Special Edition: Active skin care - protection and healing in a post-COVID world

L’Oréal Active Cosmetics president: COVID-19 has turned skin health into a ‘core expectation’ for skin care

By Kacey Culliney contact

- Last updated on GMT

Skin care consumers are now looking for products and brands that they consider safe and highly efficient in plugging new skin health needs during the crisis (Getty Images)
Skin care consumers are now looking for products and brands that they consider safe and highly efficient in plugging new skin health needs during the crisis (Getty Images)

Related tags: L'oréal, La roche-posay, CeraVe, derma beauty, dermocosmetics, active beauty, active skin care, Skin health

The ongoing COVID-19 crisis has propelled skin health to the top of the beauty agenda, as consumers seek out brands that plug new needs around skin barrier protection, hydration and cleansing, says the president of L’Oréal Active Cosmetics.

Earlier this month, L’Oréal reported a 5% net profit drop for 2020​ despite significant success in its Active Cosmetics division – the only business unit to grow in sales for the full year, up 18.9% on a like-for-like basis versus 2019. The division also saw the largest spike in sales for the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2020, up 30.7% like-for-like.

Jean-Paul Agon, chairman and CEO of L’Oréal, said Active Cosmetics had seen “a record year driven by a dynamic skin care market and the remarkable success of its brands, recommended by healthcare professionals”, ​notably CeraVe, La Roche-Posay and SkinCeuticals.

L’Oréal’s dermatological brands ‘more relevant than ever’ during COVID-19

Myriam Cohen-Welgryn, president of L’Oréal Active Cosmetics, said that in 2020 the division had significantly strengthened its collaboration with healthcare professionals; now reaching more than 180,000 physicians worldwide and accelerating online interactions with this network.

Speaking to CosmeticsDesign-Europe, Cohen-Welgryn said the success of its Active Cosmetics division also related to needs created by the ongoing sanitary context of COVID-19.

“In the COVID context, our dermatological brands have been more relevant than ever, as skin is weakened by repeated handwashing and the use of masks,”​ she said.

“…While skin health has been a major trend over the past years, the pandemic has turned it into a core expectation for skin care. More and more consumers, in search of higher efficacy and safety, are relying on our dermatological brands.”

Credible products backed by science and recommended by experts, she said, satisfied consumer skin care needs at a time when health and safety were paramount.

L’Oréal active skin care innovation and future growth goals

And L’Oréal Active Cosmetics had innovated accordingly, Cohen-Welgryn said, with the launch of La Roche-Posay Lipikar AP+M for atopy-prone skin and Effaclar serum for adults on the acne front. La Roche-Posay as a brand, she said, had grown at a double-digit rate in 2020 for the ninth time in ten years.

Myriam Cohen-Welgryn, president of L’Oréal Active Cosmetics (Image: L'Oréal)
Myriam Cohen-Welgryn, president of L’Oréal Active Cosmetics (Image: L'Oréal)

L’Oréal’s CeraVe brand had also “practically doubled in size”, ​she said, with its moisturising cream and hydrating cleanser proving “particularly relevant during COVID to strengthen the skin barrier”​ thanks to the ceramide technology used in these formulations. “The brand also benefits from its affordability,” ​she said.

For 2021 and beyond, Cohen-Welgryn said interest and engagement in dermatological skin care brands would undoubtedly continue, with growth anticipated in some core markets.

“For the future, our medical brands still have a strong reservoir of growth, especially in the United States and Asia,”​ she said.

“Our confidence comes from the fact that the market growth relies on structural long-term trends which should continue in the coming years and have been accelerated by the COVID crisis. We can also rely on our main strengths: a complementary portfolio of brands, a strong network of healthcare professionals recommending our brands worldwide and digital expertise,”​ Cohen-Welgryn said.

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