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Amorepacific Develops Skincare’s First Wireless E-Skin

September 15, 2022
September 15, 2022
Amorepacific x MIT

Skincare holds a dominant position in the beauty industry, owning 42% of the market share. Today, beauty consumers are caring more for their skin than ever before, with skincare revenue predicted to grow to $177 billion by 2025. In recent years, impressive innovations have been made within this category, with developments such as e-skins. E-skins are prosthetic devices that can mimic the sense of touch and analyze the skin's data, offering the ability to provide synthetic wound care and new drug delivery systems. To continue the development of e-skins that tackle direct concerns, Amorepacific, alongside the nanoelectronics research team at MIT, has created the first chipless wireless wearable e-skin patch, a vital innovation for dermatology.

The e-skin is not the first breakthrough innovation for the company; Amorepacific's R&I center has developed a range of customized beauty technologies for the global market, including the Mind-Linked Bathbot, a robot-like device that analyzes consumers' brain waves in order to understand their emotions and create a personalized bath bomb.

Amorepacific funded the e-skin device research, working alongside Professor Jeehwan Kim and his team at MIT. The brand began supporting MIT scientists to research and develop future skin electronic devices in 2017, with the initial outcome of the partnership produced in 2021. Recently, the team announced the development of an e-skin that could minimize sweat getting trapped at the interface between the patch and human skin, allowing long-term wearability and skin monitoring.

Junmin Suh, a postdoctoral researcher within Professor Jeehwan Kim's team, tells BeautyMatter, "The recent publication of the chip-less wireless electronic skin device summarizes these efforts and is now collecting numerous interests. Our group sincerely appreciates the patience and continuous support during the last five years from Amorepacific for this project, and these outcomes could not have been made without them."

The latest iteration sees the e-skin technology upgraded to a breathable patch format, enabled by epitaxial freestanding compound semiconductors. These types of semiconductors allow the growth of crystalline materials that follow the crystallographic information of a substance, enabling the production of extremely high-quality compound semiconductor films. These semiconductors can be transferred into flexible substrates to make high-performance flexible electronics or electronic skins, resulting in the chipless wireless wearable e-skin.

"What kick-started this research was a question nagging one of our researchers while on a flight, wondering whether it would be possible to accurately measure how dry and sensitive our skin gets at 35,000 ft," says Park Young-Ho, Head of Amorepacific's R&I Center. To investigate this question, the team set out to use single-crystalline freestanding compound semiconductors to create multifunctional e-skin devices.

The e-skin is sweatproof and patterned with artificial human sweat ducts, ensuring sweat droplets can permeate the device. This prevents skin irritation and the patches from falling off, avoiding any interference with the device's skin-analyzing technology. The ultra-thin skin patches are also the first e-skins that don't require batteries, circuit chips, or other integrated elements to assist power.

Amorepacific predicts that the skincare patches will change the utilization of e-skins, shifting the paradigm for similar developments to feature long-term wearability and power-efficient wireless communication models that are sensitive enough for everyday use. The device is said to accurately measure the wearer's skin temperature, respiration, and many other components, even in demanding environments, prompting further research into cosmetic developments that can endure the unrelenting conditions of various climates.

"This remarkable scientific achievement has played a major role in raising the bar in skin research, with findings and ongoing data that will help us develop new products across all our brands, including Sulwhasoo. The e-skin will enable us to provide customers worldwide with the most scientifically advanced beauty products and skin solutions," Park Young-Ho concludes.

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