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Could Biohacking Be The Future Face Of Skincare?

We talk to skin health specialist and biohacking devotee Jasmina Vico.

POSTEDBYELLIE BAKER

An ode to skincare is welcomed coherently by, Croatian-born, London-based skin health specialist Jasmina Vico. Skin is the index for the on-goings inside the body and vice versa; when treating someone, Vico looks at gut health, sleep deprivation, stress levels, micronutrient intake, and diets, which she amalgamates with her bespoke laser treatments, needling, LED facials, and gentle acid peels. “There are no quick fixes-only continuous care-and the investment should be long term,” she says. It’s a process that has gained her an impressive following, including make-up artist Isamaya Ffrench, actors Killing Eve’s Jodie Comer and The Crown’s Claire Foy, and model Shanina Shaik.

Paying homage to prevention and admiration to biohacking, Vico imagines a future in which we will be able to hack our own bodies with the help of science and advanced technologies in order to prolong our lifespan - tracking our sleep patterns, keeping tabs on our gut health and even printing our own skin.

Here, she shares her predictions for the future of skincare, confutes some of the myths and misconceptions within the industry, and contours the best ways to protect your skin.

What are the most common skincare misconceptions?

"Over-using products that are not suitable for your skin type or condition is something I'm correcting and educating my clients about daily. More importantly, spending your hard-earned money on skincare can be a folly if you are not protecting your skin everyday from the sun and HEV blue light. Protection is key. There is a misunderstanding that the skin is a surface."

What is it you think certain areas of the skincare industry has got wrong?

“‘Follow the science’ is a phrase we’ve all heard a lot of recently, but when it comes to skincare you can’t hear it enough. Many products and procedures promise results that the science — if it exists at all — does not back up. I also think there has been a lack of industry-led focus on education around the impact that lifestyle choices have on our skin.”

When it comes to anti-ageing and skin health, what factors should we take into account?

“My own skincare approach is focused on prevention — inside and outside. I’m interested in gut health, micronutrient intake, overall diet, regular sleep patterns, and stress levels. Staying out of the sun is obviously the big one. Reducing inflammation is my mission. Inflammation ages the skin, weakening its structure, and degrading the collagen and elastin. Our diet — sugar being the worst offender — our stress levels and our environment [chemicals/pollution] all profoundly impact and exacerbate inflammation.

“Many of us are living at such speed and all of us experience stress. It’s necessary to unplug. The Japanese practice shinrin-yoku which translates as ‘forest bathing’: a walk in the forest, phone-free, using your senses — we could all take a leaf out of that book. A walk in nature, meditation, breathwork, slowing down and being present: these practises have skin benefits too.”

Flawless skin is a widely upheld beauty ideal, do you worry about reinforcing this idea?

“Flawlessness is an unrealistic goal. That doesn’t mean we can’t dramatically improve our skin and make it be the best version of itself. I am a problem solver and one of the things I do is identify issues — even when they aren’t visible — and find solutions.”

Technical advancements are happening all the time, where do you see the future of skincare heading?

“I think the future will focus more on prevention than it has done and at a cellular level. We’ll be tracking our sleep patterns and ‘sleep depth’ with monitors on our beds and using grounding mats to help reduce inflammation. We’ll use our own personal 3D skin printers to deposit sheets of skin, which sounds wild but a handheld printer has already been developed to deposit bio-ink on large burns to help with wound recovery.

“Skin bio-printing will use self-assembling peptides and amino acids that create almost a scaffolding-like structure that grows within the skin. There are going to be more devices and bio-electrics, bio-tech and nanorobots to track our sleep — because sleep is one of the most important things for skin.”

Where does your interest in biohacking come from?

“I am naturally a curious person — I want to know how the body works, to understand how we age, increasing our life-span. I have always been interested in science and developments in technology. Self-tracking our health will help us understand how our body works and responds to internal and external factors, which will be different for each of us and will be the key to understanding what triggers inflammation in us.

“Transhumanism is already with us whether we’re ready for it or not – or even want it. We are already cyborgs in a way — I’m certainly smarter just by having my phone next to me.”

What are you most excited about in terms of developments in biohacking?

“I think it will offer us some control and autonomy over our own health as we’ll have greater access to information — but also through our own experimentation. But just as I’m interested in the impact on individuals, I’m interested in societal patterns and greater understanding. We are all connected, physically, cognitively, mentally and socially.

”I’m also fascinated by the developments in [the study of] sleep and the effects it has on our overall health — not just for the skin. I have been using my Oura ring for about two years to track my sleep. It’s essential for mental and physical health to have proper, restful sleep. The developments in grounding mats are helping us reduce inflammation and promoting a good night’s sleep.”

What will the future of ageing look like?

“Socio-economics will play a big part. We understand so much more about ageing because of the research invested into science and biotech. It’s going to be about tracking your health. Skincare brands that manage to customise and tailor-make products for the individual with bio-tech will do well. But only if they are transparent and don’t make misleading claims.

“We will also be looking more into the pillars of health, which has been my approach for many years, to ensure they are working in synergy and functioning at their optimum. Self-discipline will play a big part in this.”

What is the future of beauty?

“I’d like to think it is about being unique, and happy in your own skin. When I’m with my clients, I want to release their essence, their innocence — which is associated with youthfulness and happiness.

“Having things we’d like to improve on is one thing but acceptance is also important: bottled youth doesn’t exist… Yet. But who knows in the future with bioprinting, 3D matrix skin, AI, etc.

“I am fortunate enough that I have a twin I can compare myself to. In the future we will all have a digital twin that we look at each day in the mirror, on our phone, or as a hologram. The twin will be your double and will help you track your health. For example, it will allow you to see your UVC [ultraviolet] face, your gut face, your hangover face. It will also allow you to see your biological age and therefore help you to experiment and find preventative solutions.”

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