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Korean cosmetics firm to use genetic testing to customize skincare

By Kim Kyoung-ae & Kim Tae-gyu, UPI News Korea
Dubbed My Skin Solution, Amorepacific's service will be provided in conjunction with LabGenomics, a Korean healthcare company specializing in molecular diagnostics. Photo courtesy of Amorepacific
Dubbed My Skin Solution, Amorepacific's service will be provided in conjunction with LabGenomics, a Korean healthcare company specializing in molecular diagnostics. Photo courtesy of Amorepacific

SEOUL, June 27 (UPI) -- South Korea's leading cosmetics maker, Amorepacific, said it will offer beauty consulting and products based on direct-from-consumer genetic testing.

Dubbed My Skin Solution, the service will be provided in conjunction with LabGenomics, a Korean healthcare company specializing in molecular diagnostics.

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Customers 19 and older can obtain the customized skincare service by purchasing from its website a gene test kit costing around $77.

Once the kit arrives, the customer swabs the inside of their cheek and put the resulting gene sample inside a tube to send to LabGenomics.

The turnaround for the test is expected to be about a week, during which LabGemomics will study the 11 genes related to skin aging, pigmentary deposit, and acne, as well as 58 other genetic characteristics like obesity and diet, the company said.

"The test will allow the customers to learn what condition their skin is in at the moment, as well as its genetic features -- all the information necessary for tailored skin management," an Amorepacific official told UPI News Korea.

"They will be invited to visit our dedicated office in central Seoul, where we can offer them detailed analysis, along with skin-management guides based on the genetic information we gleaned," he said.

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Amorepacific has no plans to offer the service outside the country yet, due to regulations restricting at-home gene testing in many foreign countries.

South Korea ranks among the Top 10 cosmetics markets in the world, with annual sales at $15.71 billion in 2021, according to Expert Market Research.

The market is expected to grow by more than 5% annually to $21.54 billion by 2027.

Although AmorePacific has always been the dominant player in Korea, its sales and profit had decreased recently, its bottom line halving to $114 million in 2022 from the previous year due primarily to lackluster performance in China.

To counter the slide, the company has been aggressively expanding in other markets, including the United States, and adopting new technologies that could help enhance its push.

AmorePacific is not the first Korean company to incorporate direct-to-customer gene testing, which was enabled after the revision of laws in 2021.

A new law allows government-certified entities to engage in direct-to-customer gene testing.

South Korea's largest mobile carrier, SK Telecom agreed to a partnership for genome analysis business with the genetic testing company Macrogen in 2021.

Lotte Healthcare formed a similar partnership, joining forces last year with Theragen Bio to tap into the genetics-testing business.

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Detractors worry that the private gene-testing can lead to unexpected consequences.

"Direct-to-customer genetic testing encompasses everyone. I'm not sure the government has done sufficient review of its effects on the whole population," Hanyang University Professor Shin Young-jeon said in a phone interview.

"There are concerns that companies are using the technology commercially and taking advantage of it without a full understanding."

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