Skin detectives of the future

Skin detectives of the future
Magic skin.

If you tend to be stumped for answers whenever a beauty adviser asks about your skin concerns, you can find them using the nifty skin-check machines some brands have at their beauty counters.

At least five beauty brands here have started to use gadgets to help customers take a much closer look at their complexions, so they can pick suitable lotions and potions to improve them.

From pore size, sebum level to the amount of sun damage below the skin's surface and cell turnover, these gadgets are able to churn out a report on the microscopic details of your skin in minutes.

The levels of sophistication of the machines vary across the brands and most of these services are free of charge.

SK-II was one of the first to introduce this service. It has been using its Magic Ring skin-check device since 2012.

In April, the brand upped the ante by becoming the first to add a Skin DNA Analysis service. The brand claims it has identified three genes which are linked to the quality of one's complexion. By assessing the customer's DNA for those genes, they will supposedly get a better idea of the potential for more flawless skin.

"This new service is set to redefine the skin-counselling experience, making it more personalised and in-depth," says Mr Taro Yamaguchi, the brand's global scientific communications manager.

Last November, when French brand Ioma debuted in Singapore at Robinsons Orchard, it brought along its swanky Sphere 2 machines that cost 25,000 euros (S$42,500) each. Resembling an astronaut's helmet, it makes use of microelectromechanical systems, a type of multi-purpose technology used in everything from aeronautics to medicine, to analyse the skin.

The gadgets at Ioma's counters are the same ones it has been selling to dermatologists since 2002.

Other brands which have also introduced such tools at their counters are: Lab Series (a mobile one replaced a larger machine in 2009), Biotherm (in April) and the multi-label Derma Center at Westgate (in January).

By next month, Derma Center, which stocks SkinCeuticals, Vichy and La-Roche Posay products, will also ship in another two machines - the Derm Analyzer (which checks both the skin and hair) and SkinCeuticals SkinScope (right, which uses LED light technology to reveal underlying skin damage).

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