How our skin ages and resists damage is largely determined by its melanin (pigment) content, which varies according to skin type and is controlled through genetic single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). Research by scientists at Hexis Lab, based in Newcastle, UK, explores the SNPs behind changes to pigmentation, as well as elasticity and hydration as our skin ages. Their insights offer the potential for highly personalised approaches to preventative measures and cosmetic products appropriate to all skin types.

Everyone’s skin is different, but the range of cosmetics and skin treatments available today falls far short of providing suitable products for everyone. New products aren’t consistently designed and tested for different skin types – mostly because it’s time-consuming and expensive to do so.

Scientists at Hexis Lab, UK, believe the answer lies in our genes. Dr Olusola Idowu and Dr Ewa Markiewicz have examined the complex biology of four different skin types, revealing the molecular and clinical effects of environmental stresses that cause changes in the pigmentation, elasticity, and moisture of our skin as we age – factors that are strongly dependent on skin type. Importantly, they translate this knowledge to suggest approaches to individualised skincare that could catalyse the development of affordable, personalised products.