Fasten your seat belts; we are on the brink of an anti-aging revolution. As discussed here, I believe that in the very near future, the way we make decisions about our skin care products, treatments and even our diet will be directed by our (yet to be revealed) genetic strengths and weaknesses. Access to this type of objective data will expose exactly what our skin needs in order to age most gracefully, taking out the guesswork and ensuring that every skincare dollar is well spent.
I had the privilege of speaking with Stefan Mazy, founder of SkinDNA in Sydney, Australia. SkinDNA International is an Australian genomics company dedicated to the research and development of new therapies for skin improvement tailored to an individual’s genetic structures. The revolutionary SkinDNA™ Genetic Test examines 16 genetic markers (SNPs) in 5 categories associated with skin aging. At this time SkinDNA has over 40,000 DNA samples in their data base, with over 15,000 being collected each year. My results will soon be part of the mix – I took the plunge and sent in my DNA for analysis.
I can hardly wait for Stefan to help me assess my already carefully curated skin care regimen – details on that will be coming soon! In the meantime, Stefan shared insight on this technology and how it is truly changing the way we approach aging.
Can you confirm that the results of the DNA test will NOT vary based on lifestyle factors (diet, sun exposure, etc) or age?
Stefan Mazy- That’s correct – these results remain the same no matter what your lifestyle or age. Of course the younger you are the better as by knowing this information at an early age can allow better prevention strategies. Of course taking the test later on in life is also very beneficial as it can not only help validate your prevention strategy but can also help steer you in the right direction of what to focus on.
Do you ever provide a list of recommendations or is that up to the individual’s dermatologist?
We provide 2 services depending on the client, one service specifically selects products from a specific skincare brand using our proprietary algorithms. The other is a list of specific ingredients, supplements and treatment modalities. This allows dermatologists and beauty therapists to build a skincare program using the tools they have with the guidance given by us.
You have three fundamental beliefs, one of which is that prevention is the real key to ageless skin. Does prevention take the form of more than just sun protection?
Absolutely – first and foremost the sun is our friend. Sun screen can only help protect so much. If you look at plants, they don’t exactly wake up every morning put on some sunscreen lotion and then bake in the sun for 14 hours. There is so much more out there – prevention comes in many forms. From being proactive about using skincare products before you see an issue to reducing the amount of sugar we intake. At SkinDNA we work with 5 different aspects of skin aging and the sun is only one of them. This means that there are 4 other categories that are just as equally as important as sun exposure.
In this television segment here, you recommend topical products based on the women’s test results. How important do you feel ingestibles are to health of the skin? Which ones do you think play the most important role in improving the skin’s condition?
Aging is a very complex issue but what we know is that aging not only happens from the outside in, but also from the inside out. By taking a synergistic approach and incorporating topical ingredients to prevent physical aging, supplements to prevent internal aging and professional treatments to help with overall age prevention is truly the best approach.
I think everyone is looking for that one tablet or one product to target everything… the so called “miracle in a bottle.” The reality is it doesn’t exist. If you think about it, if it did exist there would be only product for everyone, only one brand for everyone – unfortunately everyone is different which is why there are thousands of brands. This is also why some products work well for some and not for others.
I can’t just list one supplement that’s most important but will give a list:
SOD (superoxide Dismutase)
What strategies have been the most successful in raising awareness of your DNA test?
EDUCATION, EDUCATION, EDUCATION! I can honestly say I wrote the book on this. Education is the key to the success of SkinDNA. We offer full day training seminars to therapists, dermatologists & plastic surgeons – not about how to take a SkinDNA test, but what this information means and how it can be used. Our training has been recognized and we are finalists for Educators of the Year in Australia.
I believe this is the future of skincare, yet even within my circle of beauty aficionados, I don’t know anyone that has taken it yet. What do you think needs to happen to change the mindset of consumers?
Even though SkinDNA has been around a little while we are still in the early adopters stage, which is great. Because it’s those early adopters who we are educating, who are telling their friends, they are the true pioneers. It’s only a matter of time – every year we have consistent growth.
Do you think the price point ($299+) is too restrictive for most?
We have experimented with pricing all around the world and once people see the value behind this one time test the cost is hardly a factor. It’s priced cheaper than a botox treatment – yet unlike botox, your results will remain valuable forever.
SkinDNA has a database of more than 40,000 DNA samples from various ethnic groups. I can only imagine how valuable this data would be to skincare companies! Can you share any insights?
Correlation studies are the best part of what we do. With all this data that we collect, not only is it 100% private but it allows us to do quite a lot of studies. It’s because of this database that we have been able to strengthen the test. Looking at the data we can pull out all the cool funky statistics that are significant for everyone.
For example we can filter white Caucasians age 55-65, observe lifestyle traits and compare them to their genetic outcomes and start to find trends. Then using this information, we can look at the same population but younger, like 20-25 years of age, find those same trends and use that to highlight ones risk factors and the need to take action.
I see that your Australian clinic offers a wide range of innovative skin treatments. Is there a particular advancement that you feel has really been significant in changing the appearance of the skin? The Vamp (or Vampire) facial got so much press after Kim Kardashian tweeted her photos!
Not only do we distribute to thousands of retailers around the world but we also have a flagship clinic where we can use the SkinDNA test to create treatment plans for our patients. Some of the significant advancements are certainly PRP injections a.k.a vampire – however the Kim Kardashian method is one technique, there are many others techniques we use that leave no downtime at all. IV infusions and mesotherapy have also been an area that is gaining popularity.
You are super young to be behind such a major beauty breakthrough. What is next for you and your company?
Some of what we are doing is under wraps but one thing on our list toward the end of the year / early next year is safe, mesotherapy-like injectable ampules that allow skin rejuvenation without lasers or downtime.