By  on December 2, 2005

NEW YORK — As an antidote to the bulging skin care market, Sephora will prescribe an over-the-counter-grade collection for its product mix. This spring, the retailer will clear room for Cosmedicine, a skin care regimen developed by Klinger Advanced Aesthetics that is formulated with over-the-counter actives.

"Skin care has become so confusing," said Betsy Olum, senior vice president of marketing for Sephora, referring to the increasingly crowded category. She said Sephora wanted to break through the clutter with a collection that contains safe ingredients and delivers measurable results.

The aim, said Jane Terker, KAA's chief marketing officer, is to "tell the truth about what products really do." The products will bow this February in KAA's 12 spa locations and in Sephora doors chainwide.

To reaffirm Cosmedicine's "Truth Is Beauty" positioning, Klinger recruited Johns Hopkins Medicine to consult on clinical trials and quantitatively measure product benefits.

The end result is an 18-item line tailored to eight "skin states," namely, Basic Skin Health, Excessive Dryness, Excess Oiliness, Rough or Uneven Texture, Loss of Elasticity, Fine Lines & Wrinkles, UV Damage & Discoloration and Sun Protection. Sephora will use these skin states to organize its Cosmedicine display, which will occupy six feet in most stores and three feet in smaller formats. Color-coded sections will direct shoppers to the appropriate products for their skin state.

The retailer will also outfit 11 of its stores with Klinger's diagnostic machine, which analyzes the skin and recommends products accordingly. To fete the rollout, Sephora will dress its windows with a Cosmedicine display that plays up the "Truth Is Beauty" message.

True to their medical bent, Cosmedicine product names sound much like a health care plan: Primary Care Multi-Tasking Moisturizer, Opti-mologist Eye Cream With Light Diffusers, Hydra Healer Maximum Strength Moisture Cream and Private Nurse Recovery & Repair Cream PM, a nighttime treatment said to improve skin elasticity by 32 percent in eight weeks. The cream contains crosslinked sodium hyaluronate, an ingredient found in several prescription wrinkle fillers.

Products range in price from $28 for the Full Benefits Lip Plumper, Hydrator and Exfoliator to $85 for the MegaDose Skin Fortifying Serum PM With Retinol. Neither KAA nor Sephora would comment on sales, but industry sources forecast Cosmedicine will generate more than $20 million in first-year retail sales.But for all its potency, Cosmedicine is not about trumpeting star ingredients, noted its chief formulation officer Mark Potter, who is also a meteorologist. "The skin is too complex for buzzwords, like 'green tea,'" declared Potter, adding that healing and treating skin requires a multifaceted approach, which relies on an intricate set of ingredients formulated in a specific way.

For instance, Potter explained that Cosmedicine's Medi-Matte Oil Control Lotion masks oil by creating an optical illusion and reduces sebum by making it more volatile so that it "flashes off" the skin.

Potter channeled his meteorologist experience to formulate the line's two sunscreens, Global Health SPF 30 for face and body. When tested in a 90-degree "sweatbox" the waterless formulas stayed put — no dripping or running — for eight hours, noted Terker. "We've created a sunscreen that does feel like a sunscreen," said Potter.

Johns Hopkins' involvement stems from the university's relationship with KAA's chairman and chief executive officer Richard Rakowski from when he served as president at American Healthways Inc., a provider of disease management and health care services, explained Fred Brancati, professor of medicine and epidemiology and director of the Division of General Internal Medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He added that KAA approached Johns Hopkins to standardize product testing and training within each of its facilities. "The plan is to continue to focus on objective results," said Brancati.

Cosmedicine marks the company's latest effort to reposition KAA (formerly known as Georgette Klinger) into a one-stop shop for beauty and cosmetic enhancement. This May, KAA plans to open locations in Beverly Hills and Chevy Chase, Md., and another location in North Park, Tex., in June.

The company has also begun developing a prescription version of the skin care line that will be sold in dermatologist offices.

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