Evolution of Objective Skin Analysis

We are witnessing a growing demand for standardization and objective assessment of different physiologic & pathologic conditions as well as for monitoring the efficacy of different therapeutic modalities. In the era of evidence-based medicine, we see the same trend followed by cosmetic studies too. There are devices which were invented in the past that answers some of the hottest questions regarding the parameters & devices suited to test specific claims.

With a surface area of up to 2 square meters, the skin is the largest organ of the human body. Skin acts as an outer covering and barrier – not only is skin health crucial to the overall health of an individual, but skin appearance has a significant societal impact as well (body image, communication, etc.). Nowadays skin physiology assessments have moved rapidly from a descriptive approach to a deeper understanding of biophysical and biochemical processes in the epidermis, namely epidermal barrier function, stratum corneum hydration, and the underlying regulatory processes.

An increasing number of non-invasive methods have been developed to determine skin properties in an objective way. The subjective, visual or tactile evaluation of skin conditions can now be quantified and numerical values can be obtained. The research with non-invasive biophysical measurements now offers reliable and reproducible approaches for product testing in the cosmetic industry as well as in basic research.

Research with non or minimal-invasive devices to study skin physiology and the effect of cosmetic products has entered its 7th generation. In the early 1970s, the instruments were often the size of a cupboard or table. In labs, individual instruments were built and mostly the prototypes of them were manufactured. So, many of the instruments have not actually made their way out in the industry. Initially, cosmetic companies used to design individual instruments to test their specific products. Later, low-cost small, stand-alone devices were built on larger scales and thus became accessible to the broader public and institutions. Thereafter, instruments which can attach to the PCs were made. But now, the whole physiology lab can fit in one suitcase. They are available with way more easy calibration checks and thus allow good validation studies and interlaboratory comparisons. There are many instruments in the market which are available to give precise details. Some of them are discussed below.

Facial Skin Analyzer: Facial analysers are top of the line & is recommended by many professionals. Skin analysis is the process of looking at a patient’s skin to determine how healthy it is. The goal is to really identify key areas for improvement within someone’s skin regime. Traditionally, this analysis was very basicand literally on the surface.

Corneometer CM 825: The Corneometer CM 825 is the most used instrument worldwide to determine the hydration level of the skin surface, mainly the stratum corneum. The hydration measurement is the basic measurement for all applications in basic research and cosmetics. It is ideal for the formulation, claim support and efficacy testing of moisturisers. It is used for objective clinical trials and their monitoring. It also gives information on the course of cosmetic treatments. It helps to alert people to specific occupational skin hazards.

Transdermal Water Loss Measurement Tool:Transepidermal water loss (TEWL) measurement is the most widely used objective measurement for assessing the barrier function of the skin. TEWL measures the quantity of water lost from inside the body by diffusion across the SC. Skin barrier dysfunction results in increased TEWL.

Dermascope: Dermascopeis a special purpose digital video camera combined with a high magnification polarizing lens and multiple ultra-bright LEDs.

Future of Skin Analysis: Antera 3D is versatile and rich in features. It is the only product on the market that can accurately analyse wrinkles, texture, volumes, skin colour, redness and pigmentation. These many features will help you to make the most of the diversity of treatments you offer.

The work on standardisation has led to the publication of several guidelines for trans epidermal water loss, cutaneous blood flow, SC hydration, SLS irritation test and many more. Guidelines are published which are accepted by regulatory authorities.

Joachim W.Fluhr a few decades back said that Non-invasive instrumentation is a cornerstone of standardised clinical testing. Today we have achieved that goal and probably we will see more of AI products for precise skin analysis.Outside of the skin analysis industry, hardware developments, particularly in the improvement of smartphone cameras, has rapidly enabled high quality images to be taken by the everyday consumer. When combined with AI in the form of machine learning, suddenly anybody owning a (recent) smartphone has the capability of skin analysis in their hands. Companies have capitalized on this combination of innovations to drive the overwhelmingly offline industry into the digital world.It be worth waiting to watch what all future technology will take over the existing ones.