02 Dec The Fight Against Acne Goes High-Tech
Acne is a common and all-too-familiar problem. The prevalence of acne and the perceived effects on teens (and some adults) is obvious in the number of products that are marketed to treat it, from special facial cleansers to spot treatments to prescription medication that promises to prevent acne. One company is using technology in the fight against acne by introducing mobile apps and specialized scanners to analyze skin and provide information about acne.
The company is called mySkin, and it is launching a campaign via Indiegogo to fund the development of ScanZ, a transdermal scanner that takes images of an individual’s skin using different wavelengths of light and clever image processing to analyze what it finds, even below the skin surface. If used to scan a pimple, the data provided by the ScanZ scanner can estimate how long it will take for the pimple to disappear. It can also help to spot skin conditions that can lead to breakouts before they happen.
The scanner pairs with an iPhone app that collects further data from the ScanZ user, including information about diet and the kinds of cleaning products a person uses. Based on the scan and self-entered data, the app produces a list of recommended actions for the user to take. It also shows the potential benefits of following through on the recommendations by adjusting the estimated time for a pimple to heal based on the user committing to follow through on specific recommendations. The app also stores the data it collects, putting together a comprehensive picture of your skin and your daily habits, which means its recommendations become more targeted for your skin the longer you use it.
According to TechCrunch, the ScanZ product has been developed with input from experts in cosmetic dermatology and biomedical nanotechnology, which may alleviate any doubts that this is another product that plays on acne fears, making big claims but producing poor results. The app provides real data based on scientific research about acne and the user’s skin, not just a list of common recommendations that are the same for everyone. The scanner and app educate users about their own skin and the results of their actions, empowering them to make choices that lead to better skin health.
The new acne scanning devices are expected to go on the market in May 2014 with a retail price of $249. This may be prohibitive for many teens, but the company hopes to get buy-in from parents to purchase the devices because many adults also suffer from acne and can benefit from the ScanZ scanner and app. MySkin intends to expand its use of the scanning technology in the future to study and treat other skin conditions, potentially in cooperation with outside developers. If all goes according to plan, individuals who suffer from skin problems other than acne could also someday benefit from mySkin’s non-invasive skin scanning technology.