L’Oréal introduces prototype of wearable sensor to measure skin pH levels

Courtesy of L’Oréal

L’Oréal recently introduced a prototype of My Skin Track pH by La Roche-Posay. The company says that My Skin Track pH is the first wearable sensor and companion app to easily measure skin pH levels and create customized skin care product regimens.

The prototype was revealed at the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), and was honored with a CES 2019 Innovation Award in the Wearable Technology Products category. My Skin Track pH was developed by L’Oréal and La Roche-Posay — a skin care company that works with dermatologists to bring scientific progress directly to consumers — in partnership with Epicore Systems, a developer of microfluidic platforms and soft wearable sensors.

Courtesy of L’Oréal

“The scientific and medical communities have long known the link between skin pH levels and common skin concerns that millions of people experience every day,” Guive Balooch, Global Vice President of the L’Oréal Technology Incubator, an arm of L’Oréal’s Research and Innovation, said in a statement. “Our goal is to use this advanced technology to empower consumers with meaningful information about their skin, so that they can find the products that are right for their individual needs. At L’Oréal, we know that health is the future of beauty and we are committed to leveraging technology to bring powerful insights and solutions to our consumers.”

The pH scale is a spectrum from 0 – 14 that ranges from acidic to basic. A healthy skin pH is around 4.5 – 5.5. The balance can be compromised by environmental and lifestyle factors, or underlying conditions. This may trigger inflammatory responses and cause, or exacerbate, conditions like acne, eczema, and atopic dermatitis.

My Skin Track pH, “the first wearable to measure individual skin pH levels using microfluidic technology,” is a small, thin, flexible sensor that captures trace amounts of sweat from pores through a network of micro-channels, and provides an accurate pH reading within 15 minutes.

This works through a two-step process:

  1. The user places the sensor on the inner arm, leaving it in place for 5 – 15 minutes, until the two center dots change color.
  2. The user uses the My Skin Track pH app to photograph the sensor. The app then reads the pH measurement and assesses skin health to make customized La Roche-Posay product recommendations.

“pH is a leading indicator of skin health,” says Professor Thomas Luger, Head of the Department of Dermatology, University of Münster, Germany. “It is something my patients ask about, but until now it has been very challenging to measure skin pH outside of a clinical setting. This tool has the potential to inspire consumers to adopt healthier skin care habits and empower medical professionals with an entirely new way to recommend skin care regimens.”

L’Oréal has co-authored a study on the efficacy of microfluidics, and plans to further its research through a series of clinical studies in partnership with Northwestern University. The purpose of this research is to explore the link between pH levels and various skin conditions.

My Skin Track pH will be introduced in 2019 through select La Roche-Posay dermatologists, with the goal of launching a direct-to-consumer product.

In November 2018, L’Oréal launched a personal UV sensor, My Skin Track UV by La Roche-Posay, exclusively at select U.S. Apple stores and on apple.com.


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