FAQ – Skincare
Q. What exactly is the Skincare DNA test?
A. The DnaNudge Skincare genetic test analyses genes associated with skin health, such as genes which influence your skin's pigmentation, susceptibility to irritation and ageing. Understanding your genetic report will help you make more informed product choices when it comes to your skin health. Our algorithm will consider the results from your genetic report to make product recommendations for you.
Q. How are genes related to skin health?
A. Genes help explain why certain conditions run in families. Genes affect our chances of developing several common skin health problems such as eczema, premature aging, and even skin cancer. Genes alone however do not cause these conditions. Many other factors, such as how we take care of our skin, how regularly we exercise, the environment we live in, how well we sleep, our level of stress, and our age or gender also influence our chances of developing these conditions. You can inherit ‘healthy genes but develop poor health through an unhealthy lifestyle, or you can inherit susceptibility to a chronic condition but reduce your chances of developing it by leading a healthy lifestyle. Being knowledgeable about your genes lets you take control by making pro-active lifestyle changes by selecting products which target your genetic vulnerabilities and lead you to a healthier lifestyle.
Our tests look for SNPs that are strongly linked to certain skin health concerns. Our technology extracts this information from your DNA to help you prevent or delay these concerns, by adjusting certain lifestyle factors such as diet, physical activity, and personal care recommendations.
Q. What does the DnaNudge Skincare test cover?
A. Our Skincare Test looks at your genetic predisposition for skin related health conditions and relates those predispositions to properties of ingredients in cosmetic products. Our DnaNudge Skincare test assesses your susceptibility to skin pigmentation, ageing and irritation.
Q. How large is your Skincare database?
A. Our Skincare database has over 30,000 products and is updated regularly so the number of products is growing all the time.
Q. Is DnaNudge a skin consultation service?
A. DnaNudge is not a skin consultation service. We provide product recommendations based on individual product formulations and their ability to target your skin concerns outlined in your genetic report. Building your skin care routine is all up to you. With so many new products always launching in the market, we simply aim to improve your shopping decisions by nudging you to select suitable products tailored to you based on your DNA.
Q. Where can I use my DnaBean and DnaNudge App?
A. You can scan products in retailer stores such as Boots, Superdrug, and John Lewis. Our UK-based skincare database currently contains over 30,000 products; however, you will be unable to scan products local to other countries outside the UK. But we are working every day to expand the number of products available to scan in the UK and Worldwide.
Q. Which genes do you analyse for the Skincare Package?
A. Our Skin DNA test panel identifies several SNPs within genes that are associated with the skin ageing, skin irritation and its ability to defend itself from free radicals caused by exposure to environmental stressors. Some companies test for more than this, but we aim for quality not quantity. More does not mean better, we only include genes that have high quality evidence behind them.
Q. My Skincare DNA Report does not seem to reflect my actual skin; is this correct?
A. DnaNudge is a not a diagnostic tool or medical device. We have assessed areas in your genes which research suggests may lead to ageing. There are several factors, including various lifestyle and environmental factors that influence skin ageing. Protecting your skin with a moisturiser followed by a sunblock, as well as controlling sun exposure and exposure to pollutants (i.e. smoking), is the best way to provide the best protection to your skin regardless of your genetic pre-disposition.
Over time these pre-dispositions are likely to take a toll on the skin. Your skin at 20 won’t be the same as your skin at 40 and early prevention is key. This way, the skin can stay healthiest, and the visible signs of ageing can be slowed down.
Q. My skincare DNA Report is all red; does that mean I will develop a particular skin condition?
A. Not at all. Our DNA test simply looks at SNPs that are related to skin ageing. Lifestyle factors such as the amount of sun exposure, whether you smoke or live in a polluted environment, what you eat, your sleep patterns and how you choose to exercise, interact with other factors, such as your age and your genes, to influence your health. Simply put, your DNA is part of a whole collection of interacting factors that make you who you are and determine your risk of developing diseases.
Q. My skincare DNA report is all green; does that mean I do not need to worry about my skin?
A. Green tiles are not an indication that you should not be concerned with taking care of your skin. Even if all tiles within your DNA Report are all green, you will still find products that scan red for you. You are still ageing, just at a slower rate, and as you’re still exposed to environmental factors such as free radicals it’s best to stay vigilant. When you scan an item, our algorithm will nudge you to make skincare choices based on your genetics even if you have great genes. Protecting your skin with suitable skin care products will always have a beneficial impact on its overall health. Even people with the best genes will never be 100% protected from skin damage. The DnaNudge app gives you a point-of-decision prompt as to whether the item is suited to your DNA or if there are better alternatives for you.
Q. If I am at a low risk for developing fine lines and deep wrinkles, does this mean I do not need to use anti-ageing products?
A. Not necessarily. If your risk of developing wrinkles and fine lines is low, it does not mean you should refrain from scanning products with anti-ageing claims. Ageing is a natural process that will affect everyone, some sooner than later. Environmental factors can also speed up the natural ageing process. The earlier you protect your skin, the better. A low risk does not mean you have no risk of developing wrinkles; therefore, we recommended to our customers to protect their skin with anti-ageing products. DnaNudge will always nudge you towards choosing skincare products which will provide you the most protection following the genetic concerns laid out in your genetic report.
Q. Why is my risk for developing deep wrinkles red but my risk for fine lines orange, are they not the same?
A. We have analysed SNPs that affect skin ageing and despite environmental factors such as UV and exposure to pollution affecting both fine lines and deep wrinkles, we found that certain genes involved with the development of fine lines and skin wrinkles differ.
Deep wrinkles are directly associated with specific genes which relate to the skin metabolism such as your skin’s ability to produce collagen, elastin, and antioxidants. Fine lines are also linked to the skin’s ability to protect itself, yet skin hydration seems to be a more prominent factor influencing your risk to developing fine lines.
We have therefore linked specific genes to certain tiles, based on the direct impact these have to a specific skin concern. This means that your tiles for these skin concerns can vary as they are linked differently to the health conditions we assess.
Q. My Skin DNA Report states that I am at a high risk for developing photoaged skin, but my skin tone is dark. Why is that?
A. It is true that melanin, the natural pigment in the skin, provides a certain degree of protection against the effects of photoaging. A darker skin type will naturally have more melanin content, providing increased protection compared to a lighter skin type. This does not necessarily mean darker skin types will be automatically considered to be low risk group in developing photoaged skin or even avoiding skin cancer.
Recent studies suggest that there are other factors besides melanin quantity that affect an individual’s susceptibility to developing skin cancer, one of those being DNA repair. Currently there is no conclusive data confirming the role of melanin protecting darker skin tones from skin-related damages associated to UV radiation. At DnaNudge, we suggest following NHS guidelines and recommend everyone to use a sunscreen, regardless of your skin type or risk to developing photoaged skin.
Q. Can I change my DNA and therefore my DNA Report?
A. Your genetics and therefore your DNA Report are fixed, as your DNA is unique to you and does not change throughout your life. Your risk of the different skin related health conditions across your report will remain the same (i.e. if you have a high risk for loss of hydration, this will remain the same). However, by making small changes to your skincare choices and product purchases, this can make a meaningful difference to your health and overall risk of developing skin related health concerns over time. You can take control of your genetic predispositions.
Q. How are my product recommendations generated?
A. Our team of cosmetic scientists worked along with geneticists, dermatologists, and deep-learning software engineers to create an algorithm that uses your DNA to create custom product recommendations. The algorithm takes into consideration your genes, the type of product you are scanning, and the functional ingredients of skincare products. Based on these factors the products are then either recommended for you or not, and alternative product recommendations are generated using our simple colour-based thumbs up, thumbs down system.
Q. Can the DnaNudge app tell me why products are not recommended for me?
A. Yes, when viewing a skincare product, click on the 'product details' section. There will be one or more red thumbs down displayed next to the components of the product. For skincare products, the red thumbs down indicate that there is not enough of those type of ingredients in the product for you, based on your genetic report results for skin health.
Q. Will my skincare recommendations be compatible with my skin type?
A. The DnaNudge App and DnaBean are not designed to treat medical skin conditions. Any healthy lifestyle changes you make as a result from using the DnaNudge service may lead to improved skin. For example, if you have dry skin, our algorithm will nudge you to picking skincare which alleviates this concern. However, product recommendations are based on ingredients in a single product and your genetic risk to ageing. If you are using multiple skincare products, we are unable to assess how these will interact with your skin. If you have any questions related to a specific product or have had a bad experience, we advise you to contact the brands directly.
Q. My favourite skincare product is not being recommended to me; should I stop using this?
A. We will always nudge you to use products based on the genetic risks outlined in your genetic report & the ingredients in the formulation. This does not mean the current product you are using is harming your skin, it simply means there may be a better formula out there to suit your genetic concerns. Our service is for information purposes only, but at the end of the day it’s your choice whether to implement the advice.
Q. Why have some of my product recommendations turned amber?
A. For skincare, if you exceed your daily goal for inactivity, some of the products that don’t contain enough anti-ageing ingredients will turn amber. This is a nudge to keep moving as a sedentary lifestyle has been strongly associated with poor health and ageing. You can click on the amber part of your Green DNA Bar to see the number of steps required to return your products to green. Besides your steps, our algorithm measures prolonged sitting, which is its own independent factor for poor health.
Q. Are my skincare recommendations affected by inactivity?
A. For the Skincare package, your product recommendations are influenced by your activity levels. Being sedentary for too long will make some products go amber as the App will start encouraging products with increased anti-ageing ingredients for you. There is a strong link between sitting for extended periods of time and ageing according to the NHS, so this is a nudge to keep moving or pre-emptively deal with the effects.
Q. What is the ‘Ingredients I usually avoid’ function?
A. You can select ingredients that you do not wish your product to have, for example, alcohol, parabens, or even fragrance. When you scan a product which contains an ingredient you have selected as one you wish to avoid, you will be notified should the product contain one or more of the ingredients you would usually avoid. This list can be found as part of the initial DnaBean setup, and can also be found in the ‘More’ tab within the App. When you add a new ingredient to this list, you must sync your DnaBean to your DnaNudge App to load it with the most up to date information.
We do not recommend individuals suffering from allergies to rely on this feature, given that we cannot guarantee that the product information we receive from manufacturers and other third-party product datasets is accurate.
We recommend that you always check the product label or contact the manufacture directly, to ensure a product is suitable for you. If you do find any discrepancies, please let us know via the 'Email Support' function within the 'More' section in your App. We recommend that you always check product labels and ingredients to ensure they are suitable for you.
Q. Do my product recommendations change if I am pregnant or have a skin condition?
A. No. There are certain ingredients you should avoid when you are pregnant (i.e. vitamin A). In the settings of your DnaNudge App. we give you the option in the “Ingredients I usually avoid” section, where you can select ingredients which you wish to avoid during your shop. At the moment, our current recommendations only consider your genetics. If you are pregnant or are suffering from a particular dermatological skin condition, we advise you to always consult with your local GP, and contact the brand directly, before following any of our product recommendations.
Q. What are the alternative product recommendations and product details information?
A. When you view a product in the DnaNudge App, you find more details about the ingredients in the formulation and alternative recommendations for that specific product. In the ‘Alternatives’ tab, a list of alternative recommendations for similar products within the same skincare category will be displayed. In the 'Product Details’ tab, you can see a breakdown of the functional ingredients in the product formula and whether these meet your skin concerns outlined in your genetic report.
This list will be based off the ingredients found on the INCI list of the product, which include anti-ageing agents, antioxidants, moisturisers, skin brighteners, soothing agents, and sun defence. Next to each component, there will be a green thumbs-up or a red thumbs-down. If a product has enough of that functional ingredient to meet your skin concerns, a thumbs-up will be displayed next to it. Alternatively, if there are other products with better functional ingredients to cover for a particular skin concern, a thumbs-down will be displayed next to the ingredient function.
Q. Why have I been recommended a product with fragrance when I have selected this as an ingredient I want to avoid?
A. Allergens are the components in fragrances that may cause allergies. As such, we only label ingredients as fragrances if these have any restricted allergens listed by the EU Commission for cosmetic products.
If you have selected fragrance as an ingredient you want to avoid, but have been recommended a product with fragrance, this may either be because the fragrance ingredient has an allergen that is not restricted by the EU, or because the ingredient labelling is unclear and does not disclose the allergens present in the product.
We cannot guarantee that the product information we receive from manufacturers and other third-party product datasets is accurate. We recommend that you always check the product label or contact the manufacture directly, to ensure a product is suitable for you. If you do find any discrepancies, please let us know via the 'Email Support' function within the 'More' section in your App. We recommend that you always check product labels and ingredients to ensure they are suitable for you.