the future of their skin. For example, they may have a higher risk of wrinkles or pigmentation due to their genetic makeup. The client receives the Skin DNA Kit, $ 95, (which focuses on the genotype) which includes a cotton swab for administration of a cheek swab. Once returned to the mark, the sample is analyzed. While the test is in the lab, the client takes an online quiz (focused on phenotype), which focuses on current skin issues in combination with other factors, such as weather, stress, hydration and diet, so that it takes into account the condition of the skin. , priorities and lifestyle. Within 10-14 days, results are sent with the recommended skincare products from the Know Beauty assortment, $ 18- $ 22, depending on the genotype / phenotype combination. “You only need to do the DNA test once in your life because your DNA does not change,” Shah said.

While DNA doesn’t change, hormones do and there is a skin care test for this as well. Veracity, which launched last summer, uses a home hormone test to collect data on skin condition and offer products tailored to the customer’s needs. “Hormones are your body’s messengers for literally every important function, from your mood to your metabolism, to your skin health, to your fertility,” said Allie Egan, Founder and CEO.

Veracity’s $ 149 Skin + Health Test, which is FSA-eligible, provides personal hormone and biofactor readings, skin care products, and ingredients tailored to each individual’s unique hormone levels, as well as personalized diet and lifestyle recommendations. Egan has brought in a variety of medical specialists like an OBGYN, endocrinologist, functional medicine physician, and nutritionist to help educate what is best to test, which includes estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, DHEA, cortisol and pH.

Each biofactor has a different impact on the skin. For example, low levels of estrogen can lead to dryness and wrinkles, while too much can lead to hyperpigmentation. To treat low estrogen levels, the brand recommends ceramides, hyaluronic acid, retinol and copper gluconate. To balance the high levels, they suggest antioxidants like vitamin C and E and acids like glycolic.

“Eighty-seven percent of the women we tested had at least one hormone imbalanced,” Egan said. “We wanted to create a targeted solution specifically designed to treat the hormonal imbalance that you are seeing for fast results. [with your skin care]. “

A report is sent to the customer’s inbox with a PDF that details their biofactor levels compared to the normal range. It also includes a deeper dive into the most extreme hormone levels to balance skin, lifestyle, and dietary recommendations including stress management, sleep, and specific foods to implement. There’s a section on supplements to try and a personalized skincare routine from the Veracity product line, from $ 55 to $ 85.

The skin care line from Veracity.

The skin care line from Veracity.

As with so many others, the testing itself is not new, but the applications of technology are. “I have a lot of clients who 10 years ago would come and I would be the person to order all of these tests,” said Dr Anna Gold, DACM, L.Ac, FABORM and Asian MD of ballast. “But now consumers can access it online. Swab tests and take-home stool tests to examine your gut and hormones have been around since the 1980s. Functional medicine physicians and holistic practitioners like me have been using them for decades. Thanks to the Internet, it is now widely available because these companies have realized that by employing a few scientists or doctors on their staff, they can produce algorithms and use data to really succinctly target people with their products.

This is exactly what Dr. Elsa Jungman does. The San Francisco-based French scientist recently launched her Skin Microbiome kit to help consumers understand their skin tone. With a smear from the forehead, the test can help identify the 10 most common bacteria and fungi that live on the skin. The report will also provide an overview of the client’s skin microbiome, then personalize skin care, ingredients, and nutritional recommendations. “We collected over 10,000 data points in our survey and what we saw is that over 75% have sensitive skin and the main reason for sensitive skin is not the skincare product. of the skin is mental health, ”Jungman said. “Number two is the changes in women. So this shows that personalization needs to be holistic and provide recommendations beyond skin care products. Skin care is just a point of contact.

For the launch of the Skin Microbiome Kit, the brand has partnered with Credo as an exclusive reseller. “We do diagnostics,” Dr. Jungman said, “based on Credo’s personal consumer program. For example, you can buy from Credo Beauty to find a product that contains the ingredients that we have discovered are best for your skin. Industry sources estimate that the Dr. Elsa Jungman Skin Microbiome Kit, $ 149, will net $ 1.5 million in its first year.

Dr Elsa Jungman

Dr. Elsa Jungman’s diagnostic kit.

Bobosikova added, “What we are not seeing yet and what we are excited to build is true end-to-end personalization based on skin biomarker monitoring on one side and dose-controlled solutions from the skin. ‘other side.

According to Euromonitor, the future evolution of beauty personalization could incorporate automation, via sensors or implants, or be predictive, using routine monitoring and real-time tracking, but one thing is clear: l he future of beauty will be personalized.

“The information is as good as those who interpret it,” said Dr Henry. “I am delighted to have more information and data and to see it used in a useful way. I am delighted to see the test develop so that they are more reliable. But I would always recommend that people rely on their experts to make the clinical diagnosis. “


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