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The New Cosmeceutical Entrepreneurs

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

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With his anti-aging program that focuses on diet, nutritional supplements and topicals, Nicholas Perricone, MD, also has achieved celebrity status. Recently, he was featured on the cover of The New York Times Magazine in an article titled “Perriconology.” He also is the author of three New York Times No. 1 bestsellers and is a frequent guest on national television shows such as The Oprah Winfrey Show.

The academicians

A most fascinating trend is the interest that well-known beauty and retail companies have in wanting to be associated with physicians who have clout in the medical community and prestigious academic affiliations.

Jeffrey Dover, MD, director of Skin Care Physicians in Boston, is associate clinical professor of dermatology at Yale University School of Medicine and adjunct professor of medicine (dermatology) at Dartmouth Medical School. He was approached by CVS Corp. to develop and market his own product line that now is distributed in 5,000 drugstores. Dover was involved in the project from its inception, selecting the original nine products and working with two groups of pharmaceutical chemists to determine the chemical content of the products. He also was instrumental in choosing the scent, packaging, labeling and colors utilized. CVS and Dover used outside focus groups for their research, but the major benefit was the physician’s ability to test these products on his own patients. This gave Dover a direct line to consumers and instantaneous public opinion.

Other company affiliations with physicians with impressive academic appointments include Katie Rodan, MD, adjunct clinical assistant professor of dermatology at Stanford University School of Medicine, whose company, Rodan+Fields, was acquired by The Estée Lauder Companies, Inc.; Patricia Wexler, MD, associate clinical professor for the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, who works in affiliation with Limited’s Bath and Body Division; and Neil Sadick, MD, clinical professor of dermatology at The Weil Medical College of Cornell University, who recently was named global medical director of Dior/LVMH.

The esthetician’s decision

One of the challenges of being an esthetician is becoming an expert on products and ingredients, and navigating through this massive product marketplace. The key to success is to thoughtfully determine the products that are most suitable for your facility and clients. The category of high-end medical professional brands will become more crowded as physicians pursue business opportunities in this arena, and, in turn, this will create more complicated decisions for estheticians. A physician’s endorsement of a skin care line does have clout and certainly impacts the consumer’s decision-making process; a doctor creating the line personally may similarly impact the choice of an esthetician. Ultimately, it is up to estheticians to use their own judgment and product selection criteria to ensure the success of their retail sales.