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Starting Point: Skin Care’s New Surge

By: Karen A. Newman
Posted: April 2, 2008, from the April 2008 issue of GCI Magazine.
One light gives you more hair, and one light gives you less …

Okay, it’s not exactly “White Rabbit,” but these stanzas are meant only to suggest the range of possibilities for home-use devices for both growing and eliminating hair, a product category that is sparking interest among beauty product marketers. At the Personal Care Products Council’s (the Council) annual meeting in February, Lexington International LLC showed its HairMAX LaserComb, which utilizes phototherapy to stimulate the root for new hair growth and more, and news came that Procter & Gamble and Palomar Medical Technologies, Inc., a developer of light-based systems for cosmetic treatments, inked an agreement to develop and license home-use, light-based hair removal devices. Home-use devices of all kinds are gaining in popularity for reasons ranging from cost to continuing treatment between professional visits to questions of modesty. And while hair is getting some attention, it is in skin care that home-use devices are really seeing a surge.

According to Euromonitor, the global market for antiaging skin care is estimated at $14.9 billion. It is being driven to new levels by anxious consumers and advanced ingredients. Devices, including lasers for skin rejuvenation, are a growing part of the picture, often marketed in conjunction with a skin care product regimen. With major players such as P&G, Johnson & Johnson and L’Oréal said to be developing light-based, at-home skin care devices, the game seems set to change yet again.

What does all this talk about devices mean for skin care product marketers? Opinions differ, but Kathy Fields—clinical professor in the department of dermatology at the University of California, San Francisco, and co-developer of Rodan + Fields’ Proactive Solution—believes the devices don’t work by themselves. She told GCI magazine: “Devices alone are not the answer. They require at-home skin care regimens in conjunction with treatments.” Read more about the variety of skin care devices now on the market for home use in “Derm Devices: Taking Antiaging in Hand,” by GCI magazine assistant editor Leslie Benson.

In “Cosmeceuticals Inject Innovation into Antiaging,” Euromonitor’s Diana Dodson reports that recent developments in antiaging “offer transdermal delivery of skin plumping ingredients such as collagen,” while others “claim to replicate the effects of professional antiwrinkle products such as Botox.”