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Brave New World: How CVS Taps DNA Testing in Beauty

DNA test kits can help consumers tailor a skin-care regimen to their needs.

CVS Pharmacy is tapping science to help its customers feel and look better. Taking a deep dive into its “sick care to self care,” strategy CVS is stocking four new diagnostic tests. Could test kits be the next big thing in mass-market skin care? Many industry experts think so and expect to see a flood of new contenders enter the market in 2018.

The new kits sold at CVS harness information gleaned from DNA to help users determine everything from what diet is right for them to how to select the right skin-care regimen. In select stores, CVS offers the following kits: DNA Diagnostics Center HomeDNA Healthy Weight, Pathway Genomics FitIQ, DNA Diagnostics Center HomeDNA Skin Care and Pathway Genomics SkinIQ. Each kit retails for $24.99 with additional lab fees ranging from $79 to $99.

Although drugstores have traditionally offered in-home testing products for high blood pressure or glucose monitoring, the addition of DNA tests at CVS is thought to be the largest of its kind in mass-market retailing. “We wanted to take a lead position in the area of genetic testing,” said George Coleman, vice president of merchandising for CVS Pharmacy.

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Whether driven by rising health-care costs or the desire for preventative care, Coleman said more people are taking control of their own health care. Frankly, he added, it is more expensive to be sick.

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The starting point is “knowing thyself,” explained Coleman who said advancements in genetic testing allow people to access deep levels information that can even alert them to diseases they are more susceptible to, what type of diet will help them with their weight, and even determine what skin care to buy. “You might be able to find out what kind of skin care would be better to address an issue such as low collagen quality.”

Determining What Skin Care to Buy Based on DNA
Home DNA Skin Care

The DNA Diagnostics Center Home DNA Skin Care kit examines 28 genetic marketers that influence skin health. The Pathway Genomics SkinIQ analyzes seven areas of skin health to help with skin nutrition, aging, oxidation, hydration, inflammation, glycation and texture.

The kits are growing in acceptance, posting double-digit increases, said Coleman, especially as consumers use one and then decided to expand to another. For example, those who try the Healthy Weight DNA test might return for a skin-care test.

The test kits are merchandised in a special home diagnostics department, but Coleman doesn’t rule out cross merchandising the skin-care kits in the beauty department. “The link to skin care and health is so tight and we are working on how to bring health and skin care together more,” he said. There is also a goal to help recommend products sold at CVS to solve skin-care issues revealed by testing.

“People are finding these kits helpful. It isn’t a novelty. People can find solutions tailored to their specific makeup and what works for them,” concluded Coleman.