L’Oréal unveiled a new prototype at the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show this week called My Skin Track pH by La Roche-Posay. The new device is the first wearable sensor and companion app to measure personal skin pH levels easily. Users can use the data collected by the wearable to create a customized product regimen to better care for their skin.

My Skin Track pH picked up a CES 2019 Innovation Award at this year’s event and was named a “Best of Innovation” winner in the Wearable Technology Products category. The sensor was co-developed with L’Oréal’s skincare brand La Roche-Posay, which works closely with dermatologists to develop safe and effective skincare products.

My Skin Track pH is a small, thin, flexible sensor. The device measures individual skin pH levels by using microfluidic technology. The device captures trace amounts of sweat from skin pores through a network of micro-channels, providing an accurate pH reading within 15 minutes.

While previous methods of measuring skin pH levels required rigid electronics or large sweat samples, My Skin Track pH captures and generates accurate readings from nearly imperceptible quantities of sweat.

To use My Skin Track pH, the wearer places the sensor on their inner arm, leaving it in place for 5-15 minutes—until the center two dots take on color. Next, the wearer opens the My Skin Track pH app and photographs the sensor. The app uses an algorithm to accurately reads the pH measurement; the wearer’s local sweat loss; and the rate of perspiration on the skin’s surface; to assess skin health and make customized La Roche-Posay product recommendations to care for skin and balance pH.

“The scientific and medical communities have long known the link between skin pH levels and common skin concerns that millions of people experience every day,” says Guive Balooch, Global Vice President of the L’Oréal Technology Incubator, an arm of L’Oréal’s Research & Innovation Division. “Our goal is to use this advanced technology to empower consumers with meaningful information about their skin so that they can find the products that are right for their individual needs. At L’Oréal, we know that health is the future of beauty and we are committed to leveraging technology to bring powerful insights and solutions to our consumers.”

The pH scale ranges from acidic to basic, on a spectrum measured from 0 to 14. According to the company, healthy skin pH exists within the slightly acidic range between 4.5 and 5.5. When pH balance is compromised, it can trigger inflammatory responses in the skin. The company states “such responses can cause or exacerbate common skin concerns including dryness, eczema, and atopic dermatitis.” 

Millions of Americans suffer from these conditions; according to the National Eczema Association, 1 in 10 Americans (31.6 million) have some form of eczema.

“pH is a leading indicator of skin health,” says Professor Thomas Luger, Head of the Department of Dermatology, University of Münster, Germany. “It is something my patients ask about, but until now it has been very challenging to measure skin pH outside of a clinical setting. This tool has the potential to inspire consumers to adopt healthier skincare habits and empower medical professionals with an entirely new way to recommend skincare regimens.”

My Skin Track pH was created by L’Oréal in partnership with Epicore Biosystems, the industry leader in microfluidic platforms and soft wearable sensors. Epicore Biosystems’ technology is based on over two decades of microfluidic and soft materials research in Professor John Rogers’ Laboratory at Northwestern University’s Center for Bio-Integrated Electronics and the Simpson Querrey Institute.

“Epicore is thrilled to collaborate with L’Oréal, an expert in skincare science, to create a new use-case for this technology that drives new research and understanding around skin pH,” says Roozbeh Ghaffari, PhD, co-founder and CEO of Epicore Biosystems.

“This new prototype represents the next step in La Roche-Posay’s beauty tech journey. We are committed to bringing scientific progress directly to consumers, to help them take great care of their skin,” said Laetitia Toupet, Global General Manager of La Roche-Posay.

My Skin Track pH will initially be introduced in 2019 through select La Roche-Posay dermatologists in the U.S., with the goal of amassing new research and ultimately launching a direct-to-consumer product.