We’ve all been there before and made the same mistake. While surfing along on Instagram or Facebook, we click on that too-good-to-be-true advertisement promising no more under-eye bags, no more acne, or that you’ll possess the skin of a goddess. The result is usually a product that costs hundreds of dollars and doesn’t come close to living up to the hype.
If you’re feeling any sense of embarrassment for falling for the con, don’t. Dr. Sajani Barot, the founder of The Skin Consult and a mother of three, faced the same issues, and she has a Doctor of Pharmacy degree.
“It’s been a decade-long journey that started with my troubles with skin,” explained Dr. Barot. “I was in a place where I was getting consumed with what’s on the market, buying the most popular products and not knowing what to do. I was making it worse rather than helping my skin.”
Dr. Barot understands your pain because she has been on the other side, buying product after product, wasting time and money with beauty club memberships, most offering unsatisfactory results.
Her journey with skincare began in 2012 when she moved from Chicago to Jackson, Mississippi. The drastic climate change, from windy with frigid cold to humid and almost Florida-like heat, resulted in a change of skin that she found challenging to manage.
After an arduous and frantic search for answers, Dr. Barot decided to take matters into her own hands.
“There was no methodological way of building an evidence-based skincare routine. Despite visiting local dermatologists and a couple of med spas, I did not get the help I needed and the personalized concierge skincare education and consultations that I was seeking. Everything was clubbed with a ‘service.’ I was so desperate to speak to someone who understood my skin, how to manage acne, and put together a routine for me. Over time, I found this was something many women struggle with.”
Social media does not make the process any easier. “We are being thrown a lot of skincare marketing into our face. As consumers, we don’t know what’s accurate and what’s not. So many influencers have become skincare experts without proper training or knowledge of how ingredients work, pharmaceutics, product formulation, skin science.”
Taking matters into her own hands, Dr. Barot was inspired to educate the social community about how skincare ingredients work, and how to identify and use products correctly.
“I saw people resonate with this and seek further guidance on effectively selecting routines and getting help for their skin woes. This ultimately led me to seek a solution to this problem, which is how my business, The Skin Consult was born.”
Dr. Barot started by giving free consultations to friends who needed her help. After hours of researching products and putting together routines based on a quiz she created, she realized there was a way to make the process more streamlined and efficient.
“Right around the time we went into nationwide shutdown, I decided to turn this idea into a marketplace,” said Dr. Barot. “There are many knowledgeable skincare professionals out there, but the challenge is we don’t know how to find them and how to know who is good. This was one problem I wanted to solve.”
Dr. Barot created online software to be used by approved skincare professionals, such as aestheticians. The system allows these vetted professionals to list their profiles, their availability and can be easily booked for virtual, vide-based skincare consultations.
The goal was to make The Skin Consult a data-driven recommendation platform, which is what the medical world has always relied upon to make decisions. Dr. Barot brought this methodology to the skincare world.
The Science Behind the Method
The foundation of The Skin Consult is the science:
The Skin Consult vets every product approved and added into their algorithm. This means that they request any clinical trial data available, review their ingredient panel, assess their marketing claims for that product to make sure it matches their ingredient profile, and conduct an in-house trial test of the product. All these criteria are used to decide and verify the product.
The Skin Consult algorithm is based on peer-reviewed published literature on skincare active ingredients, and 50-plus data points collected from users during the consultation booking process. Based on this, the AI-enabled algorithm makes skincare routine recommendations to the provider during the live consultation.
“I believe in skincare technology, but the skin care professionals’ experience is also essential,” explained Dr. Barot. “This is why our system gives recommendations to the provider who uses these recommendations for all products, for a routine during the consultation, and builds an extremely personalized regimen for the user.”
Where AI Meets Skin Care
Dr. Barot says the future of skincare has arrived in artificial intelligence, or AI.
“We are entering into a decade of beauty technology. I see a few other players using AI to map facial analysis and make product recommendations. What I don’t see is mapping recommendations based on real evidence-based data. Over time, a true AI model should teach itself how to identify certain input signals and make appropriate recommendations. Most AI models in the beauty world currently don’t do this.”
Looking to the Future of Skin Care
Dr. Barot understands that technology can be overwhelming. “Technology is not the solution to every problem. It’s only a means of solving a problem more efficiently.”
“Uber did not go and build a fancy app when it first launched its business. They first solved the unique problem of getting people to use something other than taxis to get a ride in cities where it’s hard to catch a cab.”
Dr. Barot’s passion for connecting the consumer to science-backed skincare regimens and professionals led to the birth of this unique marketplace and the first digital clinic dedicated to evidence-based skincare. Just like Uber revolutionized city-wide transportation, The Skin Consult is revolutionizing care for your skin.