PARIS — L’Oréal has signed a partnership with Verily, a precision health company, to push the boundaries of skin health.
The companies’ exclusive collaboration in beauty is expected to involve two programs created to better understand and characterize the mechanisms of skin and hair aging. Learnings from that are, in turn, to inform L’Oréal’s precision beauty tech strategy and product development.
“There are some avenues in beauty that require unique partnerships for us to have more and more knowledge to be able to get to the next product and service that might come,” explained Guive Balooch, global vice president of L’Oréal technology incubator.
Verily, an Alphabet company that aims to improve health at the confluence of health care, data science and technology-building integrated solutions, is best in class in precision medicine, according to the executive.
“One of those real challenges that we have today is in skin care,” continued Balooch. “What’s really inspiring us for the future is precision medicine. In the medical field, in the health field, there will be a moment very soon — in the next three to five years, maybe even sooner — where we will be having a lot of precise prescriptions for our health that are based on our data, on who we are, on how we react to different medications and things like that,” he said. “What will happen is that we will need some understanding of the biology of skin, of how we can have the right link between biomarkers and what’s underneath the skin to help us give to people more precise routines and programs for their skin care and also to adapt it over time.”
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It could be a matter of seeing how skin health is impacted by lifestyle — how well someone sleeps, what they eat and where they live, for instance.
“Those kinds of links today haven’t all been done in one platform for research, then ultimately for consumers,” said Balooch. “This is really our vision of precision beauty — this idea that one day the mystery will be solved, that we will be able to help guide people, through the biology of their skin, to have the right routine of products that can be adapted throughout their life for them.”
Balooch noted people worldwide are increasingly taking biological measurements of their lives, and that the trend will keep rising.
“But we need to build the right longitudinal study over time to truly get the right data for this,” he continued. “That’s when we really felt that Verily was the partner to work with; they have one of the largest longitudinal studies in the world.”
That has been done for precision medicine, with both a scientific and consumer-centric approach. Verily and L’Oréal believe a similar method is needed for precision skin care, taking into account links between the exposome, skin aging and its deep biology.
“It’s a first-of-its-kind partnership,” said Balooch. “This is really something we think can build the future of skin care. It will be about precision and personalization — but not personalization as a trend, [rather] as a true understanding of your skin.”
The second prong of L’Oréal’s partnership with Verily involves building a platform for dermatologists and patients that allows dermatologists to obtain data from people in between medical visits to empower doctors with information that can then help them give more precise recommendations over time. It is, in other words, a tele-diagnostic platform. (That’s opposed to tele-dermatology, which involves video consultation.)
The platform would be data-driven through algorithms co-created with the teams at L’Oréal and ModiFace, the group’s provider of augmented reality and artificial intelligence technology, alongside Verily’s research-and-development team. The platform will be co-created also with the 200,000 dermatologists linked to L’Oréal’s Active Cosmetics division.
“The ultimate goal is to build an entire skin-aging platform,” said Balooch, of the ecosystem for skin management that he explained should be seamless. It could include sensors or people taking photos of their skin, faces and products, for instance.
The platform, through which L’Oréal and Verily can bring services through dermatologists to consumers, should be available in the next two years.
“This type of partnership will hopefully enhance the entire industry,” said Balooch, adding that importantly includes making people’s lives better.
“L’Oréal’s century-long commitment to pioneering innovation has come from our strong belief in the intersection between science, formulations and our unique advanced research capabilities to decode revolutionary scientific discoveries that will create the future of beauty,” said Nicolas Hieronimus, chief executive officer of L’Oréal Group, in a statement.
“Thanks to this partnership, we want to lead a new era of skin health, through tech and science, to enable every person around the world the most inclusive, personalized, powerful and precise programs for their skin at each stage of their lives,” he said.
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