Beauty products plug in, connect to phones

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Beauty products plug in, connect to phones

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Beauty products are getting smart thanks to wearable technology.

L’Oreal, a French cosmetics company, isn’t associated with tech gadgets. But at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January, it introduced a smart wearable product called My UV Patch.

It is a stretchable, transparent skin sensor that monitors exposure to ultraviolet rays. The patch contains photosensitive dyes that factor in the baseline skin tone. The dyes change colors when exposed to UV rays, indicating varying levels of sun exposure.

The user takes a photo of the patch and uploads it to a mobile app that analyzes the amount of UV exposure.

According to L’Oreal, the patch is a smart beauty product designed to prevent skin cancer, skin aging or pigmentation changes.

French start-up Feeligreen’s dermoPatch is another such smart beauty product. The so-called anti-ageing patch uses electrical currents to treat skin cells and reduce wrinkles under users’ eyes.

Illumask, developed by U.S. start-up La Lumiere LLC, uses light emitting diodes (LED) to kill bacteria and boost skin cells. It was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Agency as a product for anti-aging and acne therapy.

Apart from skin care, Apira Science, a U.S. light-based beauty solution provider, introduced iGrow, a helmet that uses lasers to slow thinning hair. Another U.S. based company, GLO Science, invented a teeth-whitening device that utilizes LED lights.

According to Persistence Market Research, the smart beauty market is expected to grow 18.7 percent a year from what was $19.4 billion market in 2014 to $54.1 billion in 2020.

Thus, global IT companies and cosmetic companies are eyeing smart beauty business as future growth engines.

Sony recently showcased its Beauty Explorer, which examines users’ skin and suggests appropriate treatment. The company’s sensing technology is applied to take a video of users’ skin and analyze the data. The device analyzes the skin condition of the users’ face by specific parts and tells them, which part needs moisturizing.

IT related companies such as Philips, Panasonic and cosmetic companies L’Oreal and Unilever are releasing beauty care products customers can use at home.

In Korea, diverse beauty care devices such as anti-aging lasers, wrinkle lifters and ion facial massagers were released after a vibrating make-up foundation was released in the late 2000s.

AmorePacific even launched a separate brand focused on beauty care devices, MakeON, under the company. The brand sells makeup and cleansing enhancers that utilize light, heat, ion and motion.

“Consumer interest in appearance has grown and with active information sharing they are very knowledgeable about the products,” said Jeon So-young, a spokesperson from AmorePacific’s MakeON team. “Considering that smart beauty products can satisfy the needs of different customers, the smart beauty market has high growth potential.”

Way Wearable, a local start-up, came up with a smart skin care device called WAY, which analyzes skin data and lists ways to treat the skin via a smartphone app. It also measures surrounding conditions such as the rate of ultraviolet ray exposure and moisture.

Skin care or high quality beauty care services were once the realm of the wealthy due to expensive service fees. As customers are offered affordable smart beauty products, the market has expanded.

“In the overseas market, Korean cosmetics products dubbed ‘K Beauty’ are already very popular,” said Choi Jong-woo, an international trade consultant at Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency. “Korea will be able to open up a new export market once it successfully combines the two leading sectors in the nation, IT and beauty.”

BY SOHN HAE-YONG [kim.jeehee@joongang.co.kr]

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