L’Oreal’s new pH skin sensor predicts your acne or eczema breakout

By Elizabeth Segran

In the near future, L’Oreal hopes you will not have to deal with eczema, atopic dermatitis, or acne breakouts. Instead, you’ll be able to pre-empt these skin conditions, and attack them before they ruin your confidence on a date or a pitch meeting.

The beauty conglomerate today launched a new tool called My Skin Track pH, a sensor you wear on your inner arm for between 5 and 15 minutes. On a companion app, an algorithm will compute your pH measurement and rate of perspiration, then suggest product recommendations for optimal skin health.

Dermatologists say that pH is a leading indicator of skin health. Healthy skin pH should be in the slightly acidic range, between 4.5 and 5.5, but both the environment and inflammation in your body can cause it to change. This can either cause or exacerbate common skin concerns, like eczema, which afflicts 10% of Americans, according to the National Eczema Association. Until now, it’s been difficult to accurately assess pH levels without a lot of sweat, so this device harnesses microfluidics technology, which gathers insights from a small amount of sweat.

L’Oreal has been pouring resources into its Technology Incubator, which has been churning out high-tech solutions for the beauty industry. The company recently released another tracking device that identifies your skin’s exposure to sunlight, giving wearers insight into their skin cancer risk at any given moment.

While it is releasing these devices for purchase one at a time, there also seems to be long term potential to combine multiple devices down the line, providing a wealth of useful information about your skin. In the future, it may be just as common for someone to stick a skin sensor to their arm as it currently is to glue on false eyelashes.

The tech community clearly sees the potential in L’Oreal’s newest invention: It just received the CES 2019 Innovation Award for the Wearable Technology Products category. L’Oreal will demo the tech at the CES conference in Las Vegas this week.

Note: An earlier version of this article stated that this tool could predict skin conditions like eczema or acne. However, a L’Oreal spokesperson reached out to clarify that this technology is not predictive, but can only assess the current state of your skin.

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