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Portable Skin Exams are More than Skin Deep
By Brad Frischkorn

Dutch photographic skill and Apple iPad technology have been combined to create one of the most comprehensive portable diagnostic kits for skin care ever seen.

Seikosha Co, Ltd., a 40-year-old Tokyo-based company that specializes in marketing health, beauty and nutrition-related products, has partnered with Sylton Diagnostic Systems of the Netherlands to handle the latter’s newest high-tech skin analyzer, the Observ 520.

Sylton's machine looks like an oversized egg on the outside, but functions as kind of facial photo booth on the inside, and works on the principle of skin fluorescence. The machine is equipped with a patented technology which reveals skin fluorescence by exposing the skin with a low dose of UV rays which allow for a barrage of looks at the epidermis via several modes: daylight, simulated Wood’s light (a hybrid UV) mode, true UV mode, parallel-polarization mode, cross-polarization mode, and complexion analysis.

Next, all of the photos are transferred to an iPad, which is connected by Bluetooth to an app downloadable directly from iTunes. The images are ready almost instantaneously, and provide skin diagnosis with startling clarity. The photos can reveal areas where there is a loss of structural skin integrity, pigmentary disorders, fine lines, lipid film distribution, secretions, vascular conditions, and also demonstrate the protective value of sunscreens. Images can be further manipulated for side-by-side comparisons, sharing, full-face imaging, and integrating into a client database.

The entire system is portable, and can be packed in a 33cm x 43cm x 63cm padded travel bag weighing no more than 6.8kg.

“It doesn’t look like it to the naked eye, but human skin cells emit trace amounts of visible light in such a way that skin conditions can be easily be identified by the unique colors and patterns that become fluorescent when exposed,” says Seikosha CEO Shuichi Matsumura. “It’s an eye-opening experience for people who have never looked at their skin in such an intrusive way.”

Mr. Matsumura faced long lines of curious ladies anxious for a free try of the Observ 520 at a recent Beautyworld Japan trade fair in Odaiba. After just a few seconds, the photos appear on the iPad. For each participant, Mr. Matsumura flips through the shots in order, pointing out – often to gasps of astonishment -- dry and oily skin areas, discolorations, unnoticed wrinkles, points of aging and possible melanoma trouble spots. He then recommends changes in diet, skin protection and cosmetic regimes.

Seikosha has begun marketing the machine in Japan at a listed retail price of 1,280,000 yen.

“Successful skin treatments are dependent on a skilled skin practitioner’s ability to take an in-depth patient history, a visual skin analysis, and the ability to interpret results and plan an effective program of care, writes Kate Bancroft, a UK-based registered nurse and contributor to skin care blog site Face the Future who bought one of the machines in late 2014. “The real benefit of the Observ is that by taking accurate clinical photographs at the start of a treatment plan, we can continuously monitor progress,” she says.

Read more:




Observ 520 skin analyzer

“It’s an eye-opening experience for people who have never looked at their skin in such an intrusive way.” -- Shuichi Matsumura

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