Is the CIA funding your skincare regimen? That is a question I have honestly never asked myself, but The Intercept has obtained documents that show the intelligence agency is diversifying. In-Q-Tel, the venture capital arm of the CIA, has funded a company called Skincential Sciences. The company produces a face care product line called Clearista, which uses a patented technology to “resurface” or “retexturize” the skin.
While skin resurfacing might sound like something a tiny Zamboni might do to your face, the company has gotten attention from beauty bloggers and bloggers, and it’s mentioned in Oprah’s magazine, O. And, interestingly enough, the CIA is also intrigued.
Since the product removes a thin top layer of skin (think of your face as a small, human ice rink), using a solution, water, and brushes, it also reveals biomarkers that could be used for things like DNA collection. Now, the CEO of Skincential Sciences told The Intercept that he didn’t know exactly why the CIA was interested in funding Skincential Sciences. It’s a mystery as to how the CIA might use something like this, but the CEO of Skincential Sciences said he did know they were interested in detecting DNA in skin.
Skincential Sciences actually started out as a company called DX Biosciences. In this first iteration, the company of scientists created a technology that used biomarkers as a potential medical diagnostic tool. But, they decided to relaunch as a beauty product company in 2013. In-Q-Tel has announced partnerships with other DNA and biological technology companies in the past.
In-Q-Tel has has been serving as the CIA’s connection to Silicon Valley innovation for years. For example, the technology that eventually became Google Earth came from an In-Q-Tel funded company.