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The Role of Science in Beauty
By: Liz Grubow and Elle Morris
Posted: May 23, 2012
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Specifically, recent discoveries have emerged from medical research with enormous potential applications for anti-aging and beauty products and procedures. In 2009, Elizabeth Blackburn, Carol Greider and Jack Szostak were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in Physiology for the discovery of telomeres—regions at the end of a chromosome that protect its structural integrity but shorten each time a chromosome replicates. Scientists have isolated the enzyme that controls the process of replacing lost DNA, sparking further research into the ability to harness and manipulate this enzyme to influence cancer therapy and the aging process. As a result, telomeres present a potential marketing boon for anti-aging pills and treatments that claim they can now stave off, and even reverse, the lines and wrinkles that come with aging.
The catch: The concept of telomeres is fairly complex, and telomeres themselves are rather unattractive. The solution: the visualization of science. In literature touting the promise telomeres have in beauty products, the DNA double helix is the symbol that communicates that an anti-aging treatment addresses the root cause—the genetic level—of the manifestations of aging. Thus, consumers with only a very basic level of understanding about genetics are able to neatly associate the idea of anti-aging with the double helix, as well as more intuitively understand how the DNA double helix directly relates to anti-aging beauty products.
No matter how sweetly The Temptations croon, beauty is anything but skin deep. Advances in science and technology are beginning to shift away from the notion that innovation occurs outside the body, that true science and discovery only occurs in labs, and, consequently, that the most valuable beauty solutions come off of a manufacturing line. Indeed, the next great innovation platform will likely be the human body itself.
In the future, there will be a concentrated focus on harnessing the body’s natural and intrinsic agents, like manipulating DNA sequences or removing specific genes altogether. We will begin to define beauty as the manifestation of overall wellness and seek to prevent and treat our imperfections at the subcellular level, instead of topically or surgically.
Science and beauty are irreversibly and inextricably linked to the point that consumers not only desire the science behind the product, they demand it. Effective communication with beauty consumers will hinge on the ability to optimize and visualize the science of nutrition, hydration and sleep, and their effects on outward beauty. Advances in these areas will undoubtedly overtake headlines, seep into the zeitgeist and eventually slip onto beauty packaging—bringing the relationship between science and beauty to its fullest realization.