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Cosmetogenomics: the new era of cosmetics


“Cosmetics” derives from the term “kosméo” which means to adorn or beautify and originated in Ancient Greece.

So what does the word “cosmetogenomics” mean?

There is a growing social awareness of the impact of genetics on our health thanks to DNA tests that provide information on genetic predisposition to diseases, personal traits, wellbeing data, etc. However, in recent years there has been an increase in studies investigating the relationship between the world of cosmetics and genetics.

It has been proven that various external factors such as stress, tobacco consumption, pollution, prolonged exposure to the sun or the use of low-quality cosmetic products, among other factors, worsen, in the medium and long term, the composition of the skin and its essential elements.

It was then that the branch of genetics called cosmetogenomics emerged. This uses the knowledge of our genome with the aim of promoting and acquiring beauty habits that are beneficial to our health. It also allows us to interpret the effects of cosmetics and other factors on our skin with the aim of concealing as much as possible our biological and chronological age.

Below, we will discuss some of the personal traits we analyse in the tellmeGen DNA test that are associated with our beauty.

Skin and hair pigmentation

Skin and hair are the parts of the body that are most exposed to environmental factors such as the sun’s rays, temperature, pollution and stress. However, according to different studies, skin pigmentation and hair have an important genetic component:

  • Skin pigmentation, with more than 190 associated markers, is highly heritable from parent to child. Among the most important genes are the OCA2 gene and the TYR gene, both of which encode proteins involved in the process of melanin production (pigment that colours the skin, hair and eyes).
  • At the same time, it is estimated that the heritability of male pattern baldness can be as high as 62%. To date, thanks to different studies, more than 350 genetic variants involved in the manifestation of this trait have been detected. As it has a high degree of heritability, it is possible to know the genetic predisposition to have this type of alopecia by means of a DNA test such as those of tellmeGen.

Over the years, the cosmetics industry has developed high-tech formulas using chemical components to make the process more cost-effective and cheaper. One of the most talked about ingredients, due to their negative impact on health, are endocrine disruptors. For example, parabens, bisphenols or benzophenone-3 (present in many face creams that include sunscreen).

Endocrine disruptors are chemical substances that have a high degree of similarity with certain molecules synthesised by our body and can, among other things, modify hormonal balance, as our body is not able to differentiate between the two molecules. They can therefore end up altering the proper functioning of the body, negatively affecting our health and increasing the risk of certain diseases, such as some types of cancer.

More and more consumers are committed to caring for their skin and are therefore concerned about the composition of cosmetic products on the market. When developing new skin care products, the cosmetic industry must take into account the interaction between the genome, the microbiome (the set of microorganisms that live on or in the skin or gastrointestinal tract) and extrinsic or environmental factors, in order to avoid adverse effects.

It is for this reason that, both in food (as we will discuss later) and in cosmetics, we must pay close attention to the components and choose, as far as possible, products with 100% natural and non-toxic ingredients.

 Cosmetogenomics: the new era of cosmetics

Vitamin D and genetics

Vitamin D is a key nutrient for our bone health, as it is responsible for the regulation of calcium and phosphate levels. Vitamin D status has also been shown to be related to several dermatological disorders such as atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, vitiligo and mycosis fungoides, among others.

This vitamin is synthesised and activated by ultraviolet radiation from the sun and, to a lesser extent, can be ingested through food or dietary supplementation.

A number of genes are responsible for its activation and transport. Variations in these genes, specifically in GC, BDP or KRTAP5-7, can lead to a deficiency in vitamin D activity and transport. As a result, the individual will have lower vitamin D levels than recommended, which will be detrimental to the individual.

It should be noted that prolonged exposure to the sun, especially during the months when UV rays are strongest, can negatively affect our skin and especially our DNA, as prolonged exposure can cause damage at the nucleotide level and hinder DNA repair.


The star factor in our beauty, internally and externally. In recent years, the consumption of local, natural and unprocessed products has been reconsidered. This is happening due to the drastic increase in cardiovascular diseases, development of cancers and other general health problems.

The human genome is sensitive to the nutritional environment, so that some genes can be modified in response to dietary components. Ingested foods contain a large number of biologically active substances, which can be beneficial but also detrimental to health. In this sense, several studies confirm a certain association between the diet ingested and the development of certain diseases. From tellmeGen we offer information and nutritional support thanks to the nutrigenetic report so that, through the results of your DNA test, you can know what diet to follow depending on how you metabolise macronutrients, the medication you take and your genetic predisposition to diseases.

Sleeping hours and genetics

This is another factor that impacts on our beauty and mental and physical activity.

Continued sleep disturbances have been associated with the development of an increased risk of cognitive and cardiometabolic disorders. It is true that environmental factors influence sleep duration and intensity, but genetics has been shown to play a key role, as more than 52 genetic variants linked to sleep duration have been identified, including the PAX8 gene.

Physical exercise

Regular physical exercise is one of the habits that has the most noticeable impact on an individual’s health and fitness.

Physical exercise not only affects the external appearance of the person, but also has several biological benefits. Several studies have concluded that constant physical exercise increases the effectiveness of the immune system, improves glucose metabolism and favours the release of hormones related to pleasure, calm and happiness, among many others.

Another aspect involved in the relationship between physical exercise and our well-being is muscle endurance. The composition of our muscle fibres is largely determined by genetics, so depending on the type of muscle cells we have, we will be more likely to excel in endurance or strength activities.

And you, what type of physical exercise do you do best, and does it match what your genes say? Find out with the tellmeGen DNA test and you will be able to enhance your physical abilities.

Tobacco consumption

Tobacco is one of the causes of the deterioration of the skin as well as our general health. Nicotine consumption is related to cardiovascular diseases, dermatological diseases, chronic bronchitis and numerous neoplastic processes. On an aesthetic level, smoking causes yellow pigmentation of the fingers and nails, alteration of the normal colour of the teeth, diminished taste and smell and early development of facial wrinkles.

Nicotine is a substance that stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system. This molecule binds to receptors responsible for releasing dopamine, serotonin, endorphins and other hormones also linked to happiness, pleasure and relaxation.

When we talk about nicotine tolerance, we mean that the greater the exposure to nicotine, the greater the number of nicotinic receptors, so we need to consume more nicotine to achieve the same effects. In this sense, nicotine dependence has been linked to 6 genetic variants that could play a key role, also included in our DNA test.

In addition to deteriorating the quality of our skin and teeth, did you know that smoking is the leading cause of preventable death worldwide?

Alcohol consumption and genetics

There is scientific evidence that alcohol consumption worsens our skin and the proper functioning of our body. For example, high alcohol intake can lead to hormonal imbalances, premature skin ageing, infections or dehydration.

Related to this, the ALDH2 gene has been shown to play a role in a metabolic disorder known as the flush reaction, which involves a decreased ability to metabolise alcohol. The defect in the metabolism process causes a drastic release of histamine, which is responsible for causing redness and increased skin temperature, hives or congestion. You can find out how likely you are to have this reaction with the tellmeGen DNA test.

In short, if we know all this genetic information, we will be able to choose the most suitable cosmetic products and acquire habits that enhance our features and health. In this way, we will reduce or avoid the risk of suffering from any related disease.

Would you like to go beyond what you know about yourself to help your body function more effectively? Just do it by purchasing the tellmeGen DNA kit.


Carlos Manuel Cuesta

Graduate in Biology. PhD in Biotechnology

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