By  on April 22, 1994

NEW YORK -- The days of women using just a simple moisturizer are over.

At least that is the assertion of the many mass market treatment manufacturers who have been cranking out high-tech skin care items for the last two years.

"Until recently, cutting edge skin-care technology was only available in high-priced department store products," said Stu Fine, vice president of marketing for St. Ives. "They were out of the reach of most women.

"However, American consumers who buy mass market products are now every bit as sophisticated as department store shoppers," Fine added.

To address this new sophistication, Fined noted, St. Ives is planning to launch the St. Ives Swiss Formula Alpha Hydroxy Moisturizing Facial Renewal Lotion this summer. The 12-oz. decanter will sell for $3.99.

"We are launching this product to capitalize on consumers' growing interest in facial renewal in a simple moisturizer," he said.

For the most part, the simple moisturizer seems to be a thing of the past. Not to be outdone by their prestige counterparts, the major players in the $1 billion mass market skin care industry have been scurrying to flood store shelves with cutting-edge products.

One of the first innovations came in 1988 when Neutrogena launched its Neutrogena SPF 15 Moisture Formula in both untinted and sheer tinted versions.

At the time, sun protection was a relatively new concept in mass market treatment.

"Even though most consumers weren't aware that daily sun exposure could be bad for the skin, the dermatologists we worked with advised us to develop a product for everyday sun exposure," said a Neutrogena spokeswoman. "Now, as consumers are becoming more educated, I think they are choosing products based on whether or not they have [sunscreen]."

Nivea was another forerunner. The company put sunscreens in two Nivea Visage products when the line was launched in 1988.

Other lines such as Procter & Gamble's Oil of Olay, L'Oreal's Plenitude and the Pond's line from Chesebrough-Pond's have since started incorporating sun protection in select items.

But lately, SPF's seem to be the least of what's going on. Newer items are addressing anti-aging from both a preventative and curative angle, an area that was traditionally the sole province of department stores.

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