Consumer feedback is driving innovation in skin care

March 17, 2022By Views

Skin care is one of the largest beauty categories in drug and mass channels with a myriad of choices. Galderma and Sanofi provide targeted products and tools to make it easy for consumers to find solutions for their particular skin needs.

Megan Moyer, corporate marketing manager, as appeared in Inside Beauty for Drug Store News

Skin care needs vary by climate, season, age, environment, and more. Keeping up with the different needs for different areas of the body is one challenge. Treating specific conditions or particular issues, or trying to prevent or maintain them, are another.

For those who suffer from sensitive skin, finding lotions and creams that hydrate without irritation can be difficult. According to Michael Sabbia, senior director, current business and innovation at Galderma, nearly 70% of the U.S. population identify as having sensitive skin and that is up from 40% just ten years ago. Sabbia commented, “I attribute the success Cetaphil has had over the last five years to the fact that there are so many people who believe their skin is sensitive. For 75 years Cetaphil has been committed to sensitive skin, so we’re well-positioned to serve those consumers.”

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Cetaphil product

There are 64 Cetaphil products, 16 of them were introduced in 2021. “Skin is our largest organ and it needs to be regularly hydrated,” Sabbia stated. “It’s incredibly important that barriers are well maintained. Cetaphil products deliver those benefits effectively for sensitive skin.” The Cetaphil website features a Skincare Finder, launched Q3 of 2021, to help consumers find the products to meet their particular needs. Updated packaging also uses color coding to help shoppers at shelf easily identify the items that focus on the same issue or condition.

The Gentle Skin Cleanser was the very first Cetaphil product, launched 75 years ago. The company updated the formula for the cleanser and the other top items in 2021 to meet consumer preferences, incorporating a new dermatologist-backed blend of niacinamide, panthenol, and hydrating glycerin. “We’ve conducted over 550 scientific studies on over 32,000 sensitive skin patients, and while we believe in the science behind our previous formula, Cetaphil is committed to innovation and not just meeting — but exceeding — what our consumers expect from a sensitive skincare brand,” commented Sabbia.

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How does the company determine what will be their next innovation? “We look at three sources: consumers, retailers, and dermatologists,” Sabbia said. “We have a salesforce that is in dermatologists’ offices every day learning about patient needs, we have retailers who hear and pass on their shoppers’ demands and where they see white space in the category, and there’s our strong customer base who share their wishes for features and benefits with us over social media.”

Another beauty brand that has focused on filling category white space is Sanofi’s Gold Bond. With a purpose of closing the gap by addressing aging skin beyond the face and neck, the company continues to add solutions to its Age Defense line. Later this year, Gold Bond will launch additional anti-aging skin care products under a new sub-brand, Age Renew.

Nicole McLaughlin, Sanofi’s innovation director for the personal care portfolio, said, ”We’ve been busy the last couple of years, focused on getting a better understanding of the consumer and the need gaps in the aging skin care space.”

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McLaughlin continued, “In our trade channels, the body has been ignored from the neck down, and the focus has been on the face, but consumers want those same benefits everywhere.” For instance, McLaughlin says Gold Bond products the most popular product in the current Age Defense line is Gold Bond Crepe Corrector, launched in fall 2020 to address strong customer demand. Designed to hydrate for 24 hours, while visibly smoothing and plumping skin, this lotion has clinically-demonstrated efficacy. “In our clinical study, over 80% of participants had visible improvement in the appearance of their crepey skin — typically found on the legs and arms — in just two days,” shared McLaughlin.

Sanofi introduced the Gold Bond Age Defense Hand Cream last year and McLaughlin believes it is on its way to becoming a favorite item among consumers as well. “When it launched, it was the only hand cream on the market that not only deeply moisturizes and replenishes dry skin, but also offers an added value with SPF protection,” McLaughlin said. “We know that hands are a top concern because they get year-round sun exposure, which can cause visible aging.”

Through their research, Sanofi also learned that consumers don’t believe there is a “one size fits all” solution and personalization is a key driver of product selection. The seven products in the upcoming Gold Bond Age Renew line gives consumers the choice of product by the benefits they are seeking. The Gold Bond website also features a Product Finder which helps visitors find the product that will address their skin care needs.

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Speaking to the product launches in the fall, McLaughlin mentioned that ingredients used are currently found in premium and prestige channels, and these new products will make them available in items in drug and mass channels. These innovations were well received by both women and men in research.

According to this Drug Store News article, “The topical skin care market remains resilient and on an upward trajectory for the year. Sales for the 52 weeks ending Oct. 31, 2021, showed overall sales in mass doors climbing, rising 5.5% over 2020 levels.” HRG ranks skin care as the 8th category overall and the #1 beauty category in both unit and dollar sales within independent pharmacy. HRG’s Tri-PAC data, ending 11/30/21, shows that Cetaphil represents over 42% of facial cleansers and scrubs performance while Gold Bond contributes over 24% of therapeutic hand & body treatment performance. In the large category of skin care, both Cetaphil and Gold Bond are legacy brands that continue to innovate to meet customer preferences and needs.

Galderma and Sanofi have utilized elements of HRG’s pharmacy communications services to promote Cetaphil and Gold Bond, respectively.