whitening product
The magic ingredient in Dior’s Diorsnow Essence Of Light Brightening Milk Serum is extracted from yogurt. Yum.

You Really Are What Surrounds You

By now, you should know – or even be bored of – the term “external aggressors” in skincare. What you might not know: that it’s actually a key part of a field of life sciences that’s become increasingly hot in the past decade. 

Called epigenetics, it basically looks at how genes are affected by and adapt to their environment. And according to Karl Pays, global research director at LVMH which owns Dior, research has shown that the likes of UV rays, pollution and lifestyle habits don’t just affect, but can weaken one’s DNA.What’s particularly significant: When skin is exposed to repeated aggression over an extended time, the physical structure of its DNA can weaken, triggering a lasting (read: permanent) epigenetic change in cells.

Skin’s  Natural Defence Move Is To Darken

Skin can react in different ways to external aggressors, but the first sign of change shows up literally. Says Pays: “Anytime you have any aggressions to the skin, the first reaction of your skin is to become darker… Melanin synthesis is very sensitive to aggression.”

What does this mean to the legions of women courting complexions fair enough to rival that of a K-pop star? The melanocytes located in the bottom layer of the epidermis will produce more melanin pigments when skin comes into contact with environmental stressors such as UV rays and humidity. 

Factor in how frequent exposure to external aggressors can weaken one’s DNA structure (see previous point), and things get more troubling. There could be a point when melanocytes produce more melanin pigments even without being aggravated.

Yogurt Helps Brighten Skin … Sorta 

In stores now, Dior’s Diorsnow Essence Of Light Brightening Milk Serum ($170) contains the brand’s signature brightening ingredient edelweiss extract, as well as a new active ingredient: a natural yeast extract made from yogurt. The latter is also said to protect skin cells from undergoing epigenetic changes. 

Infused into the watery serum that can be used day and/or night as part of one’s routine, it supposedly builds cellular resistance to repeated external aggression, and guards cells from attacks. Stronger skin cells = reduced risk of melanocytes becoming overly activated (and skin turning darker and duller even when you’re not in the sun).

whitening product
Diorsnow Essence Of Light Brightening Milk Serum

Look As Fair As The Day You Were Born

If harmful environmental factors can cause (unwanted) changes to skin’s DNA, isn’t it impossible to maintain one’s original skin tone? Not if one is able to protect against epigenetic changes at the DNA level. 

That’s what Dior’s new Brightening Milk Serum claims to do – in fact, it promises to brighten one’s complexion by up to three tones in two months. Use it continually and your native skin colour – the genetically determined tone untouched by UV rays (cue the fairest part of your body that’s almost always protected from the elements; nudists NA) – is said to return.

Main image: showbit.com

This story first appeared in Female’s February 2018 issue. 

Like this? Check out the upcoming Sephora spring 2018 launches to take note of, the concealers that hide all your flaws while looking natural and Diptyque’s limited edition rose collection