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With its new Skin Rescuer Stress-Minimizing Daily Hydrator, Kiehl’s Since 1851 is looking to change the way internal stress manifests on the skin.
This story first appeared in the April 19, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
“This is a game-changer,” said Chris Salgardo, president of Kiehl’s USA. “Stress affects every area of the body, including skin. In the short term, it can cause inflammation in skin, with redness, blotchiness and breakouts. In the long term, it weakens the skin barrier and leads to premature aging. It can also exacerbate conditions like eczema, psoriasis, rosacea and chronic dry skin. This product is intended to deal with all of these issues.”
That is accomplished in three steps, said Salgardo. First, a cocktail of chamomile extract, glycerin and shea butter treat, calm and hydrate the skin. Next, rose gallica extract limits the release of stress signals to the skin, he said. “This then breaks the stress cycle, which minimizes the inflammatory response,” he explained. Finally, the skin’s barriers are protected from future reactions with mannose, a monosaccharide; squalene, derived from olives, and a proprietary ceramide blend. “Mannose is the magic bullet — it repairs from the inside out,” said Salgardo. “Then, squalene works from the outside in to reinforce the skin’s barrier strength.”
“A weakened skin barrier is the gateway to problem skin,” said Dr. Angelike Galdi, head chemist and assistant vice president of Kiehl’s Research and Innovation. “In this development, our research was about honing in on the cause — inflammation — and tracing this back even further to the original culprit: internal or emotional stress. It was then clear to us why so many people were faced with these skin concerns. The next step was determining how to break the cycle that leads to visible skin problems. It was clear stopping stress in our customers’ lives wasn’t possible, so we determined we could help the skin to be less vulnerable via a strengthened skin barrier; to offer our customers a true solution.”
The brand worked with Columbia University scientists to formulate the product, he added. “Through the autonomic nervous system, stress can affect all organs in the body, and the skin is no exception,” said Dr. Adam Geyer, a consulting dermatologist for Kiehl’s product development. “The skin is our body’s largest organ and where the first signs of stress begin to appear regardless of age.” For that reason, said Salgardo, the company is not targeting a specific age group with Skin Rescuer.
Skin Rescuer will retail for $40 and will be sold in about 300 specialty stores in the U.S., as well as at 50 freestanding Kiehl’s stores and on kiehls.com. While national advertising is not planned, the product will be promoted with animated store windows featuring a life preserver with the bottle as well as direct-mail pieces.
While Salgardo declined to discuss sales projections, industry sources estimated that the new product could do $5 million at retail in its first year on counter.