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The Portable Skin Doctor
By Brad Frischkorn

Despite being the single largest organ of the body, the skin probably goes the most unloved, given its exposure to all of the natural elements, along with the plethora of man-made toxins in the environment.

Taiwan-based biotech start-up VesCir has found a way to help people understand their skin condition and focus on solutions to giving it a much-deserved break.

The firm’s Defiderm product shrinks the power of a laboratory level analyzer to pocket size, and provides treatment recommendations based on its analysis.

The chic, palm-sized device works by bio-photon detection to determine tissue densities at the bottom layer of the skin. Biophotons comprise the light in the ultraviolet and low visible light range that is produced by living tissue. Not to be confused with bioluminescence, which is produced chemically by jellyfish and fireflies, biophotons are detectable above background thermal radiation emitted by tissues at normal temperature.

The Defiderm scans the skin from above, after which its software algorithms help to determine important skin characteristics such as skin moisturize, and oxygen and melanin levels.

All of the levels are transmitted by Bluetooth to a smart phone app, which then makes a recommendation as to the most suitable skin care product on the market to address the condition. The app also keeps track of personal skin history so that trends and habits can be identified.

The Defiderm could fill an interesting niche in the market, helped by its collaboration with French cosmetics maker Sephora. The machine made a splash at the Techcrunch Disrupt 2015 expo in San Francisco, impressing observers with its potential. Few other portable devices can tout the same abilities (South Korea’s Genie Skin comes to mind), so Defiderm may be looking at a good opportunity.

Medical statistics certainly point in the direction of a growing need for better skin assessment technology. In the United States the incidence of melanoma has increased 15 times in the last 40 years – the most rapid increase of any form of cancer.

Allergic skin reactions to preservatives such as methylisothiazolinone, which is used with near ubiquity in wipes, soaps, and hair care and cleaning products, are on the increase.

The British Association of Dermatologists has announced that a condition known as ‘mobile phone dermatitis’ is becoming more prevalent as skin reacts negatively to the nickel used extensively in phone handsets. This results in reddening, inflammation, blistering, drying and cracking.

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Defiderm skin analyzer

The Defiderm works non-invasively, scanning the skin from above, after which its software algorhythms help to determine important skin characteristics such as skin moisturize, and oxygen and melanin levels.

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