How To Get The Best Skin Of Your Life

marie claire editor Nicky Briger visits Rationale to discover her genetic code and get the skin of her dreams

Not long ago, science believed that when it came to our skin, we were stuck with the genes our parents had passed down to us. If mum had freckles, or dad was prone to redness, it was assumed it would be your skin lot too. But new research and a crop of can-do formulations is proving otherwise. “We thought our genetic blueprint was inevitable and unchangeable; that what you were born with is what you will become,” says Richard Parker, founder and formulator for Rationale. “Now we know better.”

If you think a skincare routine that’s capable of not only protecting our skin but identifying its inherited weaknesses and fixing those issues seems far-fetched, think again. It’s already here.

Known as epigenetics, Australian skincare company Rationale, which celebrates 25 years this year, is at the forefront of this new era of skin science. Rather than just guessing at what skin might need by examining its appearance and texture, Parker has gone one step further with genetic mapping. Called DNArray, Rationale offers its clients an in-depth skin DNA test. Derived from a simple — and painless — cheek swab, this test “shows strengths and weaknesses in skin firmness, solar resilience, free radical protection, allergy and sensitivity,” says Parker.

The test flags issues such as glycation (where excess glucose molecules link to collagen and elastin fibres causing skin laxity and thinness), skin oxidation (from pollution, smoking and even the blue light from our smart phones) and chronic inflammation due to skin allergies or sensitivities. 

The thinking at Rationale is anything but skin deep (which is possibly why the brand has a discrete list of celebrity clients that reads like a night at the Oscars). Being clever enough to mend the damage is one (very good) skin benefit, but thanks to crucial, skin-mimicking ingredients that get down deep to where they’re needed, Rationale’s well-edited collection of creams and serums are able to work at DNA level so skin not only looks better but acts differently.

“We cannot change our [structural] genetic makeup,” says Parker. “What we can influence is how your skin and facial tissues age.”

New research has discovered that our genetic code comes with a series of biochemical on-off switches that determine how genes “express” themselves. Known as epigenetics, it refers to changes to our DNA that can’t be explained by our inherited genes. This could be anything from wrinkles to pigmentation, or even skin cancer. And it’s mostly governed by our lifestyle. 

“What we do throughout life, our behaviours and habits, are proving to be the most important determinants of gene expression,” says Parker.

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 It’s enlightening stuff and it means that, with positive lifestyle choices (think daily SPF, moderate exercise, a healthy diet and less stress), it’s no longer science fiction to believe that skincare formulations can help circumnavigate our genetic code to create the skin we’ve always wanted, rather than the skin we were handed by our genetics.

“The cheek-swap test was so quick, easy and non-invasive, yet the findings are incredibly detailed,” says Briger.

“But best of all, the results mean you can tailor your skincare regime accordingly by targeting certain problem areas or sensitivities. And Rationale has specific products that can deal with every genetic marker.  

“In short, I can now decide my skin’s destiny, and that’s a powerful thing.”

Discover the world of Rationale with marie claire’s Nicky Briger in the video above.

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