By  on December 19, 2008

Sure, everyone’s heard of getting beauty sleep, but what about getting beauty products to improve sleep?

Murad, the El Segundo, Calif.-based skin care brand that’s helped bring ingredients such as pomegranate to consumers’ attention, is carving out a niche for beauty solutions to the nightmare of no sleep. A duo of products launching next month, Sleep Reform Serum at $97 for 1 oz. and Sleep Reform Dietary Supplements at $49.50 for 60 tablets, is Murad’s introduction to the snooze business, which could eventually expand to an array of recommended sleep remedies within Murad’s skin care portfolio.

“In my practice, it seemed like a major problem that people have is with sleep,” said Howard Murad, a dermatologist who founded his namesake company in 1989 and cited a statistic that roughly three-quarters of Americans report insufficient rest. “I think this is going to be a major hit because it is something that is relatively obvious.”

Murad has been on a growth jag despite the poor economy. Overall, the company has experienced 23 consecutive quarters of double-digit increases and, as of November, was on pace for a 20 percent jump in 2008 over the prior year. Internationally, Murad’s sales are up 50 percent over 2007, and there are expectations that 50 percent of the company’s business could come from abroad in five years.

The Sleep Reform products rely upon what Murad has dubbed a Repair Enhancing Matrix with Gama-aminobyteric Acid (GABA), Methyl sulfonmethane (MSM) and vitamin C intended to amplify the depth and duration of sleep. Melatonin in the products aims to aid the skin’s sleep cycle to promote its ability to mend itself, while Oligopeptide-1 is meant to firm the skin, and Tocopheryl Acetate encourages healing. The serum is supposed to be applied before the user goes to bed.

“What melatonin does is it allows your cells to sleep. There are actually receptor sites for melatonin in your skin. As we get older, we don’t produce the melatonin,” explained Murad. “GABA is probably the ultimate neurotransmitter that calms you down. We also have MSM that allows things to penetrate and is a sulfur donor. Sulfur is a key element that our bodies are often missing.”

The Sleep Reform products will be sold in roughly 1,500 doors by the second quarter of 2009, including Sephora and Ulta. Murad estimated that they could generate between $2 million and $4 million in first-year sales, depending upon consumers’ willingness to try out products in beauty stores that address what many may judge the province of physicians.

“There has to be a middle ground, a place between the doctor’s office and what is now considered a salon or beauty place, where things that average people who aren’t really sick and don’t have sleep apnea go and get some benefit,” said Murad. “Frankly, if you look at what we have done in the past, that is exactly where most of the products are. They are not quite beauty, although I believe beauty and health are synonymous, but it is somewhere in this [beauty to health] range.”

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