Op-Ed: I Took A DNA Test For My Skin, And Here’s What Happened

Confession: I was a little sceptical – until I tried out what homegrown wellness company Imagene Labs had to offer.

Two-year-old homegrown company Imagene Labs specialises in genetic research, and branched out into providing skincare and wellness solutions last September. Via DNA testing, its products are formulated based on an individual’s genetic make-up.

There are three different types of tests – skincare, fitness and nutrition – to choose from on Ori, the company’s e-commerce platform. The OriSKIN test kit, for example, evaluates genetic markers in your skin in 10 traits, from hydration to pigmentation and premature ageing. “These specific traits have been selected as they are ones that people are most concerned about”, says Alina Uchida, Imagene Labs’ skincare expert.

All that sounds well and good, but why should doing a DNA test be important to a person and his or her skincare routine? Uchida explains: “It’s very good for pre-emptive action as it tells you things you can’t see yet. For example, collagen breakdown in your skin may be high if you have a variation on a certain gene, so your body doesn’t recycle or preserve collagen. A machine or scanner wouldn’t be able to see this.”

Her answer prompts a follow-up question – just how accurate are the results? Uchida’s response: “How we came up with the genes to test and the traits they are linked to is based on a global genome-wide study called GWAS, which is still ongoing. In terms of connection between trait and gene, it’s robust. In terms of our testing of the sample, we’ve scored a 99.8 per cent concordance with other labs we’ve benchmarked against.”