Something new is coming to skincare. Dr. Sajani Barot, CEO and founder of The Skin Consult, is merging tech and beauty by launching the first-ever AI-enabled telehealth marketplace focused on skincare needs.
Dr. Barot has a Doctor of Pharmacy and a background in pharmaceuticals, FDA regulations, and product development, but her inspiration for designing the platform springs from her personal journey as a patient with skincare challenges. “I developed acne and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation when I moved from Chicago to Mississippi,” she remembers. “The stress and change of climate wreaked havoc on my skin. I tried local dermatologists and med spas, but couldn’t find answers. They all gave the same generic advice.”
Dr. Barot spent countless hours researching ingredients, reading websites, and contacting professionals. “There are so many products on the market,” she says. “Deciding what was safe for my particular skin type, and what was not, became overwhelming. I came to understand that the skincare industry is far less regulated than pharmaceuticals. Given my background in clinical research, I felt a need to provide people with an evidence-based means of finding skincare solutions easily.”
The lack of regulations in skincare and cosmetic products leads most consumers to purchase products based on trial and error or recommendations from friends. After all, brands in this industry regularly make claims that are not even validated by clinical studies. Dr. Barot determined tech was the only way to help consumers access accurate skincare recommendations. She has over a decade’s experience working on clinical trials, has helped launch six FDA-approved medications, and has supported hundreds of medical and clinical presentations in fields ranging from cardiology to oncology. Here are five ways her innovative digital platform brings much-needed transparency to the wild west of the skincare industry
1. The Skin Consult is compiling a worldwide community of trusted skincare professionals and aesthetic providers
The Skin Consult is connecting consumers with skincare professionals both online and in their own communities. The platform has a team of licensed, fully-vetted skincare professionals ready to provide online telehealth consultations. In addition, Dr. Barot is utilizing the worldwide reach of the internet to accumulate a database of trusted professionals in the skincare field. “We are building a robust marketplace showcasing aesthetic providers from around the globe,” she says. “The information we gather on each provider enables consumers to research, compare, and make informed decisions.”
The Skin Consult collects peer reviews and social media content about each provider. For the first time, all the relevant data is in one location. “When seeking a consultation, most people rely on google searches, word of mouth, or trial and error,” says Dr. Barot. “Visiting doctor after doctor to address your skincare needs is inconvenient and ineffective. Our platform streamlines the process and makes it manageable.”
2. The Skin Consult’s recommendation algorithms help consumers locate services and products
The Skin Consult boasts a team of fully-vetted, online professionals ready to answer clients’ questions, but the platform also offers another form of consultation. “Our proprietary recommendation algorithms help consumers find personalized services and products that they can book or purchase from aesthetic providers in their area,” remarks Dr. Barot.
Online sales of skincare products are increasing dramatically. Compared to pre-pandemic statistics, a recent survey finds that 53% of consumers today buy more of their skincare and beauty products online. While these consumers want to make their purchases via the internet, they lack science-based criteria to help them decide. The survey finds that 99% rely on ratings and reviews when shopping for beauty products online. Of these customers, 79% focus on average star rating, 58% care about the overall volume of reviews, and 49% say they look for recent review content. By comparison, The Skin Consult provides ground-breaking AI-enabled tech allowing online shoppers to get personalized, evidence-based answers to their questions at any hour of the day.
3. The Skin Consult enables skincare professionals to offer science-backed services and products
The newest and latest skincare products are everywhere, and almost all of them make miraculous claims. Skincare professionals offering tested products are finding it difficult to compete with the flashy claims of online products at lower prices.
“The Skin Consult is building e-commerce and booking tools that enable medical experts to offer science-backed services and products through an online marketplace,” says Dr. Barot. “Professional brands typically sold through medspas or doctors’ offices are moving onto the e-commerce space, but creating high-traffic websites for a local med spa or dermatology office is expensive and time-consuming. Our marketplace enables professionals to share their brands with a wider market and continue to bring patients into their doors for services as consumers find their recommendations.”
4. The Skin Consult provides holistic treatment options from doctors and other licensed wellness professionals
The Skin Consult offers a holistic approach. “We aim to tackle skincare as it relates to the entire mind and body,” Dr. Barot comments. “Our platform opens access to other doctors and licensed wellness professionals who can benefit the skincare consumer.”
The platform has compiled data from over 1,000 patient surveys. These questionnaires indicate that consumers want advice from dermatologists, but also from estheticians, pharmacists, and wellness coaches. In response, The Skin Consult’s beta-version marketplace has already onboarded 35 providers, including doctors, PAs, pharmacists, and estheticians.
5. The Skin Consult enables consumers to discover the market’s newest clinical and science-backed skincare brands
How can average consumers know which products to trust in such an unregulated industry? The Skin Consult offers a platform to promote clinically-researched and science-backed skincare brands that often get overshadowed in a flooded market.
“Every day, there are new brands launching in a very crowded space,” remarks Dr. Barot. “A trusted platform can help the best of these brands stand out and continue to be available to the public. Our marketplace offers a place for consumers to find the lesser-known brands that are vetted by experts in the field.”
This highly personalized e-commerce marketplace and booking platform is set to merge tech and beauty by the end of 2022. Medspa or dermatology professionals can connect today to establish pilot partnerships.