By  on August 24, 2007

LOS ANGELES — With names like Purgemente, Tranquilare and Salutatio, and ingredients that include frankincense and myrrh, products in the new Antiqua Prima line are designed to convey an almost Romanesque sensibility. But add in components such as salicylic and hyaluronic acid, along with sleek packaging, and the line is technologically modern.

That's the duality co-founders Jim Upperman and Laura Root had in mind when they began formulating Antiqua Prima over a year ago. Root, who had previously created a line called Enlightenment Skincare, and Upperman, the former owner of a medi-spa in New Jersey, decided to combine their skills to come up with a skin care range that merged the old with the new.

"We wanted to marry ancient botanicals with today's biotechnology," said Upperman, of the Myrtle Beach, S.C.-based company. "We really wanted to bring together the past and the present. If you listen to what the general public is talking about, they are saying that their pantry offers them therapeutic skin care solutions."

Upperman wanted to take that belief and infuse it with effective modern-day ingredients.

The 16-stockkeeping-unit line, which includes three professional products, is beginning to ship this month to medi-spas, destination spas, dermatological practices and plastic surgeries around the country, and will be in about 600 venues by the end of the year.

"Having run a medical spa, I realized that there were some big holes in product lines, that there was either a lot of fluff, or things were strongly therapeutic. I felt there needed to be some therapeutic products that would not interfere with treatment outcomes, so they could be used by aestheticians and physicians at medi-spas as well."

Housed in white recyclable packaging with dark green print and gold accents, the collection is designed to be simple and multifunctional. The company's review board includes a plastic surgeon and a dermatologist.

"We realized that many new product lines have too many sku's, and it gets confusing," he said. "We wanted to overlap some of the goals — such as dealing with rosacea and acne — so a customer doesn't have to have five different products to help with one problem."Upperman predicts key sellers to include Indulgens Foaming Cleanser, designed for sensitive and recovering skin, and which has shea butter, turmeric and honeysuckle as some of its key ingredients.

"Those who have tried it say it's quite an experience because it's very sensual, leaves the skin extremely clean and doesn't strip it," he said. He has also noticed an enthusiastic response to Purgemente Locale, an acne-spot treatment that contains salicylic acid, and Fortificatio Eye Grande, an eye cream that contains lemon, hesperidin, pea extract and hemp seed. There is also the Clarificatione Foaming Cleanser to exfoliate pores using salicylic acid, palmarosa, clary sage, rosemary and D-Cholic acid. The Fulfillimente Cream is specifically for those who have undergone chemical peels and microdermabrasion, and includes soybean protein, thyme, mango and hyaluronic acid. The entire line is paraben-free, and prices average at around $15 at wholesale.

"We made sure everything was in the mid-price point range and that we would take the crunch by not having the high profit for the company but pushing the science and technology behind the products," said Upperman.

He and Root are currently developing an additional 14 products for the body, hands, nails and feet, which he said would launch over the course of the next three years.

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