Discussion: Getting to Know My Skin Better Thanks to Ioma

Awkward Selfie...

Awkward selfie…

On Friday after getting the train back to Cardiff, I decided to take some time to look around Boots before getting dinner and going back to my flat. I initially planned to just look at the skincare shelves wishing I could buy some, but before I got there, one of the assistants stopped me to talk about their new Clarisonic stand. After sadly turning down buying one for myself as I can’t afford one, she then offered to analyse my skin as part of the Ioma skincare brand for me after I mentioned earlier about how my skin is both oily but also frustratingly sensitive at the same time, and that she could figure out if there’s an underlying reason as to why my skin is so oily. Skeptical, but curious, I agreed to let her use an interesting piece of tech to analyse my skin, which I’ll describe to you in a moment. (I wish I had taken photos now, but hey, nothing I can do about it now.)

This piece of tech, which is basically a microscope in the shape of a thick pen, allows you to press the camera end against the surface of the skin, with a screen on the stand which it’s attached to, to show you what it sees, and from this image, somehow manages to measure the hydration in the skin, as well measure the level of sebum in the skin as well, other than just the appearance of the skin itself. In a nutshell, she analysed my skin for a few things, the level of hydration, the sebum levels, the appearance of fine lines, and the appearance of wrinkles. What I found quite interesting is that apparently the tech I’ve just described to you is the same tech used to first test for moisture on Mars. Quite a claim huh?

So what did I find out? Well I’m going break this down as easily as I can since there’s a lot of things I’m still trying to understand, so any explanations I give are purely speculation, and shouldn’t be treated as facts. The way the test presents the results is from a score from 1 to 15, with 1 meaning poor and 15 meaning excellent. One thing to note, because I didn’t take any photos of my results, I can’t remember my exact scores, however, I do plan on writing an update post in a week or two, and if they’ll let me take a photo of it then, I’ll record it that way (or I’ll ask if I can write it down). For now, I’m going to tell you the score I can roughly remember.

Moisture levels: Apparently my moisture levels in my skin are actually really good. My score was roughly between 8 and 10 if I remember correctly, so my oily skin is arguably not as a result of dehydration although my skin still has room for improvement.

Sebum levels: If I remember correctly, my score was between 8 and 11 for my sebum levels. I’m both surprised and not surprised by this at the same time. They measure your sebum levels on your nose only, since this is typically the oiliest part of the face, so I expected my sebum levels to be pretty high because although my skin is oily all over my face, my t-zone is generally the worst area of my face. However, while I expected a high score, I thought “you know what, my skin is not as bad as it could be” which is definitely reflected in my score, but I didn’t expect my score to be that high, since my mum usually reasons with me that my skin isn’t as bad as I hype it up to be in my head.

Wrinkles: As a 20 year old, this is one aspect of the test that the assistant and I felt was redundant because as the microscopic camera showed us and just from observations with the naked eye, I don’t have wrinkles! Awesome!

Fine lines: On the other hand, while I don’t have wrinkles, I do have small fine lines under my eyes. Great… However, the assistant explained to me that this can potentially be improved, and as I’ll explain in more detail later, gave me an eye cream sample to try out to see if it would improve the texture of my eye area.

Pores: A point I’ve yet to mention is that as well as measuring the sebum levels, the camera was able to present an image of what the pores on my nose looked like. Scary stuff, but extremely interesting. It basically shows the depth of my pores, and revealed to me that I actually have quite average sized pores, with only a couple of large pores. Before this, I assumed I had quite large pores because of the battle with my blackheads and how big they look – I’ve mentioned before that they’ve been mistaken for freckles. So it was a pleasant surprised that actually, they’re not as bad as they look.

Skin Condition: By this it simply measures how much dead skin sits on top of the skin, as well the protective layer of the skin itself. I was pleasantly surprised that very little dead skin was on my face at the time (I exfoliated that morning in the shower, so it makes sense). However, I did also have to come to terms with that fact that I do over-exfoliate my face a bit as well – which was shown by areas of black splotches on the red circle that represents the protective layer of the skin. I was initially a bit disappointed by this, but the assistant (unfortunately I can’t remember her name because it’s a Welsh name and I don’t want to be rude and get it wrong) explained to me that despite exfoliating my skin slightly too often (up to 3 times a week at most, though usually twice a week) the image for the result of her skin layer was a lot worse, and that in actual fact, I haven’t been doing as much damage to my skin as I could be.

So what have I learnt about my skin? A lot. To start, I’ve learnt that my skincare is already doing a great job of keeping my skin hydrated, although of course there’s room for improvement, particularly with the eye area. I’ve also learnt that I don’t need to exfoliate my skin as often as I think I do, or at least need to find even gentler methods of exfoliating my skin if I do want to exfoliate it often.

My stash of samples.

My stash of samples.

One final quirk about this test is that it pairs my skin with a combination of customised skincare products from the Ioma skincare range, which unlike categorising your skin as oily, or dry, or normal, pairs specific skincare items like a cleanser, moisturiser, eye cream based on the specific needs your skin has. I’ll ask for the exact number when I next visit the assistant who tested my skin, but she explained that the test was designed to have over 5000 different result combinations, and each individual result has individual products assigned to work best with your individual skin type/needs. This in itself is a fantastic revolution in the direction that skincare should aim for, since as an example, I don’t fit into one of the standard skin types. I’m not just oily, or just sensitive, I’m a bit of both, and the balance of the two can change. So finding skincare products that work for my skin all of the time is pretty much impossible. With skincare like this, I think so many people (including myself) can really tailor our skincare a lot better rather than just trial and error from scratch like I have done. What I mean is, while we’ll still have the trial and error of trying out products, this test has really helped me work out what I’m doing well for my skin, and where I need to make changes, like I’ve already reflected on.

My receipt.

My receipt.

I was even given some extra instructions for some of my samples.

I was even given some extra instructions for some of my samples.

Finally, there are the samples. With my result, I was given a receipt which was basically a prescription of the Ioma skincare products that the machine thought would work best for my skin. Now, the assistant played with my results a bit and gave me samples (I’ll list them all at the end of the post) that based on my preference and skin results would work best for me. The samples are supposed to last a week, and although I haven’t started using them yet, I plan on starting them next week once I go back and check if the changes to my skincare routine so far have made any difference to my skin at all. Then, once I go back again after using their samples, see if their products make any difference to my skin then. This might seem a bit silly, but having looked through their stand, I would rather see if my current routine with a few adjustments will help my skin, knowing that the Ioma skincare products are very expensive. I’m talking between £50-£150. Yeah, I can’t afford that.

Wow, that was a long post. If you’ve made it all the way through this, then I am so grateful for your patience. I definitely wish I had pics to break up the text for you guys so it is a little easier to read, but I have tried to explain this the best I can.

If you don’t have an Ioma stand for yourself, but want to see what result you might have, I was searching online about this brand, and their website has a questionnaire you can take to give you a rough idea of the condition of your skin. This obviously won’t be as accurate as having your skin tested, but its a great start if you’re thinking about investing in your skincare routine and want a rough idea about where to start, or if you’re just curious like I was.

Thank you for taking the time to read such a long post. I didn’t expect anything like this, so I’ve tried my best to organise my thoughts and my experience as best I can. I plan on writing a follow up post, and if you’d like me to do some first impression posts on my samples, then I’ll happily do so once I start using them. I really appreciate you took the time to read my post, and if you think you might enjoy reading my other posts, then I’d love it if you would explore my blog.

If you have any questions about this test that I can ask the assistant when I next see her, then I’d love to write them down if you post a comment, and then in my follow up post I’ll write any answers to questions she was able to answer.



  • 1. Optimum Moisture Cream Day and Night
  • 6. Matifying Regulating Cream Day and Night
  • 2. Flash Youth Eye Contour Concentrate
  • 5. Gentle Exfoliating Emulsion
  • 5. Repair Gel Day and Night
  • 5. Absorbant Mask
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