Each year 1.2 million non-melanoma and 325,000 melanoma skin cancers occur globally according to statistics from the WHO. Thus, every tool has to be deployed for early detection and intervention. As smartphone penetration already reached two-thirds of the Earth’s population*, smartphone apps seem to be a viable way to go against skin conditions. Here, we collected the top dermatology apps to aid your digital skin care. (*There are widely varying figures, ranging from 66% to 90% depending on the source of information.)
As smartphones take over the world, dermatology apps
As technology continues to advance, so does its accessibility to the general population. In 2013, only 56 percent of Americans owned a smartphone, which climbed to around 90% by now. According to a recent survey, at least 75% of the population owns a smartphone in most countries.
As a consequence, smartphone apps of all categories multiplied exponentially. No matter whether you want to explore dumb ways to die or want to know what ghosts are talking about around you, the right app is just a tap away. In dermatology, a study published in 2017 found 526 apps, and although we couldn’t find any recent data on the number of dermatology-themed apps, there are hundreds of them for sure.
Their success is understandable: they offer a fast and easy method to check any skin conditions, typically for a fraction of the cost of a traditional healthcare appointment. Self-surveillance solutions, disease guides, educational apps as well as telehealth platforms appeared naturally in dermatology in the past decade. Here’s our take on the most useful and efficient dermatology apps for the health of your skin.
and telemedicine for patients
The options of teledermatology services, as well as self-care platforms, are soaring. SkinIO, Scanoma, Miiskin, FirstDerm, Direct Derm, iDoc24, and SkinVision all work based on the same principle: they promise patients the option to self-check their symptoms and then to connect to a dermatologist online for consultation within a very short period of time. Usually, people can load up their photos to a certain platform, and smart algorithms and/or dermatologists give advice based on them.
The Amsterdam-based company developed a smartphone app to easily evaluate risk factors for skin cancer and keep track of potentially problematic moles. So far, this dermatology app has been used by 3.5 million instances globally by almost 2 million users. The smart algorithm coupled with dermatologists’ expertise has found over 55,000 cases of skin cancer. The company works closely with a continuously growing number of insurance companies in Italy, Germany, the Czech Republic, the UK, in the Netherlands among others, as well as with companies offering this service to their employees.
Matthew Enevoldson, PR Manager at SkinVision told The Medical Futurist that technology such as their own is becoming more integrated within the health system, to both ensure that those who need treatment are made aware of it and that those who have an unfounded concern do not take up valuable time and resources.
The award-winning dermatology service is present in more than 160 countries and is available in 7 languages. The platform has already had more than 7,000 skin concerns submitted from all over the world. It also turned out that the majority of the issues were rather harmless: iDoc24 found that 70 percent of all their reviewed cases could be self-treated and they advised the patient to undertake further tests in all the remaining 30 percent of cases.
It is a win-win for everyone: patients do not have to wait in crowded waiting rooms for an exam, while dermatologists can deal with the easier cases in shorter time online. The service guarantees a very short response time – within a day – and a 24/7 online customer service.
3) First Derm
The team behind iDoc24 also developed and powers the First Derm platform, which is very similar to the iDoc24 app: it gives access to a dermatologist through a connected device. It was launched in 2014 as an iOS app, available in 6 languages, and among others, it offers an on-the-go skincare assessment tool as first-step guidance on skincare concerns.
Users only have to send two photos of the mosquito bites or rashes worrying them, and photos will be reviewed and assessed within 24 hours of submission by a licensed dermatologist.
The artificial intelligence-based app was developed by two engineers previously working for Google, and it aims to compensate for the lack of dermatologists in India. In the continent-sized country, approximately 11,000 skin care specialists are working, which means less than one dermatologist for 100,000 people.
Cureskin aims to help alleviate the situation. It can diagnose six types of common skin conditions – pimples, acne, scars, dark spots, pigmentation, and dark circles. The user takes a photo, the algorithm analyses the skin issues, the app’s chatbot asks a few questions and, depending on the inputs, the A.I. recommends an eight-week skincare regimen.
Dermatology apps to keep patients in the loop
Are you going on holiday and worried about the harmful UV radiation? Would you like to know more about your skin type and how you could take more care of the health of your skin? As, based on the results of my whole genome sequencing, I have a moderate risk for melanoma, a reliable and easily accessible source of information could be incredibly useful for me, too, thus I tried to find the best tools possible.
Created by the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology, this app offers easy-to-understand information on over 300 dermatologic diseases with detailed descriptions and treatments, description of 45 drugs commonly used by dermatologists and also detailed guides on diagnostic and cosmetic procedures.
Created by board-certified dermatologists, this content was written to be easily understood by the general public. It’s complete in its descriptions and treatments which can also be used by medical professionals of all types.
The app was initially designed for a study which has finished since the launch, but the app is still available for users. Its main function is to help users keep track of their moles, by regularly taking pictures of these skin lesions and measuring them using a reference coin.
Keeping track of the size, shape, and color of our moles is one of the best ways to catch potential skin cancers like melanoma in their early stages. This app allows users to monitor a single suspicious mole over time or construct a full-body map. Regular reminders – every month – make sure that no changes will go unnoticed. This app is somewhat “old-fashioned”, with no flashy AI solution, it relies on plain old pictures with plain old coins – but this simplicity also makes it very easy to use.
The app was born out of necessity: Nav Gosal, founder of Eczema Tracker has been managing his son’s severe eczema, food allergies, and asthma for years, and wants to help patients with the same issues.
Through the app, users can check pollen, mold, temperature, and humidity levels for any location, track the flare-up of eczema, and get useful pieces of advice on how to control and manage the condition for all ages. Through constant monitoring, patients have the chance to follow what triggers their symptoms and whether their medication can actually alleviate them. It’s a jackpot software for eczema troubles.
Smart clinician support
Did it already happen to you that you developed an odd
lesion on your skin and didn’t know what to do? Usually, patients go to their
primary care physician for advice or try to ask in the pharmacy on the corner
what the smiling pharmacists recommend. However, general practice physicians,
as well as pharmacists, get very little training on skin conditions, so the
chance for misdiagnosis is high. That’s what smartphone apps developed for
physicians aim to go against.
Thousands of hospitals, clinics, and medical schools use VisualDx to aid diagnostic accuracy, enhance medical education, and improve patient outcomes.
VisualDx is an excellent source for diagnostic clinical decision support. Searchable by symptoms, signs, and patient factors, it represents the fastest path to a customised differential diagnosis. Tens of thousands of images and graphics speed comparison, recognition, and the final verdict on any given skin condition. Beyond validating diagnoses, VisualDx is used to access the next steps for disease management, and for patient education.
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