Anti-aging & Cosmeceutical Corner

Skin Analyzers Shine Light on Aging and UV Damage

By Navin M. Geria, VP-R&D, SpaDermaceuticals | December 1, 2008

Consumers who visit high-end department stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue and Bergdorf Goodman can’t miss the impressive looking skin analyzers that are prominently displayed on beauty counters. These contraptions can also be found in medical spas and doctors’ offices. While some dermatologists say that these devices can help reduce future skin damage, others insist that they strike fear in the heart of consumers, who often feel pressured into buying high-priced anti-aging products after they see the condition of  their skin.
This column will briefly review some skin analyzers, how they work and the benefits they provide.
Facial Skin Analysis is very simple. These analyzers should be considered non-surgical aesthetic devices that help consumers effectively maintain their youth and vitality with minimal downtime. They are fast (provide results in less than an hour) and inexpensive because they are usually a value-added service.
One side of the face rests inside the box to capture passport-size images of every pore, every wrinkle and every spot. These analyzers provide quantifiable data to tell us if facial peels, laser treatments, and microdermabrasions are doing their job in restoring healthy skin. Medical skin care specialists may use detailed photo analyses to compare a patient’s skin condition to those of similar age and gender.
Facial skin analysis can be used to show consumers what causes premature aging and convinces them to take the proper steps to avoid it. The procedure enables consumers to see how sun damage can impact their appearance 10-15 years in the future.

Key Skin Analyzers

Fast Optical In-Vivo Topometry of human Skin (FOITS) is a new approach to measure the skin surface without touching it. Three-dimensional information may be obtained from the skin surface in less than a second. The technique replaces or complements skin replicas (profilomeatry) to study wrinkles.
UV damage is readily apparent using Visia  analysis.
Cosmetrics enables technicians to accurately quantify the effect of a product by extracting data from live skin. It works in conjunction with Spectrophotometric Intra-cutaneous Analysis (SIAscopy) to validate the effects of products applied to the skin that ultimately affect hemoglobin, melanin and collagen. SIAscopy discriminates the way light interacts with the skin, the manner in which it scatters or bounces, the amount absorbed by the cells and other structures, as well as wavelength or color changes. It is thus able to determine the nature and position of many of the different components of the skin, including key chromospheres within the skin. It also is able to determine whether melanin is in the top layer of the skin or if it has migrated into the papillary dermis.1
Visia enables both quantitative and subjective analysis of skin features and the technology provides access to the makeup of a customer’s skin.2 It maps the face and provides eight skin condition measurements, including pigmentation, spots, pores, wrinkles, texture and UV damage. Visia reveals in detail how much sun damage has occurred and the full extent of problems such as wrinkles and acne. Besides providing an accurate image of skin, this equipment can “age” the face to show how it may look in the future—and how procedures such as rhinoplasty, eyelid surgery and facelifts may appear down the road. Visia can also show consumers how they compare to their peers, by comparing their profile with others from an international skin-imaging database with more than one million records. The equipment stores images for future reference, providing a useful before and after record for the consumer to see the benefits of cosmetic treatments.
Complexion analysis, introduced by Procter & Gamble in 2003 to objectively measure skin improvements from its Olay skin care line, can reveal the severity of various conditions such as fine lines and wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, large pores, skin tone unevenness, porphyrins (bacterial growth) and sun damage.
By generating images of how skin may age, consumers can get a better understanding of how to care for their skin and what measures they must take to prevent them from getting worse. Before and after skin analysis photographs are great motivational tools for consumers who want to delay premature aging.


1.    Astron Clinica Co.
2.    Canfield Imaging Systems, NJ.

About the Author
Navin Geria is vice president of research and development for SpaDermaceuticals, Martinsville, NJ. He has more than 30 years of experience in the personal care industry and was previously with Pfizer, Warner-Lambert, Schick, Bristol-Myers and, most recently, LeDerma Consumer Products Laboratories. He has earned over 15 U.S. patents, has been published in cosmetic trade magazines and has been both a speaker and moderator at cosmetic industry events.
E-mail: tokuho02@
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