Byline: Laura Klepacki

NEW YORK — Taking a page from skin cancer research, Dermablend is introducing a collection of skin care and foundation products containing a synthetic form of melanin said to rejuvenate and protect skin against signs of aging.
Melasyn 100 — developed by Dr. John M. Pawelek at the dermatology department of Yale University — is the key ingredient in Essential Benefits, slated to debut this summer. Twenty-one of the line’s 53 items contain the special ingredient, described as a water-soluble form of melanin designed to provide sun protection, even skin tone and fight free radicals. Pawelek created the synthetic molecule during 20 years of skin cancer research. Principal ingredients include aloe and mung bean, along with Vitamins A, C and E.
According to Timothy Hogan, president and chief executive officer of The Dermablend Group, which includes Dermablend and Posner cosmetics, Melasyn also mimics the natural color of the user’s skin tone. Thus, the Essential Benefits water-based foundation is available in only seven shades. “It gives us the range of 15 to 18 shades because it works up and down to adjust to skin tone,” said Hogan.
Other items containing Melasyn include concealer, leg and body foundation and a self-tanner. There is also a range of treatment with items such as Eye Revitalizing Complex, Hydrating Complex Creme and Vitamin C Serum. Daytime Advanced Enzyme Repair with Photozomes, a light lotion with sea-derived botanical enzymes, is said to capture the sun’s rays and help reverse UVB skin damage. Its counterpart — Nighttime Advanced Enzyme Repair with Ultrasomes — contains milk-derived enzymes to repair sun-damaged skin cells and prevent further damage. Additionally, there are several skin care cleansers and lotions as well as three adult acne items. Product prices begin at $30. Hogan says the timing of the launch, targeted at women 40 years old and over, couldn’t be better. “People are living longer and they want to look good,” he said. According to Census data, by 2005 nearly 40 percent of Americans will be over 45. “The baby boomers are our greatest ally right now,” said Hogan.
Essential Benefits will have a yearend distribution of 75 to 90 department store doors in major cities, including Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Dermablend plans to introduce the line in New York in August. Retailer negotiations are still being finalized, said Hogan. “Eventually, we will take it global,” he said.
Industry observers project first-year retail sales could reach $4 million, with an advertising and promotional budget of about $1 million. One print spot will carry the line, “We can’t call it a miracle. But you can.”