Special Edition: Personalised beauty in a digital revolution

Digital clinical trials and ‘augmented data’ the future of personalised beauty: Review

By Kacey Culliney

- Last updated on GMT

Beyond face scanning apps, the beauty industry must develop and validate accurate new wearable electrochemical biosensors for non-invasive skin parameter monitoring and develop business models to leverage this data (Getty Images)
Beyond face scanning apps, the beauty industry must develop and validate accurate new wearable electrochemical biosensors for non-invasive skin parameter monitoring and develop business models to leverage this data (Getty Images)

Related tags personalised beauty Personalisation beauty 4.0 beauty tech digital dermocosmetics Skin care

The beauty industry must stretch towards futuristic business models that merge smart labs, digital clinical trials and rich data collection if personalised cosmetics is to truly take off, say researchers.

Writing in Skin Research & Technology​, researchers from France reviewed the dermo-cosmetics skin care category, analysing advances made in personalisation such as devices and digital techniques to collect data on consumer needs and skin parameters. The review then discussed how personalised dermo-cosmetics could be improved through advances in the study of measurement – metrology.

The researchers found that whilst significant advances had been made in personalised dermo-cosmetics, including digital face-scanning techniques and a raft of digitally native vertical brands (DNVBs), there remained “significant opportunity”​ to overhaul current business models and improve industry’s offering of truly personalised products.

Beyond the device – personalised beauty needs business model refresh

“There are currently various IoT [Internet of Things] devices, data collection and analysis methods, and cloud service providers making advancements within this field. However, there is yet to be a clear definition of strategy in dealing with big data,”​ the researchers wrote.

Beauty brands had advanced fast in the field, with the likes of Shiseido and its Optune skin analysis tool and Neutrogena with its Skin360 face-scanning application, among others, they said, and there had been a raft of DNVBs established, such as Dollar Shave Club, Glossier and Function of Beauty, that facilitated consumer-centric business.

However, the researchers said there were “still limitations”​ in technological developments and industry would do well to continue its quest in advancing and expanding beauty tech, particularly devices with sensors and mobile apps that helped increase knowledge of skin parameters.

Building and validating accurate new wearable electrochemical biosensors for non-invasive skin parameter monitoring, for example, held great promise – particularly as it merged beauty, health and wider wellbeing thus catering to preventative and curative needs, they said.

But, beyond advancing technologies, the researchers said the beauty industry also had to reconsider current business models, particularly given the amount of data that would come from advanced technologies.

“To maximise outcomes and resources, there must be a rethinking of business organisations and processes in how they develop devices, use, and protect their data.”

“…The proper business model for these types of products and services may still need to be determined and developed,”​ they wrote.

Mining real-time, real-life consumer beauty information

“The major challenge today is how companies can leverage opportunities from new data delivered by IoT devices and build a business model based on this,” ​the researchers said.

This should start with the merging of in-lab and digital clinical trials to develop and test products, in addition to widespread big data collection on consumer needs and skin parameters, they said.

“Today, products are tested on a limited number of patients or users, who have to come to the laboratory for measurements to be made, and most often, panels only include standard skin types, creating a non-representative sample (…) Digital trials as described in the paper will allow some real-life measures to be made, with the same reliability as laboratory measures, and connected to a large number of variables related to one unique consumer or patient.”

“…Connecting this new type of laboratory, digital clinical trial measures with real-time, real-life consumer information, will lead to a new type of data and offer a new perspective for the study of quantitative and qualitative effects of products on the skin: an augmented data,” ​the researchers said.

The future of personalised dermo-cosmetics relied on this, they said. “Suggesting products to consumers based on real-time, real-life measurements of their skin can be the next frontier of rich data collection for the dermo-cosmetic sector,”​ they said.

It was important, the researchers said, that skin care brands pivoted away from pushing products towards consumers and developed those that were necessary and demanded by consumers.

“Adapting products to consumer needs and having consumers demand these products creates a new skin care industry that is more consumer-centric. Consumers are not looking for more products, but rather the right product,”​ the researchers wrote.


Source: Skin Research & Technology
Published online ahead of print in July 2020 – doi.org/10.1111/srt.12931
Title: “Metrology and sensors as dermo-cosmetic technology opportunities for a change of paradigm”
Authors: C. Bollinger et al.

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