Skin Tech

This App Tells You If Your Skin Care Products Are Working — So I Tried It

And the futuristic device it comes with.

When a teenage me got my very first iPhone in 2010, I went a little app-wild. Social media, games, water trackers, study aids — I downloaded anything and everything, even the totally useless ones that made your voice sound like Mr. T. They felt like a (mostly) free way to organize and enjoy life —and more than a decade later, they're still helping me keep mine together. The one exception? Skin care. I had apps on my phone to track my exercise and sleep, but just relied on photos to monitor changes when it came to my skin — which left a lot to be desired (one word: lighting). Finally, though, there’s an app for that. Skin Inc’s Tri-Light + SABI AI combines the skin-transforming properties of a high-tech device with the organization and information of a streamlined app — think of a FitBit, but for your skin. Thanks to a number of AI features, all designed to figure out how best to improve your skin in a holistic way, the multifunctional tool itself has settings to actually make it happen. I loved the idea of having both the necessary information and tools needed to make a real difference in my skin — it was one product this app-obsessed skin care lover couldn’t wait to dig into.

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The App

The SABI AI App, designed to be paired with the Tri-Light device, most closely resembles a fitness app. After registering both yourself and your device through the app, you’ll be prompted to mark which areas you’d like to improve, like overall skin health, puffiness, wrinkles, and more. That’s just the first of a few quizzes, actually. By uploading a selfie, the app will spit out what’s basically a skin report card, giving categories like “youthful appearance” and “skin barrier” a numeric score out of 100. Then, you can toggle over to another self-reported quiz to fill in information on lifestyle and environmental factors that could be affecting your skin. Based on the results, you’ll be given prescriptive advice on device settings to use in your Tri-Light that can help reach your skin goals — and it’ll even send you little push notifications to remind you, too. If that already sounds like a ton of functionality, it’s really only the tip of the iceberg. Order custom Skin Inc serum blends based on your quiz results, watch tutorials, share your scores and progress with other community members, and even quickly check location-based tips like your area’s UV index. It’s like having a skin care expert on-call in your pocket all the time — only this one won’t charge you by the hour.

Skin Inc

The Device

Of course, the super-handy app is only half the point. The data in the app informs your plan for the handheld device and, just like the app’s functions, the options are pretty vast. The Tri-Light has eight different capabilities powered by LED light therapy, sonic therapy, PEMF (Pulsed Electro-Magnetic Field) therapy, and a hydration sensor to treat issues such as irritation, fine lines, and dull skin. The best part? You don’t have to mess with a million buttons or settings to figure out the right combination for you — the AI presets mean all you have to do is follow the placement guidelines in the SABI AI app’s tutorial section. The single coolest aspect might be the device’s hydration tracker, though. A tiny cap on the bottom of the handle reveals a tiny sensor. When held against your bare skin, you’ll get an instant readout of your skin’s moisture level — crucial for tracking the efficacy of topicals to fine-tune your skin care routine even further (and hold your skin care products accountable).

The Serums

While Skin Inc is committed to keeping the app free forever, there is a custom serum subscription you can opt-in on. Specially formulated to target your individual concerns, the app will remind you to use it and even automatically renew your order. The serums take into account everything from your location’s pollution and UV levels to how much sleep you’re getting every night for highly-personal blends — or, if you know what you like, you can shop Skin Inc’s best-selling serums (vitamin C and hyaluronic acid among them) right in the app, too. Prices vary by subscription, ranging from $72 a month to $95 per month based on your time commitment.

My Review

Surprisingly, my skin is actually in a pretty good place right now. These days, I’d call my concerns fairly superficial, with issues like lingering melasma, fine lines, and firmness minor things I deal with on a daily basis. Skin Inc’s other big seller, the body-centric Tri-Light, is already one of my favorite beauty devices, so I was psyched to get started with the Tri-Light and SABI AI app integration. After getting my skin care report card, I was kind of floored — things apparently weren’t as solid as I thought, and seeing my “youthful appearance” score in the 40th percentile (the week of my 29th birthday, ouch) didn’t feel too dissimilar to bombing a math test after studying hard. But the information is a good thing — it was helpful to have concrete starting points and a clear roadmap on how to improve my skin over time. Fortunately, I faired much better in the hydration test; I could practically be a hydration valedictorian. Over the next two weeks, I mainly played around with the glow and firmness functions in the Tri-Light device to see if I could level up those areas. By the end of my experiment, I ranked in the 60s — not bad for just a couple of weeks. I could see a noticeable difference in the mirror — my skin looked brighter and I looked more well-rested overall — but it was the cold, hard numbers that the app showed me that really motivated me to keep up my skin care regimen. Encouraged by these results, I plan to forge ahead on improving all my scores — and I think I just found my new favorite app.