L’Oréal has co-developed a wearable sensor with their skincare brand, La Roche-Posay that along with its companion app can measure personal skin pH levels and create customised product regimens to better care for skin.

The small, thin and flexible My Skin Track pH by La Roche-Posay wearable sensor measures individual skin pH levels using microfluidic technology developed by Epicore Biosystems. It captures trace amounts of sweat from skin pores through a network of micro-channels, providing an accurate pH reading within 15 minutes.

“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,” said Global Vice President of the L’Oréal Technology Incubator, an arm of L’Oréal’s Research & Innovation Division, Guive Balooch.

“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,” continued Balooch.

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.

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 centre two dots take on colour. Next, the wearer opens the My Skin Track pH app and photographs the sensor. Utilising 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 customised La Roche-Posay product recommendations to care for skin and balance pH.

“pH is a leading indicator of skin health. It is something my patients ask about, but until now it has been very challenging to measure skin pH outside of a clinical setting,” said Head of the Department of Dermatology, University of Münster, Germany, Professor Thomas Luger.

“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,” continued Professor Luger.

My Skin Track pH was created by L’Oréal in partnership with Epicore Biosystems, whose 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,” said Co-founder and CEO of Epicore Biosystems, Roozbeh Ghaffari, PhD.

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 will initially be introduced in 2019 through select La Roche-Posay dermatologists in the US, with the goal of amassing new research and ultimately launching a direct-to-consumer product.

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