US-based skincare start-up EpigenCare has announced plans to bring epigenetics testing into mass consumer adoption through technologies such as big data, bioinformatics, and machine learning.

The firm plans to procure consumer data through EpigenCare’s upcoming personalised skincare test and high-throughput sequencing in its lab.

This move is expected to provide the company with insights into epigenetic correlators and data points, which will subsequently speed up epigenetic research.

Skincare personalisation is currently based on consultation and genetic testing. However, without scientific-based tests to analyse skin properties, consultation-based solutions can work only on a superficial level and remains too generalised.

Genetic-based tests usually depend on a gene’s single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP). As SNPs are established at birth and cannot be altered, they cannot represent the dynamic changes in functional pathways, which will impact the quality of the skin.

“Such artificial intelligence, combined with photo imaging, would be truly useful for identifying skin quality states in a simplified manner.”

The personal skincare test developed by EpigenCare uses a methylation-specific next-generation sequencing technique, which analyses a panel of epigenetic markers correlated with skin quality indicators such as ageing, firmness and elasticity, moisture retention and pigmentation.

This skin profile captured through the test can then be used for selection of skincare products for an individual’s requirements through EpigenCare’s ingredient-based matching algorithm.

Given that epigenetics, and not genetics, determines the dynamic changes of skin quality, epigenetic-based skin profiling is being increasingly considered as the only viable solution for personalised skincare.

EpigenCare’s initial panel of epigenetic markers was validated in its lab with the help of EpiGentek, an epigenetic research service provider.

EpigenCare states that providing a value proposition to consumers through its skincare test will quickly enable it to gain data that can further be leveraged by artificial intelligence (AI).

AI could be used to refine epigenetic markers and authenticate the role of epigenetics against new data points.

EpigenCare’s chief scientific officer Dr Adam Li said: “Our ability to accumulate mass amounts of epigenetic skin data means that we are taking a step closer towards widespread consumer applications of epigenetics by using big data and algorithmic data processing.

“Big data of epigenetic information on the skin will provide actual scientific basis used for machine-learning. Such artificial intelligence, combined with photo imaging, would be truly useful for identifying skin quality states in a simplified manner.”

EpigenCare will use blockchain technology to protect consumers’ privacy as blockchain ledgers are tamperproof.