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Skin Ninja aims for accountability in skincare

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by Startacus Admin

Skin Ninja - The health-tech startup that'll help you make informed decisions when buying skincare products and cosmetics...

skin ninjaWe all know that cosmetics are packed full of harmful ingredients such as parabens, allergens, and carcinogens like formaldehyde. Despite this, we - and we’re going to go out on a limb here and say most consumers - slap it all over their faces on a daily basis.

Although the manufacturers are obligated to list ingredients, there are problems. Methylene glycol, Methanal, Methanediol, Formalin: these are just a handful of the names for the same ingredient in different forms - formaldehyde. Companies can basically hide the worst of the ingredients they put in products by using names that people will not instantly recognise. Add to this the fact that labels such as ‘hypoallergenic’ do not actually have official, legal meanings, and consumers can very easily be led astray.

skin ninja screenLondon-based Sciapps (Scientific Applications) is a health-tech startup formed to help people better understand what is in their cosmetics and make informed decisions. This goes not just for potentially harmful ingredients, but also for any ingredients that consumers would like to avoid, such as animal-based. The way Sciapps founder Jo Osborne is doing this is through a free app, SkinNinja.

SkinNinja is simple to use: just scan your product’s barcode and the app will display its ingredients, along with a green, amber, and red coloured warning. The app tells you why the ingredient is flagged as potentially harmful, along with a source of the information. Users can then see alternative products free from these ingredients, with Skin Ninja reportlinks to buy them. SkinNinja takes a cut of these sales from the retailer, which is where their income comes from and thereby allows the app to remain free.

Of course, with so many products available, not all will be listed on the app. But users who find this to be the case can submit their product to Sciapps for investigation and addition to the app’s library.

Earlier this year, Sciapps closed a $1m funding round led by the UK’s first women-run and female-focused venture capitalist, Voulez Capital. This money will go towards expanding the app’s library of products and adding functionality. Going forward, the startup will be trying to work with cosmetics companies to find what ingredients consumers do and don’t want in their products and making partnerships rather than rivalries with these brands.

We are very much in favour of a startup helping people to make informed decisions about what they put on their skin every day, and we hope SkinNinja goes far.

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Published on: 30th September 2018

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