I got it from my momma

The latest healthcare trend can tell you all of your skincare, nutrition and even personality needs. All you need is a little bit of spit.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

The latest healthcare trend can tell you all of your skincare, nutrition and even personality needs. All you need is a little bit of spit. 

My Reading Room

When it comes to genetics, most of us don’t really go beyond the few things we know we probably got from our parents. For some, it’s their height, maybe for others, their temper. But with technology these days, it’s become so much easier to read more deeply into what your genes have in store for you.

When Angelina Jolie decided to have a double mastectomy, it was because she ran a high risk of developing breast cancer. Both her maternal mother and grandmother had died of the disease and science predicted it would likely happen to her as well. While her reaction might seem extreme, and not necessarily for everyone, the process she went through to research this is called nutrigenomics.

Nutrigenomics involves the study of your genes to determine your health. While it usually is focused on disease and possible prevention, Imagene Labs, a Singapore-based start-up, is using the technology for more lifestyle-focused benefits. “[Some of our customers] have not attained desired results from their diet, fitness and skincare routines, so we help them pinpoint the regimes and ingredients that actually work for them.” says Har Jia Yi, vice president and general manager of the company. “Others use our tests to get a general overview of their well-being before embarking on more specific health screenings prescribed by doctors. Many others are wellness aficionados who are actively seeking smarter and effective ways to stay healthy, and they’re drawn to the preemptive approach our type of genetic tests offer.”

Knowing your genetic predisposition for, say, skin dryness, or sensitivity to sun exposure, can help to improve your skincare regime. Imagene Labs also uses your results to create a customised supplement and serum that specifically targets your skin and health issues.

As such a test can tell you so much more than a simple fitness or skin consultation, the CLEO team put the test to, well, the test to see if we’d learn anything new about ourselves. Editorin-Chief Claire, Senior Digital Writer Hidayah and Associate Editor Karen spat into test tubes (a lot of spit was needed for this test, just FYI) and sent them in. Here are their sometimes surprising results:


How easy you get a tan and your skin’s sensitivity to sun exposure are traits that are largely inherited. This test shows how sensitive your skin is to the harmful effects of UV rays. Those with a high result are more likely to have sensitive skin.

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