Augmented Reality in Dermatology: Transforming Diagnosis and Treatment

Technology that uses AI is slowly taking over the beauty and skincare worlds. As terms like "augmented reality" and "virtual reality" become more common, it is important to know what they mean and how to best use them.

What is augmented reality?

Augmented reality (AR) makes use of different technologies that help to capture, analyze, and then superimpose digital information onto the real world.

AR in the dermatology

Since augmented reality can capture, analyze, and thus help to extrapolate these findings onto the real world, the information generated can help healthcare workers enhance patient care while utilizing the information in a helpful manner.

Real-time AR has been used in some parts of healthcare for a long time. People know that it helps with laparoscopic surgery and finding veins. AR is slowly taking over a lot of space in the beauty and skincare industries because it can be used visually, which is a big plus.

The benefits of AR in dermatology include simple linear dimensions and area calculations of various skin disorders, such as psoriasis and vitiligo, to assess the treatment based on the severity accordingly.

Using the ABCDE criteria to diagnose melanoma, the most deadly type of skin cancer, researchers found that the size of the horizontal enlargement (E criterion) had the most significant effect on diagnosis, treatment, and later survival. The size of the diameter (D criterion) had the second-highest impact. Measuring and diagnosing things correctly will help even more with keeping an eye on diseases and figuring out how they will progress.

AR in the field of surgery

Augmented reality has been very helpful for young surgeons who need to practice and get better at what they do. It has worked especially well for surgeries that do not require a lot of surgical dexterity. This is where augmented reality shines as an alternative to virtual reality: it lets you interact and receive feedback through your hands in a virtual world.

Researchers have found that most types of surgery can benefit from simulation training because it creates a safe space where people can practice their skills without risk of harm or waste of resources. A systematic review evaluated 45 clinical trials based on the impact of AR on the performance and education of surgical trainees and found that AR systems had an overall positive impact when compared to traditional means.

While evidence suggests that it has not made much difference in terms of the surgical outcome, its role in various surgical techniques is expanding and shows significant promise.

AR in skincare

AR is slowly replacing the need to try out products in real life, which has changed the beauty industry. Using certain AR filters, this technology lets users virtually try on clothes and styles without having to buy or try them on in person.

Because of this better experience, you can try out different hairstyles and products without having to spend money on ones you might not like or that do not work for you. Some benefits of augmented reality are:

  • Allows for a commitment-free experience. You do not need to purchase the product if it does not meet your expectations.
  • No-mess environment. You do not have to physically try on different shades and colors of makeup that you then have to take off and put back on, which takes away the pain of taking off makeup.
  • Better use of resources. Since no physical items are being used, sampling uses fewer resources.
  • Finding the right product. Various trials ensure you find the right product for your skin type.

Leading skincare brands have successfully used augmented reality, and it is slowly becoming the way brands want their customers to interact with them.

Difference between augmented and virtual reality

Both augmented and virtual reality offer an immersive experience backed by technology; they serve very different purposes, especially in the fields of health and beauty.

To understand this in simple terms, think of augmented reality as a filter-based experience you might have tried on various applications. In contrast, virtual reality will give you the 3D appearance you get through video gaming goggles.

Basically, augmented reality translates digital information into the real world, such as virtual makeup trials and hairstyles. In contrast, virtual reality offers a completely immersive experience, as though the person is experiencing the scenario in real time. An example of virtual reality would be virtual spa treatments.

Role of AR after the pandemic

A lot has changed due to the coronavirus-19 crisis. Because hygiene is so important, especially in healthcare and beauty, problems were brought up, and the importance of communicating without face-to-face contact was emphasized. AR was a huge benefit during this time, eliminating the need for personal interaction and physical involvement with product use.

Recent research has verified this as well, as AR has been found to be an appropriate means to respond to the changes in the beauty industry. It has been found that it is well-accepted and, in fact, encourages purchase by guiding the customer towards the best product suited for them.

What's next?

New technologies are coming out all the time to make the experience better and give people more choices since augmented and virtual reality have taken the beauty and health world by storm.

The field of genomics is making a lot of progress. With the accuracy of nanotechnology and the computing power of AI, it is possible that soon there will be treatments that target specific genetic parts of a person.

Also, putting all of these technologies together in the beauty and skin care industries can lead to new products that can be customized to work better and faster.

Possible risks

There are a lot of ethical problems that could happen because there is so much data available, and data specific to each user is being created. A robust set of ethics is needed to deal with problems like data privacy and genetic modification.

If you decide to try out these new technologies, you should make sure that you trust the portal and feel safe sharing your personal information while using different interfaces.

As helpful as it is, there is always the chance that data will be misused. Although it is impossible to know what will happen next, everyone should be aware that they are responsible for their actions.

Augmented reality, indeed, has made interactive experiences more feasible and convenient. For users, being able to try on hairstyles and products before buying them is one of the best things that can happen, and it will stay that way.


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