Can a DNA test prevent skin ageing?
Geneu certainly thinks so. The brand claims to be able, with the help of a microchip, to “assess human genetic variation in skin ageing” and provide a treatment, tailored to your own skin’s needs, that defies your genetic destiny.
It all sounds very sci-fi, but it is the beginning of the future of skincare. It is just too soon to invest in it. Here’s why:
How Skin Ageing Works
Ageing is inevitable, but the rate at which it happens isn’t. It can be slowed down. But it is not easy. Skin ageing is a complicated process that involves lots of factors, including the breakdown of collagen and elastin, two substances that keep our skin firm and elastic. As they deplete with age, skin becomes looser and saggier.
There are many things that can harm collagen. One of the main culprits is unprotected sun exposure. A diet poor in antioxidants and rich in sugars and high alcohol consumption play a part too. But there is also a genetic component to this. In some people, collagen and elastin naturally start to deplete sooner.
Smart lifestyle choices and antioxidant rich skincare products can help us slow down premature ageing somewhat, but we have no control over genetic factors yet. By understanding how the genes that control collagen levels in the skin work, we can figure out how to modify them so that we can prevent or retard the ageing process.
By this is not what Geneu does. And thank goodness. Messing with genes is a very risky business. Do it wrong, and it could lead to mutations, cancer, and other serious health problems. For a product like this to be approved for sale, it would have to undergo years of very strict tests to prove it is harmless to human health.
So, what does Geneu do?
First of all, Geneu takes a sample of your DNA. But don’t worry. This is not painful nor unpleasant. There are no needles, scalpels or other instruments of torture involved. Using a cotton bud, the people at Geneu simply collect a swab of your inside cheek.
This swab is analyzed by their “DNA BeautyLab on a microchip”, which identifies how high or low your levels of natural antioxidants and collagen breakdown are. The man behind this technology is Professor Christofer Toumazou at London’s Imperial College, who has also invented an artificial pancreas and hearing implants for deaf people, so there’s actually a chance this microchip is more than a gimmick.
30 minutes later, the results are in. They are used to formulate a personalized serum featuring the right concentrations of active ingredients your skin needs to enhance its natural antioxidant protection and collagen levels. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find the list of ingredients anywhere. Their website only mentions it contains hylauronic acid and a plant-based active complex (probably antioxidants with collagen-boosting properties).
How much does Geneu costs?
As you have probably guessed, Geneu isn’t cheap. The test, which can only be done in their salon in Bond Street, London, and two week’s supply of serum costs a whopping £600! Refills can be purchased online at geneu.com, and will set you back £300 a month. You can also get a Geneu Annual Subscription, which includes 52 weeks’ worth of serum plus a complementary re-test, for £3300.
Is Geneu worth it?
As much as I like the idea of personalized skincare, Geneu isn’t so innovative to justify its high price tag yet. If may be able to tell you what the levels of antioxidants and collagen in your skin are, but you could still get a pretty good idea of that by looking into a mirror.
The expensive serum may be personalized, but it doesn’t contain any innovative ingredients you can’t find anywhere else. Antioxidants, such as vitamin c, ferulic acid, green tea, and retinol, do a great job at keeping premature wrinkles at bay, and they are found in a lot of serums at much lower prices. But, just like Geneu’s pricier option, they will only do so much if you don’t follow a healthy diet and wear sunscreen regularly.
For now, I can only recommend Geneu to wealthy women who can’t be bothered to research cosmetic ingredients and hunt down state-of-the-art anti-ageing serums and moisturizers. For them, the convenience of a bespoke serum may be worth its high price.
The Bottom Line
The future of skincare is in bespoke, personalized products. One day, I’m sure, technology will allow us to figure out with even more precision what condition our skin is in and what problems we are predisposed to, and create treatments tailored to our own personal need. It will also allows us to modify genes to prevent or slow down ageing. But that day is still far away. Now, it is still too early to invest in Geneu. This technology isn’t as impressive as it is made out to be yet.
Would you give Geneu a try?