L'Oréal unveils ‘microfluidic sensor’ to measure skin pH levels: world first

By Lucy Whitehouse

- Last updated on GMT

L'Oréal unveils ‘microfluidic sensor’ to measure skin pH levels: world first
The ‘My Skin Track pH’ device 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, says the company.

The device taps into the rising consumer trend towards customised, bespoke beauty, which is personalised to meet individual consumer needs.

It was co-developed with L'Oréal's skincare brand La RochePosay, which works closely with dermatologists to develop safe and effective skincare products and is committed to bringing scientific progress directly to consumers.

The global beauty player won a CES 2019 Innovation Award in the Wearable Technology Products category for the launch.

What is customised beauty?

The personalisation and customised beauty trend is about refining products to meet specific consumer needs, right down to the individual demands of a unique consumer. It’s being seen in brands, apps, and individual products and services across the beauty industry.

Nicole Fall, founder of Asian Consumer Intelligence, has said: “It’s a trend to stay, and it’s really not going away.​”​

L’Oréal’s launch is the first major launch in this space for 2019 - and coming within the first few days of the year, it suggests that the coming 12 months are going to be big for customised beauty.

Why pH?

pH is a leading indicator of skin health​,” says Prof. 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​.”

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.

How does ‘My Skin Track pH’ work?

LOreal my skin track ph

The ‘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, L’Oréal says.

My Skin Track pH provides an accurate pH, reading via a simple two-step process:

1) The wearer places the sensor on their inner arm, leaving it in place for 5-15 minutes—until the center two dots take on colour.

2) 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.

A small, thin, flexible sensor, My Skin Track pH represents the next frontier in personalized skincare technology​,” says L'Oréal.

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.”

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.

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