The genomics revolution has already begun to transform the pharmaceutical industry, and it is now making its mark on the cosmetic industry as well. At the heart of this revolution is the ability to generate and assemble massive amounts of DNA sequence information. We are now able to identify key genes in biological processes such as skin aging through a method called gene expression profiling. Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) represent the genetic basis for inter-individual differences in disease susceptibility, including aging. The identification and mapping of these SNPs is an area of active biotechnologic research.
As a result of these advances, two promising applications of the genomics revolution are beginning to develop: (i) the use of an individual’s DNA sequence information as the basis for the development of improved clinical study design and preventative and diagnostic strategies and (ii) the use of DNA sequence information to develop personalized medicines and products. There are several factors that will influence when and how the DNA sequencing will be applied to the development of cosmetic products (18). These include the progression of the science, consumers’ willingness to use their DNA sequence for product choices, and market considerations. Ideally, this genetic technology will allow cosmetic companies to identify specific skin qualities—such as texture, pigmentation, hydration, and wrinkles—and alter products to meet individual skin needs.