Skin care devices offer a new dimension to anti-aging regimens.Nothing we do can halt the progression of time, but for millions of consumers around the world there is the belief that this progression of time need not be reflected in our skin, or more specifically our face. These facts are reflected in current market trends. In fact, data from Euro-monitor and Freedonia Group indicate that most of the growth in the multi-billion dollar skin care market can be attributed to the anti-aging segment, which is expected to grow at around 25% over the coming years. In addition, the "beauty-from-within" category is also expected to grow, with Data-monitor predicting the European market alone to be worth $4.4 billion by 2009.
At the In-Cosmetics International trade show held in Barcelona, Spain, in April 2006, a series of presentations were made on the global trends in skin care. There were some consistent themes emerging from this conference, which included a migration of premium brands further up the price/value chain, the trend toward more functional skin care, the use of innovative bioactive ingredients from botanical or other natural sources and brands leveraging the clinical or physician-endorsed trend.
Many of these trends are underpinned by a consumer group that is experiencing the ever-increasing effects of aging in the mirror. They are seeking greater results in a shorter period of time and are prepared to pay for it.
An emerging value proposition for these consumers is the ability to demonstrate early results from a skin care and nutritional supplement regimen. This is being achieved by a variety of emerging technologies that can detect and quantify changes that remain undetectable to the human eye. Keep in mind, it is often this lack of observable results that causes a consumer not to persevere with a product and try an alternative. The value in the ability to detect an early change in the structure and physiology of the skin may be enough to encourage the customer to remain compliant with a specific brand.
Another benefit of quantifying an individual's skin parameters is the ability to personalize the nutrition or skin care program. This has the effect of reinforcing the strengths of a consumer brand and builds customer loyalty.
In pursuit of greater results from their anti-aging regimen, consumers are demanding higher-level assurances from their skin care brands. This has driven the trend of manufacturers to leverage clinical data in product promotion. It has fueled the growth in both nutritional supplements and functional foods that promote beauty from within. The leveraging of clinical evidence has also been the stimulus for the first signs of consumer-based devices that can measure improvements in skin, which the human eye cannot detect.
New Skin Care Devices
Canfield Scientific Inc., Fairfield, NJ, has supplied high-end digital imaging technology to dermatologists for years and is considered the standard for assessment of skin using digital imaging. As with many of the technologies that migrate from a physician's clinic to home-based consumer application, digital imaging of skin is currently making its debut as a consumer application. The same technology that made Canfield a leader in dermatology has continued to advance, and as with other high-end technologies, the widespread use of digital imaging has led to a dramatic reduction in both cost and physical size of the technology, putting the technology in reach of the consumer.
An example of this approach is the ProDerm Skin Analyzer from NuSkin, which is due to launch in the coming months. This hand-held consumer device combines an optical image capture function combined with recognition science and dermatology in a portable PDA-based tool that provides a scientific and quantifiable assessment of skin and skin care.
Another consumer device that recently launched is the BioZoom from Germany. This product was made possible through a joint venture between optics manufacturer Carl Zeiss and the European mobile phone company Vodafone. The device obtains biometric data by way of spectroscopic measurements on the skin. The data is then transmitted via Bluetooth to the mobile phone, where it is displayed in an evaluated format.
Companies like X-Rite in Michigan have also been developing the use of light and spectroscopic analysis in consumer products for measuring the effects of aging on the skin. X-Rite can use light to measure parameters such as water content, dermal thickness, collagen damage, lipid content and relative age of skin.
Light BioScience, Inc., based in Virginia, has also been busy working on the development of a consumer device based on its existing professional dermatology product line. This technology reduces fine lines and wrinkles and is supported with a line of nutritional supplements.
Despite low growth in many traditional areas of the skin care and personal care markets, consumers are spending more than ever before on functional skin care products that reflect innovation and are supported by good science. Beyond supplying generalized clinical data about the benefits of a product, consumers want to understand how a product relates directly to them and they want to know now. New and affordable technology will hit the consumer market in 2006, bringing with it the promise of greater transactional value for both the brand manufacturer and the customer.
Grant Washington-Smith and Paul Altaffer author a column called "From the Corners of the World" in every other issue of Nutraceuticals World magazine. They can be reached at email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org, respectively.
By Grant Washington-Smith & Paul Altaffer Contributing Editors