Skip to main content

Launch Pad: Clinical Skin Care Is Cool Again

At the higher end of the market, expertise still counts for something.

Peter Thomas Roth Pro Strength Niacinamide Discoloration Treatment, $88

A 15 percent proprietary brightening complex consisting of niacinamide, tranexamic acid, kojic acid, alpha arbutin and pentapetide powers the latest addition to the brand’s pro strength line. Launched in September exclusively with Sephora, the Pro Strength products are designed to be more potent and targeted than offerings from the brand’s core line. Thus far, they seem to be resonating — launched in early February on, the new niacinamide treatment became the brand’s best-selling sku on the site within three weeks, and the Pro Retinoid Peptide Serum, $110; is said to be a bestseller as well.

Dr. Barbara Sturm Night Serum, $310

Sturm is known for preaching an anti-inflammatory lifestyle with skin care, fueled by hyaluronic acid and the powerful antioxidant, purslane, to match. Her once-niche luxury products — $300-plus for a serum anyone? — are now sold at Sephora and are hits with other retailers. “You’ll find her hero Hyaluronic Serum — our number-one-selling serum — in nearly every makeup artist and celebrity skin routine,” said Maureen Choi, executive director of content and curation at Violet Grey. The brand’s new night serum, launched Feb. 27 on and, piggybacks on the brand’s Sleep Food supplement, and said to boost the skin’s nightly renewal process with exotic-sounding ingredients like cotton thistle extract, senna alata extract and Poria Cocos.

Related Galleries

Augustinus Bader x Victoria Beckham Cell Rejuvenating Power Serum, $210

You May Also Like

This is the second launch to come from the partnership between Beckham and Bader, the scientist, professor and founder of a self-named cult skin-care line. The serum, launched in early February, is infused with Bader’s proprietary TFC8 stem cell-repairing complex and housed in recyclable glass packaging. It is for now retailed exclusively through Violet Grey ( and, where it is “quickly becoming a bestseller,” said Maureen Choi, executive director of content and creation at Violet Grey.

Dr. Sobel Skin RX, $42 to $105 

Dr. Howard Sobel, who founded Doctor’s Dermatologic Formula in the Nineties, is back with a modernized take on the skin-care solutions he’s honed in his decades as a cosmetic derm to Upper East Siders. Eight sku’s are packed with active ingredients such as glycolic acid, peptides and retinol, and said to penetrate the skin deeper than the average product via Dr. Sobel’s proprietary delivery system, which he’s hoping to patent. The products are exclusive to Dr. Sobel’s web site and Sephora.

Dr. Loretta Urban Antioxidant Sunscreen, $50

The most recent entry into the mineral sunscreen market is from Dr. Loretta Ciraldo, a Florida-based derm whose line — done in partnership The Art of Shaving founder Myriam Zaoui Malka — is sold at department stores such as Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus. The zinc oxide-based SPF promises antioxidant protection from free radicals, sun and blue light, and can act as a lightweight primer or foundation.

Macrene Actives, $95 to $365 

Dr. Macrene Alexiades — or simply Macrene to those in-the-know — is another sought-after Upper East Side dermatologist with a recently revamped namesake line. Alexiades, who is also a clinical professor at Yale, combines her scientific knowledge with over fifty natural ingredients for a highly-active skin-care line that is hand-batched at her farm in upstate New York. The luxury line is sold at retailers such as Net-a-Porter and Violet Grey, where the High-Performance Lip Filler is a hero stockkeping unit. “She’s blazing a new frontier in natural formulations that are equal parts efficacious and environmentally minded,” said Choi.

Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Daily Peels, 20th Anniversary Edition, $88

Dr. Gross’s peel pads turn 20 this year, and the exfoliating treatments seem to be just as relevant as ever. Sold at a range of retailers from Sephora to Violet Grey to QVC, the acid peels ” fly off our shelves because they’re a no-brainer, so travel-friendly, and they work,” according to Choi. The cult-favorite product, available in three strengths, will be available in limited-edition reusable tins containing 30 peel pads (five more than usual).