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Today’s technology, tomorrow’s skincare
By Rajan Kholia 27 Jun 2020

Just as the world is filled with a variety of people; skin and skin types are just as unique. Whether they differ by colour or texture, our skin is desperate for its own specific needs to be met, yet some of us are still reluctant to invest in skincare. That being said, technological advances have made individual skin assessments all the more accessible - so there truly are no more excuses! And yes… that includes us boys, too.

Solution: AI

It’s a shame that the body’s biggest organ (yes, it’s our skin) quite often receives the least amount of attention. A lot of the times when we stumble across problems with our skin, we usually brush it under the rug, or admit that recommended remedies are just too complicated to research about and follow through with. But with the help of AI and machine learning, it could take just a quick selfie for an entirely customised skincare routine, backed by thousands of data entries, to be right at your fingertips.

Curology does exactly this. By reviewing your selfie, along with a short questionnaire, Curology will designate a professional medical advisor who specialises in making the specific skincare regime that is unique to your skin, all through machine learning. [1] It’s important to note that the products that come to your doorstep will be customised specifically to meet your individual skin needs, and such custom formulas are used to treat acne, wrinkles and many textural concerns. [1]

Haut.AI is an Estonian company that takes pride in acknowledging that even though beauty may be subjective, the health of our skin is objective. By collecting, storing, managing and analysing skin-related data using computer vision and machine learning algorithms, Haut.AI helps clients formulate new products and speed-up R&D and manufacturing. [2] But for an individual, Haut.AI can use a simple selfie and compare it to over 1 million face and skin images to eventually provide you with a personalised skincare and lifestyle recommendation using AI engines. [2] Over 25 skin and face parameters are analysed in this process, to ensure skin dynamics can be individually assessed and the effects of certain products can be simulated. Haut.AI takes further steps to ensure your skincare treatment is adjusted to your climate, geography, health status [2] and even the products that you have been using since you can remember.

Deep learning with CNN

7 people die from melanoma every day.[3] Early detection and diagnosis is obviously very crucial to fight this. But could it be possible that deep learning via a convolution neural network (CNN) could be more reliable than a dermatologist? It turns out that in a 2018 study published in the Annals of Oncology, it was found that a CNN correctly detected 95% of melanomas whereas a panel of 58 dermatologists from 17 different countries correctly identified only 86.6% of melanomas, on average. [4] This demonstrated that the CNN had a higher sensitivity than dermatologists since fewer melanomas were missed and it also had a higher specificity since fewer benign moles were mistakenly identified as melanomas, which would result is fewer unnecessary surgeries. This particular CNN was trained with over 100,000 images of benign and malignant moles and skin cancers, improving its detection rate every time a new image was introduced for training. [4]

Even though deep learning in this context is overwhelmingly impressive, there still is very little chance that future dermatologists will be replaced by such neural networks. It’s likely that such AI tools will be used as a ‘second opinion’ since clearly their ability is shockingly remarkable.

Onwards and upwards

Skincare and skin awareness are clearly key for the improvement of our skin’s health and its maintenance. Now, with the help of AI and machine learning, many sites and software have been developed which make the most out of the impressive ability of such technologies. As individuals then, we truly have a myriad of opportunities to analyse and improve our skin, with no more excuses revolving around not having the time to go down the rabbit hole of intensive online research. If AI can now be implemented to provide customised skincare regimens, then we truly should make the most of it, even if it’s just another excuse to take a cheeky selfie. Let’s stop ignoring our skin and its needs… and don’t forget your SPF!

  1. https://curology.com/why-curology/
  2. https://haut.ai/
  3. https://www.melanomauk.org.uk/statistics
  4. https://www.esmo.org/newsroom/press-office/artificial-intelligence-skin-cancer-diagnosis

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