With human users, recruiting volunteers for skin biopsies isn’t a real possibility; instead, we used before/after photos and metrics such as a wrinkle score.
Before/after photos are widely the industry standard, but lighting and camera angles can easily be manipulated to make after photos seem drastically better than the before photos. The same thing is true with measurement of wrinkle scores or skin sagging – these metrics are often scored visually by a technician and are not all that quantitiative.
Our core team comes from a highly technical background and it was important to us that our results were interpretable and accurate even despite the limitations of these types of read out. These were the internal requirements that we generated for our first study and we designed them for the maximal trust in our results:
The study was designed as follows:
Week 0:Baseline images & measurements. Send consumers home with 4 weeks worth of retinol formulation (in topical form). Have them apply it once every night and use with sunscreen.
Week 4:End topical part of the trial, come in for intermediate images & measurements. Start of 2 week wash out period.
Week 6:Send consumers home with Droplette device & 4 weeks worth of retinol formulation – now to be delivered through Droplette. Have them use the device once every night and use with sunscreen.
Week 10:End of Droplette part of trial, come in for final images and measurements.
First and foremost, we found that across the board when subjects consistently used the device as instructed (since the device is connected, we were able to tabulate usage on the back end) they saw dramatic improvements in skin texture, appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and skin firmness:
Subject 35: Female, Asian, 47 How we know the camera lighting is accurate: The birthmark on her forehead and her hair is the same color in both the before and the after shots. Effects seen after Droplette treatment: Significant reduction in appearance of forehead fine lines & wrinkles.
Subject 14: Female, Caucasian, 48 How we know the camera lighting is accurate: The birthmark under her right eye is the same color in both the before and the after shots. Effects seen after Droplette treatment: Reduction in fine lines around eyes, even skin tone, less redness, smaller pores, lifted skin.
Droplette vs. Topical Administration
We were most surprised by how our subject’s skin responded to topical administration of the formulation:
Subject 22: Female, Caucasian, 44
How we know the camera lighting is accurate: Her eyebrows and eyelashes are the same color in all three pictures.
Effects seen after Droplette treatment: It looked like the topical actually dried her skin out and made the lines on her forehead appear worse compared to even the baseline. After consulting with out advisory board on it and thinking about this in the context of our previous results with Droplette’s hydrating effects, we were able to conclude that some of the ingredients in this formulation (such as the retinol) can indeed be drying. However, using Droplette we deliver both more ingredient as well as more water – meaning that the skin is better hydrated and is able to adapt to ingredients such as retinol faster.