It lets health professionals filter and categorize the products available on the market based on their ingredients and features
It offers skin care laboratories the chance to raise their profile and obtain metrics on the demand for their products
Between 20% and 25% of the world's population suffer from some kind of allergy, and around 50% have sensitive skin. For many of these people, finding the right skin care product for their needs and skin type is like finding a needle in a haystack. The same is true for health professionals, who find it hard to make recommendations to patients and clients due to the wide range of products on the market.
InSkin has been created as a solution to this problem. The tool allows doctors and pharmacists to search for products taking into account their ingredients and features. InSkin gives them the chance to select or filter out ingredients or to set the formulation, area of application, brand and purpose (e.g. protection from the sun, healing, hygiene or anti-ageing), to make the recommendation that best fits the person in question.
Paula Ferrer, neuroscientist and graduate in Psychology from the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC) presented the InSkin project at the 2023 SpinUOC, the university's entrepreneurship and knowledge transfer programme, organized by the Hubbik platform, at which it won the audience award.
Video with Paula Ferrer presenting InSkin at SpinUOC 2023
A solution to a growing problem
InSkin is a tool targeted at health professionals who, every day, are asked to recommend skin care products that meet the needs and preferences of their patients and clients. Thanks to this new search engine, doctors and pharmacists can filter and categorize the ingredients of the products on the market, to quickly and effectively find the one best suited to each given case.
"InSkin helps expedite and streamline the professional's work, allowing them to make evidence-based, safe and effective recommendations for skin care," explained Ferrer, who is a co-founder of the project. "With our platform, professionals will have up-to-date insight into the products on the market, saving time and ensuring safety in their consultations."
InSkin meets an ever-growing need. According to the World Allergy Organization (WAO), between 20% and 25% of the world's population suffer from some kind of allergy and close to 50% suffer from sensitive skin. "A number of epidemiological studies show that there is an increasing amount of allergic disorders in Westernized societies, where there is also a growing public awareness and concern around skin care," added Ferrer.
All this leads to more visits to pharmacists, dermatologists and allergists to find products for each particular skin type. At the same time, there is an ever-wider range of products on the market, making the job of health professionals more difficult. "Seeking out the best product for your patient or client is no easy task, and calls for a lot of time and comparing of information. InSkin provides a solution to this problem," she said.
So how does InSkin work?
The InSkin website lets people filter and categorize the skin care ingredients and products that can be purchased without a prescription. Health professionals can filter out or select ingredients from these products' formulation, and choose a brand, area of action and purpose (e.g. protection from the sun or healing).
"InSkin provides skin care product ingredient filtering that is simply not available with any other comparable tool," said Ferrer. "Imagine you're a doctor or a pharmacist and, after diagnosing a patient or client, you want to recommend skin and hair care products containing Vitamin D but no parabens or sulphates. By using InSkin's filters, you can find what you're looking for with just a click."
This means that professionals gain comprehensive insight into what's on offer in the market and can work with evidence-based information, enabling them to make swift, precisely targeted recommendations. What's more, the tool provides other features, such as the option to add a product to your favourites, consult previous recommendations or forward recommendations by email.
Skyscanner for skin care
InSkin is a tool that is useful not only for health professionals, but also for skin care laboratories, as they can raise their profile and obtain data on the demand for their products. "InSkin is Skyscanner for skin care. It works as an intermediary between laboratories and health professionals," said Ferrer.
"Our metrics provide skin care labs with data previously unavailable to them. These include which ingredients are filtered out by or most popular with health professionals. They also show how many visits are made to products and which are the most frequently recommended. This information is really valuable because it provides an in-depth picture of a brand's positioning compared with competitors and a better understanding of health professionals' needs."
This B2B model can also raise the profile of these skin care labs. "They have the chance to join a platform that, in the future, will have as its users dermatologists, allergists and pharmacists, professionals who work with and recommend their labs' products."
"Additionally, this platform gives them the opportunity to stand out, promote themselves and amend information on products as they are updated, in real time. So this makes it a kind of improved version of the Vademecum handbook," explained Ferrer.
What's next for InSkin
InSkin is an initiative co-founded by Paula Ferrer and Bet Genius, a graduate in Business Administration. The InSkin team also includes Félix Hernández (mathematician and programmer) and Mohamed Ben (a PhD in Computer Engineering and programmer). The team benefits from the support of Dr Esther Serra, a dermatologist at Barcelona's Hospital Sant Pau and Hospital Quirónsalud.
Their work is already at the beta stage and leverages partnerships with leading laboratories in the sector, such as La Roche Posay, Cantabria Labs, Avène, Vichy or Cerave. "The platform is already being used by its first users, and our chief goal is to promote the tool to achieve more", explained Ferrer. "We want to reach 200 doctors and 200 pharmacies, and start to sign official contracts with laboratories."
Right now, the team is also in contact with a pharmaceutical and medical news company. In addition to being a potential client, this could be one way of making the project known in the consumer health market (which, in Spain alone, has monthly sales of 50 million units and a turnover approaching €500 million). This goal is also helped by participating in SpinUOC.
"We've taken part in SpinUOC to make ourselves known and raise our profile in the industry and, above all, to help ensure that health professionals test us out and see the usefulness of this tool," said Ferrer. "We're really proud to have won the SpinUOC audience award. It provides recognition of our efforts and motivation. This kind of programme is of great help to entrepreneurs, and gives a boost and encouragement seeing that others also believe that the project is worthwhile."
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Graduate in Psychology