Personalisation in personal care

23 May, 2013

Personalisation is undeniably a current and growing trend in personal care.  Typically it involves assessing oneself for a quantity such as skin hydration or hair condition and then adjusting one’s personal care regime accordingly.  This could be buying a different conditioner for dry/damaged hair, or moisturizing three times a day rather than twice a day if one has particularly dry skin.  


But once a consumer knows which products work for them will they need to keep measuring quantities such as skin hydration or hair damage for example?  An example of a product providing this on-going guidance is the Ioma Youth Booster moisturizer.  With ‘NASA’ MEMS technology in the lid, the product aims to provide, via direct skin contact, a regular measurement of the skin’s hydration and therefore guides on how much to apply and how often.  Another example is intense pulsed light devices which require the testing of the skin’s pigment level (Fitzpatrick Skin Type) with a skin tone sensor to enable adjustment the intensity of the light for hair removal.  

Personal care diagnostics are also vitally important if a product formulation company is perfecting a new topical product.

Whether or not an individual sees this as necessary will vary from person to person and we are yet to see whether this kind of ‘in situ’ measurement approach will really take off.  If it does it is likely to be in the Asia-Pacific region initially which is a hot-bed of personal care innovation and one in which the ‘quantified self’ approach to wellness is taken very seriously.

Personal care diagnostics are also vitally important if a product formulation company is perfecting a new topical product, they may only need just a small percentage of improvement in hydration, elasticity or barrier function which can be imparted to the skin to make the claims that will ultimately differentiate them from the competition.  These parameters and can be easily measured in controlled trials by corneometry, cutometry and trans-epidermal water loss respectively, e.g. with devices developed by Courage & Khazaka.  

Recently developed techniques also measure the depth, number and distribution of wrinkles and other aspects of the skin’s topography such as photography (e.g. Canfield Scientific), Primos 3D (fringe projection) or older techniques such as optical profilometry of physical silicone impressions of the skin’s surface.  Such information can make or break new formulations and combinations of active ingredients entering the market.


Dr. Peter Luebcke

Personal Care Consultant


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