Updated: Jan 11
Audrey Ajakaye, a 17-year-old senior at The Village School in Houston, has developed the LoveMySkin app to create a skin-positive community around the world.
Think back to when you were 17, you were probably in the process of developing an innovative app that incorporates a new area of psychosomatic medicine… right?
Typical stuff from a teenager.
Audrey launched the app this summer, and as she applies to colleges, is tirelessly working to refine and scale the LoveMySkin brand to create a skin-positive community for all.
“The LoveMyskin app is really just a platform for users to be able to come together, share ideas, and also get resources when it comes to skin diseases and skin insecurities,” Audrey said. “The main goal of the LoveMySkin app is to provide users with a safe platform so that they feel comfortable posting whatever concerns that they have.”
The Need for Skin Apps
The LoveMySkin app uses AI technology to correctly identify a person’s skin condition. When someone submits a picture of their skin, they will get results of the top five skin conditions within one minute.
As a Nigerian-American, Audrey found the motivation for creating LoveMySkin through her experiences growing up. In a world where children are influenced by social media pretty much by the time they can walk, Audrey views the LoveMySkin app as an opportunity to allow everyone to be comfortable in their own skin.
“One of the biggest things that I do see is that social media is really causing [body dysmorphia] to be more and more prevalent,” Audrey said. “So, by creating LoveMySkin, I hope to still bring a digital form of communication and stuff like that, while instilling positivity, because I feel like that's the main thing that's missing right now is the positive reinforcement.”
“I'm partnered with a company called Autoderm, I have leveraged their AI-backed skin condition recognition API in my app, which is trained to diagnose 44 different skin conditions across many skin types,” Audrey said. “It's been field-tested in a lot of African countries, in the UK, USA, as well as Asia, and South American populations. So, it is pretty inclusive."
What separates LoveMySkin? Psychodermatology.
Around the UK, psychodermatology is a common field of study. The practice is a more holistic way of viewing the relationship between your body and skin, specifically looking at the mental aspect. Instead of just prescribing someone medication, psychodermatology considers the emotional and spiritual aspects potentially impacting your skin.
Currently, in the US, the Association for Psychoneurocutaneous Medicine of North America lists only 10 practicing psychodermatologists, making Audrey and her LoveMySkin app pioneers in the US skincare industry.
Educating Youth on an International Scale
This past summer, Audrey took a trip to Nigeria to host a skin education workshop in local villages. Audrey is a Nigerian-American, though she was born and raised in Cypress, it was a validating experience for her to go to Nigeria and be able to work directly with youth.
“I'm a Nigerian-American, but I didn't grow up there, I grew up here. So, just being able to go back into an environment that's actually different, you know, for me, and new for me, and teach kids who wouldn't have access to technology otherwise was really amazing,” Audrey said. “Out of like the 250 kids over there, only two had access to phones., and they were both their parent’s phones. So that just shows that even within their skin education, they have such gaps because of the accessibility problems. So just being able to teach them some of the fundamentals, some of the basics around how they can take care of their skin, using products in their community, meant a lot because it means that I'm teaching them skills that can be sustainable long term for them.”
During her workshops, Audrey brought 10 phones to have the capacity to answer any specific questions teens had about their skin. While the technology gap may not be as prevalent here in Texas, Audrey plans to hold similar workshops in the Houston area to spread positivity and education.
Skin Positivity Day
As Audrey conducted her preliminary research, she noticed an interesting omission when combing through the UN’s list of national days.
Not a single day is dedicated to skin awareness or promotes being comfortable in your skin, something Audrey has set out to change.
“I was going through the UN website and seeing you know a lot of their national days, they have a lot of big other ones, but I just found that there was just a lack when it comes to skin positivity day not being there and I feel like because just how big of an issue it is today,” Audrey said. “I feel like we just need a day where we can all come together, be positive about our skin [and] celebrate [our] differences.
Looking for more information?