While DNA and genetic testing are certainly exploring new frontiers, epigenetics, the study of heritable changes in gene expression that don’t involve changes in DNA, is also taking center stage.
“I am most excited about the next phase of genetic testing, which will allow us to not only know what our DNA blueprint looks like but also have insights into our expression patterns,” says HydroPeptide’s Neal Kitchen. “This is where epigenetics plays a vital role in telling us who we are.” Last fall at the Global Wellness Summit, Kenneth R. Pelletier, Ph.D., M.D., clinical professor of medicine at University of California School of Medicine, shared how the science is set to transform the industry. According to him, not only do our genes influence us, but we also play a significant role in influencing gene expression. As a result, epigenetics is already playing a larger role in spas.
For example, spa-goers can now take advantage of programs like the Wellness Collective at Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa (Rancho Santa Fe, CA), which provides spa-goers with a host of 3-, 5-, and 7-day retreats complete with workshops, lectures, and more in partnership with the Lifewellness Institute on how to transform lifestyle factors that may be impacting our genes. “The Wellness Collective is a truly unique experience combining the expertise of E. Lee Rice, D.O., a premier international medical expert; the cutting-edge science of epigenetics; world-class wellness therapists; and lifestyle tools to cultivate sustainable change all with the exclusive touch of an itinerary crafted especially for each guest’s unique needs by a personal wellness advisor,” says director of spa and wellness Kristi Dickinson.
Product companies are also incorporating the science. “As a result of epigenetic testing, for the very first time, Biologique Recherche has identified and selected EpigenActiv, a peptide that acts on EGF, or epidermal growth factor receptors, which are essential to regenerate tissues and recycle degraded proteins,” says Philippe Allouche. “It acts on the cutaneous aging process to promote genuine cellular regeneration.” The company recently debuted La Grande Crème, which is formulated with the peptide to restore the skin’s cutaneous barrier and tackle other age-related issues.
According to Allouche, the study of epigenetics is incredibly innovative. “It’s a totally new area of research for skincare, as it does not impact your DNA but works on the way the skin reacts to external factors,” he says. “It also provides insights on potential prevention of damage that leads to signs of aging, such as wrinkles, dark spots, skin slackening, and hyperpigmentation.”