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The New Cosmeceutical Entrepreneurs

By: Amy Kamin
Posted: June 24, 2008, from the February 2006 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

A physician’s endorsement of a skin care line has clout, but ultimately it is up to estheticians to use their own judgment.

Today’s multibillion-dollar cosmetics industry experienced a major evolution during the 20th century when three trailblazing women became beauty experts and introduced their products to enthusiastic female consumers. Elizabeth Arden opened her first salon in 1910, Helena Rubenstein brought her products to the United States in 1912 and Estée Lauder sold her skin creams to a department store for the first time in 1948. What began with innovators in the cosmetic industry grew to involve highly specialized physicians inspiring the beauty industry.

The current trend of physician-endorsed cosmeceutical product lines includes doctors’ namesake lines that either have been developed on their own or in conjunction with a cosmetic company, created for an established brand or with a successful retail company, such as a drugstore chain. Famous brand companies are actively interested in investing their capital to launch product lines partnering with notable physicians.

Skin doctors: The traditional role

In the past, doctors’ sole income came from the medical services and procedures they provided to their patients. With their medical reimbursements drastically reduced and certain services no longer covered, physicians have the incentive to search for alternative sources of income. Most recently, dermatologists have become fascinated with the anti-aging trend, and have expanded their practices to include cosmetic and surgical treatments. Out of necessity, they became well versed in pharmaceutical preparations to treat the vast array of skin conditions presented to them. Treated conditions include acne, psoriasis, eczema and, more recently, the treatment of the visible signs of aging, such as brown spots, red spots, broken capillaries, and fine lines and wrinkles.

Plastic surgeons also have begun to deal with esthetic treatment programs to further assist their patients. They have found that their goal to improve the appearance through facelifts and brow lifts, for example, is not enough. Although the wrinkles may be gone, the plastic surgeon’s surgical results will look better, further satisfying the patient, if the skin’s texture, elasticity and overall appearance show significant improvement.

The medical advantage