New Acne Elimination Switches and Devices Heat Up the OTC Market

Acne Remedies
Acne Remedies

The U.S. OTC market has enjoyed solid momentum in recent years, increasing far beyond the typical 2% to 3% annual growth it used to experience. Strong advertising and promotional investments, several new products, and Rx-to-OTC switch brands, as well as the steady distribution of major brands that had been off the market for several years, have helped propel the market beyond regular growth.

Lately, we’ve seen several alternative sources of competition for traditional OTCs that are emerging. Self-care devices, which have been around for many years in the beauty realm, are now entering OTC categories. TENS technology is being used in the topical analgesics market, while low light technology is seen in new devices that treat hair loss, cold sores, and even allergies. Bayer, which markets Aleve Direct Therapy TENS device for lower back pain, and Sanofi, with its Icy Hot TENS device, are among the new market entrants in this space.

The acne elimination category has also seen the launch of new LED light-based at-home devices that treat acne, as well as the first Rx-to-OTC switch of a new active ingredient in over 30 years. In July 2016, the U.S. FDA approved the OTC status of Differin Anti-Acne Gel 0.1% (adapalene), which is in the retinoid class of drugs and marketed by Galderma Laboratories. The new OTC indication includes one-daily topical use for the treatment of acne in people 12 years of age and older.

Differin Anti-Acne Gel 0.1% by Galderma Laboratories
Differin Anti-Acne Gel 0.1% by Galderma Laboratories

Self-care device brands are also emerging, and several in the acne elimination category have witnessed rapid growth in recent years. For example, the introduction of La Lumiere’s illuMask in 2014, a device that uses LED light technology to deliver anti-aging and acne treatments, boosted this brand’s sales by over 25%, according to our Beauty Devices: Global Market Analysis and Opportunities. Following La Lumiere’s success, Johnson & Johnson acquired the company and launched an upgraded version of its original illuMask under Neutrogena’s flagship called Light Therapy Acne Mask in October 2016. This new device is set to deliver the same acne-killing benefits as its predecessor, but in a shorter amount of time.

TRIA Beauty, the market leader in the acne elimination category, also continues to enjoy healthy gains, increasing by almost 20% in 2016. The brand launches Positively Clear 3-step Skincare Solution, a new and more compact device that targets teens at a more affordable price than its first generation. Silk’n’s sales in the segment also show a tremendous growth of 40% in 2016, as the company is re-launching its Silk’n Blue with a new marketing campaign as the one-step acne annihilator.

The impact of devices on established OTC markets via traditional and alternative retail channels will be analyzed in our upcoming Self-care Devices: U.S. Market Analysis and Opportunities and Rx-to-OTC Switch Forecasts USA: Next Frontier reports. These studies will provide sales forecasts of Rx-to-OTC switches, as well as a clear understanding of the various emerging self-care devices in the acne elimination category, among others. In addition, the cornerstone of our healthcare practice, Nonprescription Drugs USA will continue to keep you informed on the current state of the OTC market.