For me, education is empowering. I have spent most of my life involved in some sort of college or other educational program. I guess I’m one of those forever-students who never feels like I’ve had enough learning. Earlier this year I started a new nutrition training program that has completely changed the way I look at nutrition, disease, and health. I’m enrolled in a course on nutritional genomics with the Nutritional Genomics Institute. The program covers nutrigenomics, which explores the effects of nutrients on an individual’s cells, and nutrigenetics which explains the effect of genetic variation on the interaction between diet and disease.

In simple terms, nutrigenetics deals with disease risk prediction and nutrigenomics is the measurable effect of diet and environmental exposures on gene expression. I must confess, this is one of the more challenging things I have ever done—requiring me to remember all of those bio-chemical pathways I learned back in undergraduate studies (and frankly mostly forgot). Sometimes I need listen to a lecture three times before it all clicks, but the most amazing thing has happened—it has clicked!

I now look at each person I work with on nutritional issues in a totally different way. I am able to offer uniquely personalized nutritional interventions based upon a compilation of gene data, diet and lifestyle choices. This type of detailed information and knowledge of potential outcome is empowering and, in my experience, moves people much faster to take action on improving their diets.

This is very new science and I can’t help but wonder how we might apply this in-depth knowledge of our genome to the beauty industry. Is our skincare future one where we look at your genes and prescribe a personalized serum designed to support and enhance YOUR exact skin needs? My guess is yes, that is exactly where the beauty biz will go, and I’m excited to watch it unfold and find ways to help support our skincare customers in such a personalized and effective manner. Stay tuned, and in the meantime, remember that the most important thing you can do for your skin is feed it well by eating a variety of organic plant foods!

Click here to read Ginger Hodulik Downey’s book The Esthetician’s Guide to Outstanding Esthetics.

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