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Derm Devices

By: Leslie Benson
Posted: August 21, 2008, from the September 2008 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.
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While some device manufacturers such as Light Dimensions have decided to retail equipment directly to consumers for home use—usually working in conjunction with skin creams and serums—others, such as Bio-Therapeutic, market crossover devices to skin care and medical professionals. Bio-Therapeutic’s president, David Suzuki, says this enables professionals to provide instructional guidance to their clientele regarding the “smart technology” that is utilized by many home devices. Smart technology refers to electrical pulses, such as microcurrents, that assist in noninvasive facelifts, infrared light waves and more.

The anti-aging market

So who is buying into the derm device trend? According to Hawkins, who recently helped produce the Carol Cole Company’s device, “Twenty-five percent of annual growth in sales of anti-aging products and treatments are from baby boomers. Most are upper-middle-class women and men who believe 60 is the new 40 and are willing to use anti-aging products to look and feel better.”

Men and women ages 20 and up desire fitter faces, says Hawkins, but the largest consumer category for these products is the baby boomer generation. Of the U.S. population, Hawkins says about 30% are recognized as baby boomers.

Marketing specifically to baby boomer females, Light Dimensions’ device uses individual bursts of infrared and red light to encourage the production of collagen and elastin for younger-looking skin. Maisel says medical professionals use larger devices with thousands of LEDs—usually not directly in contact with the skin—whereas some handheld devices place light in direct contact with the skin’s surface.

So these treatments may mimic medical light treatments on a smaller level but how does its at-home use affect professionals relying on clients’ office visits for their livelihoods? According to Maisel, skin care devices are not a threat to medical professionals. Rather, their treatments can be seen as symbiotic to those found at spas and medical offices. “The more aware people are of light-based treatments, the more everyone benefits and the market grows,” he says.