A new generation of dermatologist skin care brands
In recent years, Dr. Sherin Idris, a New York-based dermatologist, has become better known for her online persona than her office. Idris regularly shares skincare tips on Instagram — and her tips have garnered her over 440,000 followers.
Now those followers will have the chance to get their hands on something more tangible than an Instagram tutorial: Idriss’ new skincare label PillowtalkDerm, which has three products — a cream, a micro-peeling mask, and a serum — priced between $48 and $68.
Idris is part of a new wave of dermatologists who have risen to prominence on social media in recent years, gaining thousands of followers during the pandemic, when people spent money on skin care and flocked to TikTok for advice about mask-ne and more. Doctors became instant influencers—and experts at using their fans as opportunities to sell their own products.
The past few months saw the launch of Jori Skincare, created by husband and wife duo Cory Zeichner, New York dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, and Dr. Whitney Bowe Beauty. The direct-to-consumer brand Idriss debuts this week.
It’s the latest iteration of a dermatologist-to-founder pipeline that began long before the age of social media: Dr. Dennis Gross launched his label in 2000, Dr. Howard Murad debuted in 1989, and Dr. Anthony Nakhla, whose skincare line Eighth Day featured in 2009.
In such a crowded market, simply being an online dermatologist is not enough to guarantee success, especially with a consumer base that contains as many ingredients and formulas as the name on the bottle. Instead, the founding generation of dermatologists are creating products that fit a specific niche that relates to their area of expertise, using unique ingredients and of course promoting their lines by speaking directly to consumers on social media.
Change of rates
There have been “celebrity dermatologists” for decades, but this primarily referred to doctors who treat the skin problems of famous clients. That might still be enough to launch a brand: Dr. Rosemary Ingleton, dermatologist to the likes of Iman and Chrissy Teigen, launched her Rose Ingleton MD line in 2019.
Now, being a celebrity dermatologist is more about a legion of loyal social media followers and a reputation for advice-filled posts than a list of influential patients. Having this kind of following makes it possible to launch a product label.
“It’s something I started on a whim, not really knowing what I was doing,” Idris said. “I was able to connect with people outside the walls of my practice. I developed a relationship in a very strange way. They say, ‘Thank you so much for your help,’ even though I’ve never spoken to them.”
A social media presence has other benefits as well: it can be an additional source of income and also serves as a marketing channel for a dermatologist practice. But of course, running or working in a medical practice is a full-time job in itself.
“It’s a huge investment of time to have social media, I’m the person who responds to every comment and question on my Instagram and Tiktok,” said Dr. Whitney Bowe, founder of Whitney Bowe Beauty.
However, the benefits of her brand are worth the extra time. “I learn a lot from my community and they have helped me a lot by spreading the word that the brand exists,” she added.
This crop of new brands must contend with a much-changing beauty landscape. Today, there are more skin care brands, and simply having a dermatologist founder is not enough to serve as a point of differentiation.
This is especially true when you consider that many brands have taken a more scientific approach to skin care and become more transparent about the ingredients in their products. There is also a larger number of so-called “clinical brands”, which refer to brands founded not only by dermatologists, but also by other professionals in the field, such as estheticians.
“Clinical brands continue to grow, and it’s a combination of consumers buying existing brands as well as new brands entering the market,” said Larissa Jensen, beauty industry consultant for market research firm NPD. “Oversaturation and how you differentiate yourself is one of the biggest challenges for brands like this at the moment.”
In turn, today’s dermatologist-founded brands are more attuned to trends than their counterparts from decades past. Bowe’s, for example, focuses on the idea of the skin cycle, which refers to the process of changing products from night to night for maximum results, such as using a retinol every other day or an exfoliant once a week. Brand Dr. Ingleton’s emphasizes the use of fruit extracts in its product formulas.
“We’re using some ingredients that are more popular, things that we’ve realized are good for skin conditions that previous dermatologists have dealt with. [brands]but it’s a little bit more relevant,” Ingleton said.
Especially for brands that have appeared thanks to the active presence of a dermatologist in social networks, this approach is necessary.
“With experts who are incredibly active and vocal on social media, we’re educating people, and people are sponges, absorbing information more than ever before,” Bowe said. “Before, everyone hid behind their proprietary formulas. Now it’s all about transparency and information sharing.”
This new generation of dermatologist-founded brands is still emerging. Those who have gained online fame during the pandemic are taking advantage of the opportunities that have opened up for them in the process.
However, Idris says she has already seen a change in the culture.
“The new guard is much more approachable, willing to help each other and work together as a team,” Idris said. “I hope that when it comes to brands, they will approach it differently as well.”
https://www.businessoffashion.com/articles/beauty/the-next-generation-of-dermatologist-skin-care-brands/ A new generation of dermatologist skin care brands