Skin Laundry Laser & Light Therapy Facial

The professional skin-care space remains ripe for M&A activity.

Recent years have seen a handful of deals, including Unilever’s acquisitions of Dermalogica and Kate Somerville, as well as Colgate-Palmolive’s purchases of EltaMD and PCA Skin in 2017. Also last year, Haitong International Zhonghua Finance paid $190 million for Obagi Medical Products.

“Do I think there’s going to be more of this? I do,” said Karen Doskow, director at Kline, who noted that Image Skin Care, ZO Skin Health and Eminence Organics could be potential targets. Beauty financial sources have indicated that the professional skin-care market is likely to see continued M&A activity.

The U.S. professional skin-care category grew more than 6 percent for 2017, according to research from Kline. “It’s a very vibrant market,” said Doskow.

That growth is being driven by an increasing number of physicians that are providing treatments and selling products in their offices. It’s also being driven by Amazon, which recently launched a professional beauty offering, as well as new medical spa offerings like SkinCeuticals Advanced Clinical Spas, Skin Laundry and Alchemy 43, according to Kline.

“Medical care providers are one of the fastest-growing segments or channels of distribution for these products,” Doskow said. “A lot of consumers are, I don’t want to call it flocking, but they’re definitely going in greater numbers because of the variety of nonsurgical procedures that many of these doctors offer.

“We’re all aware of Botox and fillers, but there are other laser treatments, treatments for double chins, and while they’re in there, they have greater exposure to these products,” Doskow continued. “Not only that, but there’s a greater number of physicians continuing to offer these products.”

Most of the U.S. professional skin-care market is dominated by larger cosmetic and pharmaceutical companies, but there are a handful of niche brands making their mark, according to Doskow. Alastin and SkinBetter Science both recorded triple-digit growth for 2017, and EltaMD, PCA Skin and ZO Skin Health recorded double-digit growth, according to Kline.

Ingredient trends in professional skin include anti-pollution, as well as a re-emergence of marine-based ingredients, according to Doskow. While some trends in the professional skin-care space overlap with those in consumer skin care (antipollution is big in both segments, for example), the professional skin-care shopper is more focused on results and efficacy, she noted. Masks are also doing well in the professional segment, Doskow noted.

“There’s been a rise in terms of claims like providing radiance and glow — those seem to be buzzwords,” she said.

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