Advanced Skin & Hair Inc. is banking on growth factors to nurture its antiaging business.

This story first appeared in the August 29, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

The Los Angeles-based company’s new line, Rejuve MD, is fueled by three yeast-derived growth factors, or proteins that are said to send signals to cells to rejuvenate skin. They are epidermal growth factor for the outer dermis, fibroblast growth factor for the lower and transforming growth factor-beta for skin damage and inflammation. A proprietary liposomal delivery system, dubbed MatrixGF, transports the growth factors to the layers of the skin where they work.

“We have been able to cooperate with a laboratory to [use] these ingredients at much higher concentrations and a lower price,” said Alan Shargani, Advanced Skin & Hair’s president. “Previously, growth factors were produced by damaging the skin to release growth factors such as with microdermabrasion. Then came peptides. These are little pieces of growth factors. By using growth factors, you don’t dilute the message with a fragment in the form of peptides.”

Rejuve MD is kicking off with two items: a face product at $150 for 1.7 oz. and an eye product at $80 for 0.5 oz. Shargani stressed Advanced Skin & Hair’s goal is to launch a few unique products rather than bombarding the market. “We are going to have other products, but not just because we want to have other products. We want to do something new,” he said. “We are a little bit of an atypical company. We are not just into expansion, expansion, expansion.”

Rejuve MD is aimed at women 25 to 60 years old, although Advanced Skin & Hair believes the line can especially appeal to educated consumers on the younger side of that range. “Antiaging is changing, and more and more younger people are trying to get a head start. Anybody over the age of 30 could be a customer,” said Shargani.

The line is slated to enter roughly 20 dermatologist offices and medispas within the next two months before it will be offered for wider release in mid-2009 upon the completion of clinical studies. Jennifer Carp, account coordinator for Advanced Skin & Hair, said the company considers the line to be a fit for prestige department stores, specialty stores and television shopping networks the likes of Saks Fifth Avenue, Sephora and QVC, respectively. Industry sources estimate the line could generate $2 million in first-year sales.

Clearogen, a line by Advanced Skin & Hair to tackle hormonal acne, is currently undergoing a repackaging before a QVC debut in six months to a year, according to Carp. In its existing form, Clearogen is sold in some 250 doctor’s offices and spas in the U.S. Another Advanced Skin & Hair line called Revivogen targets hair loss, and Carp noted the company is branching its distribution out from primarily hair restoration clinics and doctor’s offices to salons. “Salons only really have Nioxin now,” she said.

Alex Khadavi, a dermatologist who coowns the Encino and Thousand Oaks Dermatology and Laser Centers in the greater Los Angeles area, launched Advanced Skin & Hair in 1998 with Revivogen. Although Shargani would not disclose the company’s yearly sales, he said about 50 percent of Advanced Skin & Health’s business is generated in 23 countries outside the U.S., and the company has experienced a double-digit growth rate of late. “We have been growing every year since our inception. This year is our best year,” said Shargani.

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