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Technology helps spot skin problems before they surface

February 6, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
Wrinkles, brown spots, acne and sun damage - there are all kinds of skin issues to worry about. Beauty is only skin deep, and what you do now could determine how you will look later.

Now doctors are using new technology called a Skin Analysis Machine to spot problems underneath the skin and treat them before you can even see them.

"We can see certain things with our eyes, but we can't see below the surface," said Dr. Barry DiBernardo, MD, medical director of New Jersey Plastic Surgery in Montclair, NJ.

The machine takes a 3-D snapshot and compares it to 5,000 people of the same age and skin type. You can see sun damage, pore size, wrinkles and bacteria. It can also show you what you'll look like in 10 years.

The right treatments can slow aging down, but Dr. DiBernardo says there are a lot of things we do wrong. Many people think collagen can help with wrinkles, but Dr. DiBernardo says this is not true.

"Just by taking a molecule and putting it on the surface doesn't mean that it gets under the skin," he said.

Does sunscreen with SPF over 30 make a difference? Yes, the higher numbers filter out slightly more UVB rays and can add up over time.

Are facials really good for your skin? Actually no, a study out of India found they cause breakouts in 80 percent of people.

Finally, can food protect your face against sunburns? In one recent study, participants who consumed five tablespoons of tomato paste daily for three months had nearly 25 percent more protection against sunburn.

DiBernardo says your best bets to help you look younger are lasers, fillers and other skin resurfacing therapies your doctor can prescribe. The skin analysis typically costs about $100.

BACKGROUND: Covering a total area of about 20 square feet of the human body, and weighing between six and nine pounds the skin is the largest organ. The skin has many functions and is made up of layers that protect the inner organs of your body. Your skin separates the inside of your body from the outside world. It can also give important insight in one's overall health. Some functions of skin are:

  • Protecting you from bacteria and viruses that can cause infections
  • Helping you to sense the outside world, such as whether it is hot or cold, wet or dry
  • Regulating your body temperature
Everyone experiences skin problems at some point in their life. Skin issues could include wrinkles, brown spots, red blotchy patches, acne, sun damage, skin tags, skin fungus, or skin rash. Doctors are beginning to use a new method in determining what the skin problem could be. In fact, new technology has developed to determine the problem before it even surfaces; the Skin Analysis Machine. The machine can tell the patient what is happening beneath their skin.

HOW IT WORKS: The patient places their cheek in the machine. The machine takes a 3-D snapshot of your face and compares the image to 5,000 people the same age with the same skin type. It takes count of wrinkles, crow's feet, sun spots, bacteria, and pore size. The machine also has the capability to tell the patient what they will look like in 10 years without treatment. The doctor, aesthetician, or skin-care specialist will then suggest treatments to help prevent what could happen to their skin.


  • Laser treatment, which treats sun damaged skin
  • Anti-wrinkle creams
  • Spot reducing medicines can be prescribed by doctor


  • Doctors' offices: The use of the machine usually costs about $100, but varies with doctor. The doctor will prescribe treatment.
  • Medical spas: A consultation is usually free, but varies on the spa. The specialist will prescribe treatment.

BRAND OF SKIN ANALYSIS MACHINES: They range from hand held devises to huge computers in doctors' offices and medical spas. Brands include Canfield Imaging Systems, the Visia machine, Profect Facial Studio Photography System, and BTBP Clarity.