from The Buzz

by Nick Greenhalgh

Do you live in the ever-changing weather of New England or the dry heat of the Southwest? Is your skin typically dry, oily, maybe both? Do you burn or bronze under the summer sun?

Despite what the big beauty companies portray, the skin care industry is complex and one size does not fit all.

Most companies create a few generic archetypes based on skin types and release products to service that narrow market.

Meghan Maupin found that out through her own personal experience and is now part of the team looking to shake up the skin care industry through personalization and customization.

“I had no idea what to choose and I had no idea what works for me,” she said of the current skin care products available.

Maupin, Nava Haghighi, and Sid Salvi met this fall at MIT and launched Atolla Skin Lab, a custom skin care company that uses unique skin data to make a personalized skin care formulation.

They take into account age, season and environment, as well as moisture, oil and pH levels to concoct a skin care product that fits the customer’s specific needs.

They also use machine vision technology to quantify skin attributes visually, such as sun damage, redness, wrinkles and others.

“What we’ve learned is that a lot of people think skin care isn’t made for them, they’re just hacking through it,” said Salvi.

Since launching, Atolla Skin Lab has hosted a series of pop-up events to meet customers and gather skin data for their algorithm.

During an on-site visit, the Atolla team can create a personalized skin care sample within 10 minutes for the customer to try. If they like the sample, they can order a three-month supply from Atolla’s website.

What differentiates Atolla Skin Lab is their willingness to change and adapt with specific customer needs.

“We have an evolving product that’s not a one size fits all,” Haghighi said.

Through their algorithm, Atolla can measure if a formulation is working and adjust it based on any changes in the customers skin.

“We provide them a skin profile which has all their skin health data and insights. So, like a Fitbit for your skin,” Maupin said.

Over the next six months, Atolla Skin Lab is looking to ramp up their customer acquisition and build out their direct to consumer model. They’re creating a home kit, complete with a skin analyzer tool, so Atolla can reach customers near and far.

“We’re trying to reach communities not served by the mass beauty market,” Maupin said.