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Posted on January 14, 2019 by

Wearable microfluidic sensor measures skin pH levels

L'Oréal has introduced a prototype of the latest innovation from the L'Oréal Technology Incubator. My Skin Track pH by La Roche-Posay is the first wearable sensor and companion app to easily measure personal skin pH levels and create customized product regimens to better care for skin. The sensor was co-developed with L'Oréal's skincare brand La Roche-Posay, which works closely with dermatologists to develop safe and effective skincare products and is committed to bringing scientific progress directly to consumers. For more information see the IDTechEx report on Electronic Skin Patches 2018-2028.
 
"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," says Guive Balooch, Global Vice President of the L'Oréal Technology Incubator, an arm of L'Oréal's Research & Innovation Division. "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 ranges from acidic to basic, on a spectrum measured from 0 to 14. Healthy skin pH exists within the slightly acidic range between 4.5 and 5.5. When pH balance is compromised, whether through environmental factors and underlying conditions, it can trigger inflammatory responses. Such responses can cause or exacerbate common skin concerns including dryness, eczema, and atopic dermatitis.  Millions of Americans suffer from these conditions; according to the National Eczema Association, 1 in 10 Americans (31.6 million) have some form of eczema.
 
A small, thin, flexible sensor, My Skin Track pH is the first wearable to measure individual skin pH levels using microfluidic technology, it captures trace amounts of sweat from skin pores through a network of micro-channels, providing an accurate pH reading within 15 minutes.
 
While previous methods of measuring skin pH levels required rigid electronics or large sweat samples, My Skin Track pH captures and generates accurate readings from nearly imperceptible quantities of sweat.
 
My Skin Track pH provides an accurate pH reading via a simple two-step process:
  • The wearer places the sensor on their inner arm, leaving it in place for 5-15 minutes—until the center two dots take on color.
  • Next, the wearer opens the My Skin Track pH app and photographs the sensor. Utilizing an advanced algorithm, the app reads the pH measurement, as well as the wearer's local sweat loss—the rate of perspiration on the skin's surface—to assess skin health and make customized La Roche-Posay product recommendations to care for skin and balance pH.
 
 
In addition to its promise as a future consumer product, My Skin Track pH will help L'Oréal advance its research into the science of skin and aid in product development at the world's largest beauty company.
 
"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 skincare habits and empower medical professionals with an entirely new way to recommend skincare regimens."
 
My Skin Track pH was created by L'Oréal in partnership with Epicore Biosystems, the industry leader in microfluidic platforms and soft wearable sensors.  Epicore Biosystems' technology is based on over two decades of microfluidic and soft materials research in Professor John Rogers' Laboratory at Northwestern University's Center for Bio-Integrated Electronics and the Simpson Querrey Institute.
 
"Epicore is thrilled to collaborate with L'Oréal, an expert in skincare science, to create a new use-case for this technology that drives new research and understanding around skin pH," says Roozbeh Ghaffari, PhD, co-founder and CEO of Epicore Biosystems.
 
 
My Skin Track pH will enable L'Oréal, which has already co-authored a study on the efficacy of microfluidics, to further its research through a series of clinical studies in partnership with Northwestern University. The purpose of these studies is to explore the link between pH and the appearance of various skin conditions. My Skin Track pH is an expansion of L'Oréal's efforts to deploy new technologies to support skin health. 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.
 
"This new prototype represents the next step in La Roche-Posay's beauty tech journey. We are committed to bringing scientific progress directly to consumers, to help them take great care of their skin," said Laetitia Toupet, Global General Manager of La Roche-Posay.
 
My Skin Track pH will initially be introduced in 2019 through select La Roche-Posay dermatologists in the U.S., with the goal of amassing new research and ultimately launching a direct-to-consumer product.
 
Source and top image: L'Oreal USA
Learn more at the next leading events on the topic:
Healthcare Sensor Innovations 2019 External Link on 25 - 26 Sep 2019 at Cambridge, UK
or Wearable USA 2019 External Link on 20 - 21 Nov 2019 at Santa Clara Convention Center, CA, USA
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