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The lure of youthful, glowing skin is perpetually enticing. Throw in advancements with skin care technology, and the credit cards go flying. Skin care devices — the newest development in skin care — are savvy devices that promise personalized just-for-you skin analysis technology. This allows you to choose the best skin products for your particular skin. But before you throw down your hard-earned cash, let’s take a look at some of these new gadgets, how they work, and what you might want to consider before buying one.

Personalizing Beauty And Health

To get an idea of where technology has taken skin care, let’s take a peek at some of the newest skin care devices that popped up at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES). The skin care devices represented at this show ranged from Opté, a handheld wand that digitally scans, analyzes, camouflages, and treats age spots, to Olay Moments, a voice enabled beauty assistant that will dispense personalized skin care products from your counter top after you pop in a capsule of ingredients.  

Robin Raskin, founder of Living in Digital Times, has always been in love with tech. She sees one of the most exciting aspects of the latest skin care tech is its potential for personalization: “What technology is learning how to do (and it’s not perfect yet) is to personalize the advice for your skin type.”

Another expert in skin technology is dermatologist Dr. Jenny Sobera. She’s also Medical Director for FaceMDplus, a machine learning and AI skincare program.  

Her take is that technology needs to be integrated into everything we do. The skin care market is catching on. The main objective for many of these devices is to give consumers access to dermatologist recommendations — right from your mobile phone.

What Are The Yays? The Pros Of Skin Care Tech

Personalized skin care from the convenience of our own homes sounds fantastic. Everybody’s skin is different. Instead of listening to your bestie about why her skin cream is the bomb, skin care tech recommends products specifically for you. One example is Neutrogena’s i Skin360, which uses machine learning to measure pores and fine lines and then recommends products based on your scores.

Have you ever stared into the mirror after a move from the ‘burbs into a big city and wondered what was going on with your face? It must be the stress of the move causing your skin to erupt. Or maybe not … skin care technology has (or will have) the ability to store lots of data for various populations, allowing you to take steps to avoid skin problems before they occur.

“As AI and machine learning get better, it will be able to say you live in New York and there’s lots of smog. Women in your age group are typically getting blackheads,” commented Raskin.

Another advantage is the ability to see if what you are doing is getting results. Often the changes in your skin are so gradual over time it’s difficult to see the changes. Enter YouCam, an app that allows you to take a picture of your face and then gives you a skin analysis. It evaluates your skin based on spots, wrinkles, texture, and dark circles. The idea is that this technology will narrow down an endless range of skincare products to those targeted to work for your skin. It then takes it a step further by mapping your skin analysis over time so you can see if a product is working for you.

What Are The Nays? The Cons Of Skin Care Devices

Of course, these gadgets are most loyal to the companies that make them, so you shouldn’t be surprised when they recommend their own products, which can limit your options. Everyone should be wary of bias recommendations like this. “You know that they are each trying to sell a product so on the back end their business model is making money off of what they sell. It may be missing your perfect thing,” explains Raskin. And if the company doesn’t offer the right product for you, you may be out of luck.

These gadgets can also add more products and time spent on our beauty routines. Though it might be cool to have a device analyzing our pores, personalized skin care does not necessarily mean better skin care. The bottom line for consumers is to buy products that work well and ultimately contribute to healthy skin.

Dr. Sobera adds:

If you order the wrong thing at the grocery store, it’s really not a big deal but if you buy the wrong skin care and it causes an acne flare or it makes your eczema break out or your rosacea worse: that’s a problem. This is your face … it’s a huge deal. So many people make bad skin care purchases that just pile up in their bathroom drawer. One of the risks is if the technology is not properly built there’s no way to really know that the recommendations made are appropriate for that person.

Skin care devices, while fun and informative, don’t always provide a full picture. “They don’t know, oh you have sensitive skin. Or you are taking chemotherapy and you shouldn’t have talc products. I don’t know that a salesperson is much better, but those are the things that you wish they knew,” says Raskin.

And then there are the privacy concerns. Since skin care devices often compile personal data. “You are definitely giving up some personal information to get some personal benefit,” notes Raskin. With data security being a problem in many companies, this can give some consumers pause. Still, it might be worthwhile to check out the tech and see if it can help you.

Are You Ready to Plunge into Skin Care Technology? Does letting go of some personal data outweigh the benefit of a personalized skin care regimen? Only you can decide if the trade-off is worth it.

Pros Cons
Personalized skincare Product bias
Proactive recommendations Does personalized mean better?
Track results of skincare purchases Technology can miss key factors

Jen Theuriet Jen Theuriet is an activewear, fitness, and skincare writer and content marketer at ContentByJen. When she’s not pounding the keyboard she can be found shredding the slopes or driving dance carpool.

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