NEW YORK — Professional skin care lines such as La Roche-Posay are taking cues from mass market beauty companies such as Neutrogena and SPA Sciences by launching an at-home skin care procedure — but their plans include getting skin care patients back into the dermatologist’s office.
“We are going back to our roots with our relationships with dermatologists,” said Judy Carlo, assistant vice president of La Roche-Posay, a division of L’Oreal USA. “Our object is to bring the patient back to the office because we are seeing patients starting to experiment with do-it-yourself at-home kits. We are sharing our ideas to better understand what [doctor’s] needs are, and to ensure the products we make for them have the right levels of key ingredients.”
The number-one dermatologist-recommended skin care brand outside of the U.S. is launching two 21-day Intensive Treatments — one targeting acne and the other aimed at wrinkles. The treatments are meant to be recommended by the doctor and used prior to a derm treatment or in between a series of derm treatments, such as chemical peels and microdermabrasion. The Intensive Treatments, which will sell for $160 each, are expected to generate $2 million in the first 12 months, according to industry sources.
Carlo explained that the treatments are designed to accelerate treatments received in the office. Their formulas are not similar to what the mass marketplace is being flooded with now.
“This is not Neutrogena’s at-home acne treatment. That is a daily at-home product,” Carlo said.
The two 21-day procedures, which are being marketed under the Biomedic franchise, are a result of the boom of professional procedures, which over the past six years grew 400 percent, including both surgical and nonsurgical procedures. Growth has been driven, however, by nonsurgical treatments, said Carlo, such as Botox injections, chemical peels and microdermabrasion, which grew 51 percent from 2003 to 2004.
Acne is the number-one dermatological diagnosis today; wrinkle treatment is the number one reason behind cosmetic consultations. Thus, the two Intensive Treatments were born.
Each three-step procedure is to be used before bedtime and is conducted every other night for 21 days, the average time it takes for cell renewal. On the off nights, an alternate care product is administered.
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For the Wrinkle Treatment, a microdermabrasion creme is applied, which has a physical exfoliator, with 20 percent aluminum oxide crystals to remove dead skin cells. Then, a formula combining 10 percent glycolic acid and full-strength vitamin C is applied to stimulate collagen synthesis. Finally, a silicone-based barrier cream is smoothed on, to seal and protect the skin overnight.
On off nights, Wrinkle Treatment users are instructed to cleanse and dry skin as they normally would, then apply Active C, a leading antiage treatment from La Roche-Posay, which contains 5 percent L-ascorbic acid.
In dermatologist-controlled clinical studies, Carlo said the Wrinkle Treatment reduced deep wrinkles and obvious lines on 42 percent of the patients in just 21 days.
The Acne Treatment requires users to follow three steps as well.
The first step is a chemical exfoliation with a serum containing 1.5 percent salicylic acid and 0.5 percent lipohydroxy acid (LHA), a derivative of salicylic acid, a proprietary ingredient. The serum is applied with a cotton ball. Immediately after, an exfoliating system with 2 percent salicylic acid and 3.5 percent glycolic acid is applied. Finally, the silicone-based barrier cream is dabbed on.
On off nights, a serum formulated with LHA is applied.
Clinical studies, which were dermatologist- and placebo-controlled, were conducted on patients following a chemical peel. Patients using the placebo showed a slight improvement in skin appearance. Others using the real product realized a 57 percent reduction in whiteheads and blackheads in 21 days.”
Carlo stresses that the treatments are unlike anything being sold at doctor’s offices currently. “No other brand delivers such results in 21 days,” she said.
La Roche-Posay, which is based in a town in the center of France with the same name, launched in the U.S. in 1999. In 2001 L’Oreal USA acquired Biomedic, then a nine-year-old clinical skin care line based in Scottsdale, Ariz. Biomedic is now based in Manhattan. Biomedic, which is only sold in the U.S. currently, plans to roll out internationally during the next two years, where it would likely be sold in pharmacies.
“Selling products from the doctor’s office is a U.S. phenomenon,” Carlo said, which consumers buy based on doctor recommendations.
Several thousand dermatologists, plastic surgeons and doctors sell Biomedic products and have recently begun receiving the new Intensive Treatments. Rollout will continue over the next two to three months, with full distribution expected by August. A Biomedic sales force will continue to drive distribution of the procedures. Biomedic will also appear at dermatologist trade shows and participate in physician sampling.