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Pulsing With Potential

By: Sara Mason
Posted: August 26, 2013, from the September 2013 issue of GCI Magazine.

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Clarisonic studies have shown that cleansing with a sonic device specifically allows for more efficacy of applied formulas. “The results of the anti-aging product are seen faster and by more people over time,” he explained.

For example, Akridge cites a study of aqueous vitamin C absorption within the epidermis on skin that was cleansed either manually or sonically for the same amount of time. There was 60% better absorption of vitamin C on sonically cleansed skin because the physical barriers to absorption (e.g., makeup) were sonically removed, according to the results. “We also know from our consumer studies that Clarisonic takes cleanser to the next level of performance,” continued Akridge. “Meaning, when consumers with oily skin use the Clarisonic with their typical high-foaming cleanser, some notice that their skin is drier than normal. So, these consumers can now use a milder, gentler cleanser and get better results.”

As brands learn more about the response the skin has when exposed to a beauty device, ingredients are adjusted—in concentration, structure and base formula—to work even better in conjunction with the beauty device. “That will be the trend: Optimized formulas proven to work better with a beauty device,” Akridge said.

However, there is no one tried-and-true formula, making for a nearly endless variety of opportunities for formulators. The focus instead is on how actives are contained and delivered and whether the device triggers some kind of change in that formulation.

“Many energy modalities need a coupling medium to act as a conduit to that applied energy,” explained Sagentia’s Luebcke. “Such systems include ultrasound, which needs a medium for the sound waves to travel through to the skin.” That medium is often an aqueous gel that can also act as a reservoir of actives that need to be delivered. JeNu Biosciences, for example, has tailored formulations such as serums that work with their handheld ultrasound device.

Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is a good example of where the light triggers a change in a substance from an inactive to an active form in the right location and at the right time, according to Luebcke. PDT is particularly useful for treatment of acne and psoriasis. “Devices also can trigger release of encapsulated actives that are normally unstable; the applied energy such as ultrasound can mechanically break open such chemical ‘shells’ around an active at the time of application so that it remains stabilized during storage up until that time,” he noted.

Aside from the efficacy and stabilization benefits, the primary advantages of developing products specifically for a device are purely commercial. In addition to growing the company’s SKUs with device-compatible products, a “lock and key” model allows brands to buy devices (often subsidized) and then make higher margins on the sale of the consumables that only work with that device, according to Luebcke. By building in patented features, justified against anti-competitive claims in terms of safety and enhanced efficacy, brands can prevent competitors developing products that are compatible. “Other upsides include the need to use less of the expensive active because it should be delivered more efficiently and in a more targeted fashion than when applied topically as a passive system,” Luebcke said.

Pro Care

Professionals are looking for integrated solutions to offer patients the continuum of care from procedure to at-home use as well. The popularity of laser procedures continues to steadily increase internationally—about +4%, according to SkinCeuticals global general manager Marc Toulemonde.

Likewise, consumers and physicians alike are looking for more and more topical products and at-home devices designed to complement, enhance and prolong the results of professional treatments. “Patients understand the benefits of integrated skin care, and they are looking for their physicians and estheticians to educate and provide advice on how they can best treat and maintain their results with at-home care,” explained Toulemonde. With this insight, SkinCeuticals feels it found a gap in the marketplace.

The partnership of SkinCeuticals and Solta Medical is the culmination of clinical research supported by both companies exploring the beneficial effects of using Solta’s new Perméa handpiece with SkinCeuticals’ C E Ferulic antioxidant.

The co-promotion includes an exclusive C E Ferulic in-office professional system and a home care recovery system offered with each series of the treatments. Using a unique and safe fractional laser, the Perméa handpiece creates microscopic treatment zones, increasing skin permeability by 17 times, according to Solta Medical.

C E Ferulic is clinically proven to increase the skin’s natural protection up to eight times, according to Toulemonde. Its key actives include 15% pure L-ascorbic acid, 1% alpha tocopherol/vitamin E and 0.5% ferulic acid. “But when its capabilities are enhanced with the Clear + Brilliant Perméa treatment, the combination leads to a synergistic effect with benefits that are greater than either product is capable of delivering on its own,” said Gregory Nagy, senior director global marketing, Solta Medical, Inc.

“The goal with this partnership was to provide patients a way to protect the long-term investment of their laser procedures, something we know patients have been looking for,” explained Toulemonde.

Room for Growth

Despite nearly 22% growth globally in 2012, the beauty device market’s potential is still being realized, according to a recently published report by Kline & Company.

Given the global diversity concerning consumer awareness, a genuine wealth of unrealized potential awaits marketers of at-home beauty devices. Seeking new markets, several well-established brands in the United States are intent on replicating their success throughout Europe, while Clarisonic is also expected to launch in South Korea by the end of 2013. “We’re going global,” said Akridge. “The push to launch Clarisonic throughout the world gives us the opportunity to create new products for our consumers in different countries based on their own regional concerns.”