Imagine how simple caring for your skin would be if it came with an instruction manual — a scientifically proven list of the irritants, products to be avoided, and beneficial ingredients specific to your biology, neatly laid out. Well, now you can take a genetic test to determine your best skincare routine. No more need for second guessing how often you should moisturize, or how much (or even what type of) sunscreen you should apply. Beauty-focused genetic testing isn't a thing of science fiction anymore, and all things considered, it's not terribly expensive, either.
Biotech company Orig3n, which focuses on stem cell research and consumer-facing genetics services, recently introduced AURA, its first genetic beauty test. That's right: We're talking bonafide genetic testing for beauty regimens. Although it may sound like the stuff of movies, developing a plan for the health and beauty of your skin based almost entirely on your genetics seems like a pretty scientific way to go. Consider how differently you might approach caffeine and other diuretics knowing how genetically predisposed you are toward dehydration, or how often you would sunbathe depending on whether or not you're at an abnormally high risk for sun damage or sensitivity to UV rays.
Retailing for $99, AURA is a fairly accessible test designed to give customers greater insight into their skin's natural abilities and potential pitfalls. According to its website, the AURA report focuses on an analysis of four of your skin's key aspects, including hydration, aging, elasticity, and UV sensitivity.
Using the report, consumers can create their own unique beauty regimen, or work hand in hand with their current dermatologist to focus on bolstering aspects of their skin's function that may require additional support. The AURA report is designed to take the guesswork out of finding the right beauty products and solutions for your skin, as it goes beyond classifying you by the standard, simple skin types: dry, combination, and oily or acne prone.
Orig3n has worked with a large database of blood samples for some time now to research regenerative medicine, and has partnered with organizations like the Parkinson's Foundation to jointly work toward understanding the links between cellular construction and disease. Orig3n even offers people who donate blood samples for research the option of storing cells in a database in case of future disease or cures.
This donation add-on comes at a cost of $99 a month, but could prove to be hugely useful in the future for people who develop Type 1 Diabetes. A Brazilian research center found that people who have had their blood stem cells removed and re-implanted have been able to survive without the use of insulin shots for over two and a half years. The process is still in early testing, and considered pretty risky, but progress is being made (with further success curing Type 1 Diabetes in mice in an ongoing study at Harvard University).
Needless to say, it seems Orig3n's genetic testing could prove both interesting and extremely useful over the next few years. To take the test, all you need to do is visit Orig3n's AURA page, order your test (be prepared to pay with PayPal), and wait for your kit to arrive in the mail.
Once your kit is in your possession, follow the instructions provided, swab your cheek for a sample, and send it back in to Orig3n using its return shipping package. According to Orig3n's website, it takes between three and four weeks to test eight of your genes (and their associated single nucleotide polymorphisms) and process your report once your samples arrive at the lab. After testing is complete, your report will be mailed back to you for your reading pleasure.
While genetic testing may not be everyone's first thought when it comes to constructing the ideal beauty regimen, the possible benefits seem worth considering. And with a virtually painless testing procedure that comes out to be less expense than a Clarisonic, AURA might just prove to be 2016's best beauty splurge.