Neutrogena has a new weapon in the battle to save its customers’ skin: The company just unveiled a new analysis tool that can evaluate the condition of a user’s skin and provide personalized skin-care advice.
The new SkinScanner device, together with the Skin360 mobile app, offers on-the-go assessment of a user’s skin condition. The tool — which resembles a smartphone lens accessory — slips over the user’s iPhone, effectively turning it into a powerful camera capable of capturing granular details of the skin surface. The SkinScanner features 30 times magnification and 12 embedded lights, in addition to a moisture sensor.
The goal is to offer a precise evaluation of the skin’s health that most people would miss by looking with their naked eyes, down to the size and appearance of pores, fine lines and wrinkles, and the skin’s moisture levels.
The user simply holds a SkinScanner-equipped iPhone against his or her face, and the phone captures close-up images of the skin. The app reads the data, provides an analysis and recommends a skin-care regimen — a Neutrogena-centric product plan, of course — based on the findings and a short user questionnaire. It also offers a Skin360 score to convey overall condition and tracks progress over time.
Despite its billing as a “dermatologist-grade” device, the tool is purely for cosmetic purposes. But it does have cred, courtesy of parent company Johnson & Johnson, whose focus on medical research covers dermatologic expertise. The company employs numerous research scientists, whose work goes into the development of Neutrogena and Aveeno products, as well as several other brands.
The hunt for a proper technology partner also took a fair amount of research. “We looked at a lot of technologies, and we were often disappointed,” said Sebastien Guillon, president of global beauty for Johnson & Johnson. “[But with] FitSkin’s tech, and our own science, we could actually bring the level of information and advice that can benefit our consumers.”
For Guillon, the motivation for SkinScanner was to shed light on the “overwhelming and confusing experience” about what a consumer really needs in caring for her skin. “Smart and connected technology helps us provide our consumer with personalized analyses and information she needs in real-time,” Guillon explained, “so she can make decisions that will help her achieve her best skin ever.”
The solution amounts to more than just a beefed-up camera. The technology uses computer vision, which reads and assesses the images, as well as artificial intelligence to evaluate the results and determine the regimen. And thanks to machine learning, the algorithms that power the recommendations get better over time, as more people use the tool and contribute data.
The tool is iPhone-only for now but plans are in the works to expand. “At the time of launch we’re going to supporting the iPhone 6 and above,” said Molly Garris, senior manager of digital strategy for Neutrogena’s U.S. beauty division. “We know [Android phones are] even harder, because there are so many manufacturers. But we want to capture consumer demand for Androids as well.”
The Neutrogena Skin360 app and SkinScanner tool will launch later this year for $49.99 on Neutrogena‘s web site. To be among the first to try it, visit http://www.skin360app.com. The company also plans to offer demos of the SkinScanner accessory and the Skin360 app at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas next week.