Objective measurement of skin pigmentation disorders

Objective measurement of skin pigmentation disorders


The skin is the primary interface between nurse and patient. With SCARLETRED, pigmentation disorders can be objectively monitored, improving dermatological and cosmetic dermatological services.

Skin discoloration and pigmentation disorders

Disorders of pigmentation present as skin that is discolored, blotchy, or darker or lighter than normal. They occur when the body produces too little or too much melanin. Melanin is a pigment that creates hair, skin and eye color and protects the skin by absorbing ultraviolet light, thus providing considerable protection from sun damage. These disorders can be localized or diffusely spread throughout the body.

Some pigmentation disorders have higher prevalence such as liver spots or vitiligo, whereas others, such as albinism, are rare, affecting approx. 1 of 17,000 people. With some disorders, the cause of pigmentation may be readily identified as sun exposure, drug reactions, or inflammation; in other cases, the etiology is not clear.

Skin color is usually assessed and determined by classification systems, and most disorders can be diagnosed by appearance.


Classification system for skin type and phototype

There are various classification systems available for assessing skin types and tones. These systems or scales are based on visual or self reported data, such as the Baumann skin type, categorizing skin type according to 4 characteristics, the Fanous classification, based on race and genetic origin, the Goldmann World Classification of Skin Types and the Fitzpatrick scale.

Fitzpatrick scale, also known as the Fitzpatrick skin phototype was developed in 1975 and is widely used in dermatological practice. It is a numerical classification scheme for determining the skin color based on a questionnaire related to an individualís genetic constitution, reaction to sun exposure and tanning habits. The system helps to predict possible sun damage and risk of developing skin cancer by categorizing the skin types in 6 different groups, according to how much melanin pigment is present in the skin. It has been applied as a standard for self-assessment of sun sensitivity in self-administered questionnaires. Skin phototype typing is widely used in dermatology and cosmetic dermatology.

The scoring method has certain limitations to be addressed. One of the challenges of skin typing is that it is lacking the inclusion of certain races. Also, as we are becoming increasingly multi-racial and multi-ethnic, thus the color of our skin alone cannot determine reactivity to products. The subjectivity of the method also lies within differences between the pediatrician´s and the patient's assessment and between questions of the interview and the questionnaire, which can lead to different answers. Hence, it is important to mention that this system functions more as a guide, rather than a definitive classification.

Although alternative skin type classification systems have been proposed, more clinically relevant methods for describing skin color need to be developed. The digital technology of SCARLETRED offers a solution to overcome the subjectivity of currently available classification systems and allow the objective measurement and monitoring of skin pigmentation disorders.

Child with vitiligo with Scarletred skin patch
Child with vitiligo and Scarletred Skin patch.

Objective measurement by AI-powered digital technology

SCARLETRED is a digital health company revolutionizing dermatology by introducing standardization and objectivity in the process of skin imaging and assessment.

Scarletred®Vision is an AI-powered software enabling high quality documentation and analysis of skin lesions and wounds. The CE medical device certified technology ensures the objective imaging and secure documentation to define the effectiveness of the treatment. Due to the technology´s compliance to the highest regulatory standards, it is accepted by regulatory bodies worldwide, and thus it has the potential to push forward clinical research to manage pigmentation disorders more effectively.  

The Scarletred®Vision system consists of a mobile app, a web platform and skin patches, which can be easily applied even on sensitive skin types. The app together with the platform creates a secure data storage and information flow between patients and professionals. The real-time based visual documentation grants enhanced efficiency and reliability of the monitoring of skin discoloration and pigmentation disorders. The platform functions as a secure documentation tool providing objective measurement through the integrated remote data monitoring level and built-in customizable service tools, ensuring reliability and accuracy.

Moles on the male patient´s back with Scarletred skin patch
Man´s back covered in moles with Scarletred Skin patch.

Color quantification with Scarletred®Vision

Color quantification with the technology of SCARLETRED is based on the objective visual information obtained from the Scarletred®Vision app. The integrated customizable tools on the platforms allows practitioners to objectively measure and monitor skin changes or pigmentation disorders by using L*a*b* (CIELAB) color space.

CIELAB color space represents all colors visible to the human eye as well as colors relative to a white reference point. The distances between any two colors are measured proportionally to their space in the color space.

  • L* value represents lightness/darkness and extends from 0 (black) to 100 (white).
  • a* value represents the redness/greenness axis.
  • b* value represents the yellowness/blueness axis.

Human skin color is of great importance for the cosmetic industry and medicine where accurate skin color measurement and reproduction are key factors. Traditional phototype scoring methods have certain limitations to be addressed. The CE medical device certified technology of SCARLETRED delivers a solution allowing the objective visual documentation and monitoring of skin discoloration and pigmentation disorders, overcoming the subjectivity of conventional methods. The technology allows improved accuracy and comparability of the measurement of skin tone and monitoring of pigmentation disorders, therefore has the potential to benefit cosmetic dermatological and dermatological services.

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