By Khanak Mehta
If you’re a beauty enthusiast with a penchant for sci-fi shows, we’re sure that you must have wondered at least once if you’d be able to hack your genes to alter the way you look. Well, your dream (some part of it ) may soon come true as scientific research is making some leaps in the areas of genetic studies.
We spoke with Aneesh Sheth, formulation scientist, founder and CEO of Sheth’s by our side to break it all down.
Epigenetics: What’s in a gene?
Good hair, clear skin, healthy nails - one can argue that supermodels and celebrities were fortunate enough to hit the genetic lottery on this one. But all their tips about leading a healthy lifestyle isn’t just all talk – scientific evidence now shows that your lifestyle choices can also have an impact on your DNA, and hence, your genes. This is where epigenetics comes in.
“Epigenetics in a nutshell is modifying gene outcomes without changing the genes. Basically, all cells have the same set of and there are different factors that can cause the DNA to respond in certain ways. These are epigenetic factors, and they can switch on or off genes, increase or decrease gene output, and trigger other genes, too,” says Dr Sheth. Some of these factors include your diet and exercise routine.
Upgrading your ‘inner beauty’
So, what are the benefits we can reap here, with skincare? “There are claims that certain molecules or extracts can increase or decrease the production of certain types of biological tools that are epigenetic,” says Dr Sheth. Basically, picture your genes as a light switch – your collagen-producing genes may become less active with age and external factors, but epigenetic skincare can signal those genes to start working again.
Theoretically, this sounds amazing, but will it really deliver the results it promises? Dr Sheth is skeptical. “There is data to suggest that it could happen, but the evidence is scarce at this point and mostly based on experimental data,” he says. However, while we may not be a leap ahead in the anti-ageing department yet, there is still hope. Dr Sheth agrees that there is evidence of it showing promise in other areas with skin conditions like eczema.
Maybe she’s born with it, maybe it’s epigenetics
If you’re still optimistic about it, you may be running to your bathroom cabinet right now to replace your current skincare formulas with epigenetic formulas. We’d suggest holding on – according to Dr Sheth, “traditional skincare formulas could have the same ingredients as epigenetic skincare – it’s just their mechanism of action that is different.” This means that instead of epigenetic formulas that work on a genetic level, they simply work on a cellular level.
“In fact, small molecules like retinoids or acids have plenty of evidence to suggest that they , which has been validated as well. So, at this point, I don't think it will warrant any major changes to our existing skincare routines,” he adds.
Nevertheless, there still exists a possibility for the areas of epigenetics and skincare to interact and have some major breakthroughs. Just like you, we can’t wait to explore it, one face cream at a time!