Start the week with a startup: Precision Skin

By Kirsty Doolan

- Last updated on GMT

Startup: Precision Skin: personalised skin care

Related tags start-ups Skin care derma beauty personalised beauty beauty tech beauty 4.0 AI

Every fortnight we talk to a game-changer startup about why it exists and how it plans to transform the industry. This week we spoke to founder and MD of Precision Skin, Dr Theodora Mantzourani, about its business model, how its disrupting the industry, and future plans.

UK-based startup Precision Skin directly delivers ‘lab-to-door’ personalised, made-to-order, AI-enabled, skin care products to shoppers across the globe in a bid to help consumers find the best regime for their specific needs.

How Precision Skin is changing the game…

Our starter pack consists of a pod with 3 x 20ml airless pumps of day/night and eye skincare freshly custom-made to the client's preferred texture: serum, cream, or gel. The formulations are multi-functional and contain multiple active ingredients that are different for each user: for skin ‘optimisation’.

With the Precision Skin pod, we also gift clients with a cleanser/texturiser and a hydration booster, so they get all their skincare requirements.

The products are reformulated over time, as the skin dynamically changes with the ageing process, the seasons and lifestyle habits.

Our target consumers are females and males 18+ years who know what they want for their skincare: efficacy and simplicity but also sophisticated products that resonate with sustainability and eco-ethics.
They want to buy ‘smart’ and can recognise a quality brand when they see one. In this sense, product cost is not as important as is the value added to their skin care routine.

What are your future goals for the business

We aspire to reach out globally to skin care consumers with affordable personalised lab-to-door skincare while continuing to perfect our technical expertise to scale-up and offer more affordable prices in the future.

We are interested in taking skin diagnostics further and we hope to develop and use skin digital twins for skin diagnostics and skincare efficacy validation and monitoring.

We are also firm believers in 'beauty from within' and our team will draw in from our collective medical/clinical expertise and will soon offer oral beauty supplements to complement Precision Skin skin care.

How we started…

Precision Skin went live in April 2023 after five years of labour-intense R&D and beta-testing. We are female-founded and the team comes from different scientific backgrounds (medical/clinical, academic, science and IT/bioinformatics) but shares the same passion for skincare formulation chemistry, quality and innovation.

The whole project started with the main founder's personal story of sudden sensitive skin syndrome that stopped her from using anti-ageing skincare products. In the process of "trial and error" testing of various products, she also realised how much waste is generated by unused and unwanted skincare products. The solution came from crafting personalised made-to-order skin care in her preferred texture.

The challenges faced…

The key technical challenge was to craft evidence-based, made-to-order yet scalable, profitable and affordable skin care that could lead to a long-term paradigm shift in the skin care industry. 
To overcome the key technical challenge, we focused on ‘cold process’ and clean/green, less-is-more’ chemistry and formulations of ‘flexible’ serum/cream bases so different oil combinations and active ingredient combinations could be mounted on-demand, kind of like drawers in a chest of drawers. This was a very difficult task and I has taken years of R&D. 

Our preservative system was also chosen and optimised after extensive R&D and several failures, as we wanted it to be a functional’ preservative system for the skin barrier but also effective and fit-for-purpose.  

The AI-based analyses of ‘selfie’ images and skin scores had to undergo testing and correlation with clinical skin assessment, and we had to test reproducibility and validity of all tested AI skin parameters. This remains a challenge and an ongoing task.

Another big challenge was bioinformatic. Scrutinising and critically evaluating the databases to review all known active skin care ingredients and using clinical and research methodology to ‘match’ skin phenotypes with specific formulations was, and still is, a big challenge so we can provide ‘clean but clinical’ skincare to our best knowledge.

How will we disrupt the industry…

Precision Skin is made to order on-demand and based on AI-enabled skin analysis that is akin to what is found in clinical environments.

This fully remote system employs ecologically friendly technology, reducing carbon emissions and further environmental waste. Our products are refinable based on changing skincare needs over time and tailormade for each user following real-time skin analysis in a travel-size pod at competitive pricing without waste.

Testing on 50 patients yielded one hundred per cent  ‘satisfied’ responses with visible global skin improvement from two weeks' of use. This solution will be especially impactful for consumers living in urban environments where pollution affects skin health. The consensus is that ‘personalised skincare improves skin’ (J. Cosmet Dermatol, 2023), while unfit skincare aggravates it.
Industrial, impersonal, generically produced skincare products fail to meet consumer demands, often irritate skin and result in significant environmental waste; up to 40% of unused products are disposed of in landfills.

Given the known health benefits of personalised skincare, a more appropriate solution is needed. In the short term, manufacturers face reduced profits due to heightened scrutiny and criticism from environmental agencies. In the long term, consumers may seek similarly unsatisfying alternatives that compound the environmental and health problems. We believe that personalised, on-demand effective skin care is the way forward to overcome all aforementioned issues.

Where we are heading next…

We believe that personalisation and artificial intelligence will increase their market share globally as younger consumers are more tech-literate.

We also believe that the same consumer cohorts interested in personalisation will trend towards ‘inner beauty’ supplements as skin health and beauty are interconnected with global health and well-being.

We want to believe that the UK will lead the beauty tech industry in Europe with consumer education on AI-enabled personalised skin solutions. We hope that Precision Skin will help raise awareness of beauty skincare tech advantages over conventional skincare brands and earn consumers' trust and endorsement resulting in bigger sales.

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