NEW YORK — Dermatologist Dr. Dennis Gross has given his M.D. Skincare line a facelift.

The 15-stockkeeping-unit assortment has been completely redesigned and it is slated to bow in new packaging in May. Coinciding with the new-look debut is the launch of three new products, one of which is a body peel inspired by Gross’ core face peel.

New silver-and-white packaging features an orange shade that’s more vivid than the existing orange hue. The goal was visual "pop," a "slick, upscale" appearance and a more prominent logo, according to Mary Leber, president of M.D. Skincare. Plans call for the revamped products, once they are ready, to replace items in current distribution. After being swapped out, existing products will likely be sold through

M.D. Skincare is also jumping from the face category — historically the brand’s primary emphasis — into the body care arena by launching Alpha-Beta Daily Body Peel in May. The item includes 30 two-step treatments, or 60 pads split between two jars, for $78. Then, in June, the brand will introduce a 6.7-oz. tube of Shower Gel, $38, and an 8-oz. pump of Body Serum for $45.

Sources speculate that the trio of body launches could reap $18 million in first-year retail sales volume. Separately, total M.D. Skincare sales volume is expected to pass the $20 million mark this year. That figure could double in 2004, according to industry estimates.

Gross, who has researched skin cancer at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Institute and New York University Medical Center, began a private practice 12 years ago. Before long, he found that professional face peels could be "irritating," due to ever-increasing concentrations of glycolic acid administered during treatment regimens. Gross therefore began tinkering with peel formulations that had lower levels of several acids and, in the mid-Nineties, launched his first product, Alpha-Beta Daily Face Peel, which he sold in his office.

Today, the Daily Face Peel uses a cocktail of alpha hydroxy, beta salicylic, citric and malic acids. "The skin does better with multiple acids at a lower concentration," Gross claims. The same "less-is-more" philosophy was applied to his later products, which formally made their debut under M.D. Skincare in 2000. Items in the line often feature multiple functions — like All In One Facial Cleanser With Toner, which is designed to both cleanse and tone.The line is carried in about 500 spa doors. The brand also markets a range of seven sku’s designed for use by aestheticians, including a peel, cleanser and tinted moisturizer. Additionally, 80 or so retail stores, including Nordstrom, Bergdorf Goodman and Fred Segal Essentials, carry the retail collection. Leber plans to add about 200 doors to M.D. Skincare’s distribution network by yearend.

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