Inside This Issue - Opinion
Expertise in skin care is one way to build shopper loyalty
August 19th, 2013
by Jennifer Johnston
Unlike traditional skin care products, which are typically used for moisturizing, medicated skin care products provide relief from such conditions as acne, eczema, rashes and itching, rosacea, warts, and psoriasis.
These products can be found across the store in multiple categories, or in a special medicated skin care section or end-cap display.
Companies that specialize in medicated skin care products, such as Ermis Labs with its CoralActives line, are seeing positive results from this emerging category, which has accelerated in recent years.
“While we began with a uniquely formulated acne treatment line, the growth of the category as a whole has prompted us to develop a line of medicated body bars for everything from eczema and psoriasis to fungal infections,” notes Brian McNamara, vice president of operations at Ermis Labs.
Acne is arguably the most common skin disorder in the United States, affecting 40 million to 50 million Americans according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Since they address a leading skin care concern among teens and young adults, acne products do extremely well in drug stores. Last year alone, acne products produced nearly $185 million in the drug class of trade, according to IRI data for the 52 weeks ended March 24.
In May the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended that acne treatment for children of all ages, including the preteen segment, should begin with an over-the-counter product. This may inspire some savvy chains to develop a personal care section for preteens and teens to include such teen-focused acne products as ZapZyt or Clean & Clear.
Medicated skin care product growth is also being driven by aging baby boomers. Younger baby boomers are as concerned with maintaining a youthful appearance as they are with dealing with such conditions as eczema, psoriasis and rosacea, while treating skin sores and cuts has become a focus for older boomers now approaching age 70.
PharmaCline is among the companies that are attempting to reach this growing segment through such products as Diabecline, the first topical O-T-C antibiotic to contain the maximum amount of tetracycline HCI 3% without a prescription. Similarly, Ferndale Healthcare offers DerMend Moisturizing Bruise Formula targeted to aging or sun-damaged skin.
Another trend among medicated skin care brands is to use botanical or naturally derived ingredients. For example, the aforementioned CoralActives brand uses sustainably sourced sea whip coral to reduce redness and inflammation, while ReNUcell, a restorative healing cream from Infinite Healthcare Partners, uses a patented, plant-based bioactive among its ingredients.
Chain retailers can educate counter and pharmacy staff to identify and recommend treatments for common skin problems, as this can increase loyalty and drive sales. Consumers trust experts, so position your stores in this way.
JENNIFER JOHNSTON is an industry writer and researcher with Hamacher Resource Group Inc., a research, marketing and category management firm specializing in consumer health care at retail.