Serious Skin Care

November 10, 2005

Today's skin care category has many layers, and the innovations aren't about to slow down.

Skin care products are as multifaceted as the individuals who use them. No matter what one's regimen-a simple cleansing-and-moisturization routine or intensive repair, brightening or evening of the complexion-products are available to meet her needs.

Some skin care professionals argue that more is not necessarily better. Nevertheless, consumers are purchasing a greater variety of skin care products than ever before. The mass skin care category grew more than 7% in the 52 weeks ending Feb. 24 at supermarkets, drug stores and mass merchandisers (excluding Wal-Mart), according to Information Resources Inc., Chicago. The fastest-growing categories were cleansers, which grew more than 9% for the period, and skin fade/age/bleach creams, which rose a hefty 12.9%, according to IRI. Moisturizers, though a staple in most consumers' skin care regimens, declined 4.6% in sales. Part of the reason may be that many specialty products contain enough ingredients to moisturize the skin without the need for added cream or lotion, according to industry experts contacted by Happi.

With moisturizers and skin-protective ingredients included in many cosmetics, washes and treatments, consumers are able to focus on fine-tuning problem areas with the latest reparative products. And there's no shortage of skin care add-ons: eye and neck treatments, skin lightening items, complexion-evening creams and age-and-stage specific lines are all in the offering for today's choosey consumer.

Back to Basics
But do consumers really need all those added steps to their beauty routines? Not necessarily. According to some industry executives, the average woman doesn't need more skin care products-just better ones.

Lamas Beauty International, Los Angeles, CA, utilizes cosmeceuticals and a higher percentage of actives in its skin care products for a more targeted skin care regimen, according to company founder Peter Lamas. Mr. Lamas has more than 30 years in the beauty industry and has worked with such clients as Audrey Hepburn and Elizabeth Taylor. "There's so much hope-in-a-jar in the cosmetic industry today," said Mr. Lamas. "But when you purchase a product, though the ingredients may in fact be in that jar, they are sometimes diluted. It can be a little misleading."

While consumers may be getting less than they need in the way of actives, they may also be getting some things they don't want, according to Mr. Lamas. "What you put on your skin is absorbed," he commented. "Many products that call themselves natural actually combine both naturals and synthetics, and some contain ingredients that can be irritating to sensitive skin. Consumers must read labels carefully to know exactly what they're buying."

Besides potentially irritating ingredients, other unwanted items can easily penetrate our body's natural barrier-including UV rays. These can encourage a buildup of free radicals. "The skin stores free radicals; your body holds onto them, and the effects are cumulative," Mr. Lamas said. And as most consumers know, free radicals can be damaging to the body and aging to the skin, showing up years after exposure as lines, wrinkles, age spots and a breakdown of collagen. Mr. Lamas' products are designed to deliver the highest possible prevention or repair combined with the lowest possible sensitivity, he said.

It took a lot of research to achieve such claims. Lamas executives have collected data from as far back as the 1970s on such products as vitamin C, for example. And the company investigated and included advanced liposome technology to allow for better penetration of product actives.

In addition to lab technicians and scientists, Lamas executives listened carefully to the consumers themselves. One recurring theme was the fact that some women felt uncomfortable revealing themselves makeup-less at night, even though skin-smoothing treatment products had been applied.

Aubrey Organics repositioned its skin care products into six lines to help consumers choose the products that are right for them.

This concept contributed to the creation of Lamas' Night Radiance serum, part of the company's Night Radiance line. The color is not part of the treatment's actives, and it isn't makeup-the hint of tint is naturally derived. But the product can give a morale boost by adding the appearance of a healthier skin tone at bedtime. "The treatment itself heals and encourages collagen buildup," he said. "It contains copper, which has tremendous healing properties, and retinol and coenzyme Q10 to reduce the appearance of wrinkles. In addition, it contains salicylic acid to mildly exfoliate the skin." The slight tint adds the finishing touch; the product's color blends well with any skin tone, according to Mr. Lamas. "It provides a natural color," he said. "It's very subtle."

Other products in the Lamas line include Pro-Vita C moisturizer SPF 15, for all skin types; Pro-Vita C Plus Vital Infusion Complex, combining vitamin C ester, alpha lipoic acid and DMAE to combat skin damage while stimulating skin regeneration; Pro Vita-C Eye Maintenance gel for delicate skin and Radiant-C face and body wash.

"You don't need to use more products or comparatively more expensive products to achieve proper skin care," Mr. Lamas stressed. "A low-active product is little more than a very expensive moisturizer." Higher-active products deliver more for one's money: "You need to use good products that are designed correctly to address the problems."

A Fresh Approach
Natural ingredients are popular now, but some marketers have been delivering natural products to an eager public for decades. Such is the case with Tampa, FL-based Aubrey Organics. The company is the brainchild of Aubrey Hampton, who grew up on an organic farm in rural Indiana and learned from his mother how to prepare herbal cosmetics. Later Mr. Hampton became a phytochemist and went on to work for Faberge. It was then that he got the idea to begin a natural skin care company, company executives said.

Aubrey Organics was created in 1967 and since then has produced more than 200 hair, skin and body care products which are sold throughout the U.S., Europe and Asia.

The company has instituted a lot of changes during that time; most recently, the line was repositioned to make it easier for consumers to find the right product, according to Aubrey executives. "Consumers are looking for products that are effective, but they need to know which ones are right for them," commented Karyn Trumback, sales and education, Aubrey Organics. "Previously our focus revolved around the ingredients themselves, such as green tea, blue algae and rose hip seed oil. Though this was accurate, it was confusing to customers."

The new packaging enables individuals to look up products according to individual skin type. "We're appealing to consumers on a visual level, and utilizing a number system that enables them to immediately pick out the products that are best for them," Ms. Trumbaugh said.

The packaging is new, but the company maintains its original tenet: natural, effective products. "We're certified organic processors for aloe vera gel and jojoba oil, and we have the rosa mosqueta (rose hip seed) oil name copyrighted for our company as an organic product," Ms. Trumbaugh revealed.

The skin care collection includes six lines: Dry Skin, Combination Dry Skin, Normal Skin, Combination Oily Skin, Oily Skin and Sensitive Skin.

"Our new look and product classification system reflect what our company is all about: offering innovative, customer-friendly and all-natural personal care solutions for today's busy men and women," commented Mr. Hampton, founder and chief executive officer.

Ms. Trumbaugh said that keeping products natural requires that they be fresh, not stored for long periods of time. "Our products are never warehoused," she said, "so they're always extremely fresh. We fill batches into bottles within two days, then send them out to the stores. We don't use synthetic preservatives, so the finished product has to be fresh."

In recent years, this niche giant has gained more than a few competitors, but company executives remain confident. "We were the leader in natural skin care for years," Ms. Trumbaugh said. "Now there's a lot of competition. People who use synthetics in addition to their natural products can sell for less, but for quality of ingredients, they can't come close to what we deliver."

It's Never Too Early
How soon is too soon to start taking care of one's skin? According to professionals contacted by Happi, preventing environmental damage and slowing the aging process can't begin too early. With that in mind, teenagers are the latest segment to be targeted by skin care product manufacturers. "The teen population is the biggest it has been since the 60s. They have a great deal of disposable income, which they love to spend on beauty products," revealed Jill Freeman Bucksbaum, co-founder (along with Mark Freeman) of pH Beauty Labs, Los Angeles, CA. The sister-and-brother team have a long history in the cosmetic market; their father Larry was the founder of Freeman Cosmetics.

The company created the Totally Juicy line, a new release for spring. The products are fun, easy to use and effective, according to company. Totally Juicy products are pH balanced and include such teen-friendly names as Raspberry pore cleanser, Apple Hot Sugar scrub, Grape Clay masque and Grapefruit Sugar scrub.

Along with the fun factor come clear benefits. For example, Totally Juicy Raspberry pore cleanser is gentle, suitable for most skin types and washes away dirt and oil deep inside pores for clean, radiant skin. And Totally Juicy Grapefruit Sugar scrub provides refreshing exfoliation and includes grapefruit extracts rich in vitamin C and enzymes, as well as AHA-packed brown sugar.

Because the products combine desired skin care activity with ease of use, pH Beauty Labs executives found that teens weren't the only group interested in the line. "In our focus groups, we discovered that consumers older than our target audience found Totally Juicy products appealing," Ms. Freeman Bucksbaum said. "It goes to show that fun skin care is not just for kids, but for everyone."

Totally Juicy is price conscious, with products retailing for $4.99 or less. The brand comprises seven facial products and five body products. The line rolls out at mass merchandisers nationwide this month.

First Things First
Since any good skin care regimen begins with a good cleanser, marketers have produced a wealth of new releases for both face and body.

Olay added a new dry skin formula to its Olay Complete body wash line. The line also includes Florica and Botanica scents for normal skin and an unscented version for sensitive skin.

Procter & Gamble, once again No. 1 in both moisturizers and cleansers, now offers free samples of a variety of products at its Olay site, including Daily Facials cloths and items in its Total Effects line. The slogan "Love the skin you're in" has appeared in advertisements for Olay products.

Sun and the aging process can produce dark discolorations on the skin. Cuccio Naturalé uses lemon and kojic acid to lighten them.

Origins Natural Resources Inc. expanded its skin care offerings with two new cleansers, Never a Dull Moment Skin-Brightening face cleanser with fruit extracts and Get Down Deep-Pore Clay cleanser. Never a Dull Moment exfoliates and retexturizes with extracts of papaya and mango coupled with creamy cleansers; Get Down works as both a creamy exfoliating cleanser and a facial mask.

Robanda International Inc., San Diego, CA introduced Exfoliating facial wash in a 4-oz. tube; it retails for $19. The product utilizes mild exfoliants to remove dead surface skin cells but is gentle enough to use up to four times a week, according to company executives.

For Every Body added Sweet Pea to its original collection last month. The collection includes lotion, shower gel, splash, bath salts, massage oil and bubble bath. The products are all natural, and the shower gel is enriched with panthenol (vitamin B5).

French company RoC released Actif-Pur Anti-wrinkle Cleansing lotion. According to the company's 2001 Facial Skin Care Attitude and Usage study, 75% of women ages 25-49 wanted a cleanser that would simultaneously reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. The result was Actif-Pur Anti-wrinkle, a cleanser that is used twice daily to help diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles in as little as four weeks, according to company executives. The product retails for $8.99.

It all starts with a good clean: Origins offers Get Down Deep Pore clay cleanser.

Top That
After cleansing, choosey consumers normally reach for a product that will correct or prevent-or both. They're in luck: this year's new releases do more than just moisturize.

Neutrogena-No. 2 in moisturizers and cleansers, according to IRI-offers Active Copper, a trademarked technology. According to company executives, the dermatologist-developed formulas deliver copper deep within skin's surface to visibly improve elasticity and help restore firmness. Smooth, even coverage helps reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Active Copper is incorporated into Neutrogena's Visibly firm moisture makeup, Visibly Firm night cream and Visibly Firm eye cream.

Lancôme was busy this year as well. "The phrase 'time marches on' is all too familiar to women, especially when it comes to their skin," according to a Lancôme spokesperson.

To fight the good fight, the brand created Absolue Replenishing creme and lotion SPF 15, which intensely hydrate the skin while improving its elasticity and visibly reviving skin clarity.

Ingredients include wild yam, sea algae and soy extract in a bio networked combination that addresses the primary concerns of women as their skin ages: dryness, loss of elasticity and radiance. Absolue replenishing creme SPF 15 and Absolue replenishing lotion SPF 15 each retail for $90.

Orlane Paris focuses on eyes, one of the first facial features to show the effects of aging and environment, with its new B21 Absolute Skin Recovery concentrate.

Absolute Skin Recovery concentrate comprises a two-step program to relax and refresh the skin around the eyes. The Energy gel contains molecular-size anti-fatigue actives to penetrate in-stantly, tone and revitalize the skin, while Relaxing cotton pads, soaked with refreshing plant extracts, relax, decongest and soothe. Effects include a reduction in dark circles, puffiness and fine lines and an increase in radiance and brightness.

Yves Rocher takes an innovative approach to skin care with Haute Fermeté, a texture patch containing two different polymers that merge on application. The first is translucent and forms a supple, uniform film; the other is pink colored and is already used in the medical field for its exemplary affinity with the skin and its elastic qualities, company executives said. The combination is applied to the neck for a firming effect that makes the area appear visibly lifted and re-sculpted.

Deep Down
Skin complaints can run deeper than fine lines or dryness. For skin problems that aren't serious enough to require medical attention, but are too bothersome to ignore, skin care experts have developed new solutions.

Eucerin Itch-Relief Moisturizing spray is strong enough to calm the itch associated with dry skin conditions like eczema or atopic dermatitis, yet gentle enough for children's delicate skin, company executives said. The spray delivers tiny particles of menthol to immediately help stop itching, while glycerin and other emollients moisturize the skin. Though it is ideal for children, the spray is recommended for anyone who suffers from dry skin or some skin conditions. The product retails for $7.85.

Yves Saint Laurent's Haute Fermeté visibly lifts and firms the skin on the neck area.
Skin discoloration can be a trial for individuals who battle with it. Cuccio Naturalé, Valencia, CA, invites consumers to lighten up with its new Pigmentation and Skin Lightening serum. The serum combines enzymes from lemon oil with kojic acid to penetrate the skin and retexturize damaged cells. The product works in two to three weeks with regular use.

It's hard to say what will be next on the horizon for over-the-counter skin care, but the gap is narrowing between basic cleansing or moisturizing and down-deep skin therapy. With prevention, protection and correction, consumers can effect a skin care routine that suits them from the inside out.

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