Samsung vs the cosmetics industry

Would you trust a mobile phone company to provide you with medical care? That is just one of many questions that spring to mind when you see Samsung’s prototype offering to the world of dermatology, the S-Skin.

According to Samsung’s slick marketing video (see above), the device – at this stage still only a concept and unlikely to make it into full-scale production – is designed as a replacement for professional skincare from a dermatologist. Designers are hoping to win over potential customers with the promise of reduced cost and time savings.

How does it work?

S-Skin has three components: a smartphone app, ‘microneedle’ patches, and a portable LED light device. The light device, a rounded cube similar in style to a speaker, uses sensors to analyse your skin type and sends the information it gathers to your phone using Bluetooth.

The app then combines data from the portable device with what it can learn about your local environment and answers you give to questionnaires. S-Skin then serves up a personalised skincare plan, using the microneedle patches and LED light therapy using electronics contained in the portable device.

Is it more than just elegant design?

Some consumers may be attracted by the concept of S-Skin however. At this point, however, it is far from clear that the prototype will ever become anything more. Quite apart from the challenges of gaining legal approval for what will most likely be seen by authorities as a medical device, the treatments S-Skin is designed to use are not supported by medical evidence.

LED light skin therapy has no shortage of proponents online, the lack of scientific or clinical evidence of its effectiveness is conspicuous. If Samsung genuinely hopes to gain regulatory approval for the device from bodies such as the UK’s MHRA, providing proof that S-Skin is an effective, and safe, method of diagnosis and treatment – not just a piece of elegant design – will be a major challenge.

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