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Derm Devices: Taking Antiaging In Hand

By: Leslie Benson
Posted: April 2, 2008, from the April 2008 issue of GCI Magazine.

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Men and women ages 20 and up desire fitter faces, says Hawkins, but the largest consumer category for NuFace, and other products like it, is the baby boomer generation. Of the entire U.S. population, Hawkins says about 30% are recognized as baby boomers.

Marketing specifically to baby boomer females, Light Dimensions’ RejuvaWand uses individual bursts of infrared and red light to encourage the production of collagen and elastin for allegedly younger-looking skin. Maisel says medical professionals use larger devices with thousands of LEDs (usually not directly in contact with the skin), whereas handheld devices like the RejuvaWand place light in direct contact with the skin’s surface. So RejuvaWand’s treatment may mimic medical light treatments on a smaller level—without the heat damage—but how does its at-home use affect professionals relying on clients’ office visits for their livelihoods?

According to Maisel, skin care devices are not a threat to medical professionals. Rather, their treatments can be seen as symbiotic to those found at spas and medical offices. “The more aware people are of light-based treatments, the more everyone benefits and the market grows,” he says. Kathy Fields, a clinical professor in the department of dermatology at the University of California, San Francisco, and co-developer of Rodan + Fields’ Proactiv Solution, disagrees. “Most people go to a pharmacy [to] self-treat for the common ailments of life [such as eczema, acne, rosacea and brown spots],” she says. “A lot of people don’t get to a dermatologist.”

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So for sales growth, Maisel suggests dermatologists recommend home-use devices like his for maintenance between and after medical skin or spa treatments. The duality of some esthetic devices offers these professionals another avenue through which to market specialty goods. In addition, devices can be sold in conjunction with skin care cosmeceuticals.

“What we know from our office—we have about seven [dermatological] lasers—[is that] none of them work by themselves,” says Fields. “Devices alone are not the answer. They require at-home skin care regimens in conjunction with treatments. It’s the same for [dermatologists’] lasers and at-home devices.”