Professional Skin Care

Professional Skin Care Consumer Misconceptions Debunked

The U.S. volume of the first edition of Kline’s Professional Skin Care: Global Consumer Attitudes and Behaviors Survey is now published, revealing insights that are anticipated but also equally surprising. Ahead, we debunk common misconceptions about professional skin care consumers as well as the professional skin care market based on the survey’s results. Here are the top five:


  • Consumers are aware of the brand(s) and products used during their skin care treatment at a professional outlet.


  • Brand awareness is low, as less than 30% of respondents recall the brand(s) used during their last treatment. Of the brands that consumers recall, SkinCeuticals appears among the top five for both physician- and spa-goer consumer types.

  • Consumers understand what constitutes a professional skin care brand.

  • Less than 40% of respondents can recognize a true professional skin care brand. There is lack of differentiation between a professional skin care brand and a dermatologist-approved mass, luxury, or direct brand, such as CeraVe or Proactiv. Nearly one-half of our panel deems a brand professional if the product label indicates the product is dermatologist-tested, approved, or developed.

  • Emerging medical spa formats and retail destinations offering in-store skin services do not pose a threat to traditional professional outlets dispensing skin care.

  • In fact, consumer awareness is growing for these destinations. In the last six months, more than 40% of spa consumers have received a skin care service at a beauty destination like Ulta, Bluemercury, or Sephora. Meanwhile, a lesser percentage of physician-goers have had a treatment at new outlets like Heyday, Skin Laundry, or Alchemy 43. However, nearly one-third of respondents are familiar with these emerging formats.

  • Signs of aging are the main reason why consumers visit a spa or doctor’s office.

  • While aging or mature skin is the leading skin type with which our panel identified, marketers should not overlook consumers with sensitive and combination skin, as these skin concerns are almost as prevalent as aging. Three-fourths of respondents who always have sensitive skin, the second-claimed skin concern, are in their 20s, 30s, and 40s.

  • Private label is not as relevant in the professional skin care market as it is in the conventional beauty market.

  • Private label plays a key role in the business of dispensing physicians’ business, as private-label brands exclusive to physicians’ offices were the leading brand purchased by aesthetic medical care provider consumers in the last six months. In selecting the panel for our Physician-Dispensed Skin Care: Perception and Satisfaction Survey, there were more than 500 physicians who indicated that private label is their largest revenue-generating brand.

As marketers continue to seek ways to grow through understanding consumers’ needs, our recently published Professional Skin Care: U.S. Consumer Attitudes and Behaviors Survey is a great tool for an unbiased viewpoint of what consumers value most when it comes to purchasing skin care products and choosing outlets to visit for skin care treatments, as well as who and what influences their decisions. Additionally, our upcoming Professional Skin Care Private-Label Products: Importance and Demand Survey will explore the dynamic role of private-label skin care products dispensed through physicians’ offices, further assessing the impact that these products have or will have in the future on the professional skin care competitive landscape. Moreover, this report will identify the key motivating factors that influence physicians to switch to private-label offerings and the product types that are most prominent for private-label while revealing the most important considerations for physicians when choosing to carry their own brand.

Our annual coverage of the Professional Skin Care Global Series report for 2019 continues in key markets including the United States, Europe, and China but also expands to India. The new India report will provide marketers with in-depth information on the country level demand for consumable topical skin care products sold through and used in professional channels of distribution, such as doctors’ offices, beauty institutes and hair salons, and spas.

Written by Karen Doskow – Director of Consumer Products, Sai Swaroop – Project Manager of Consumer Products, and Dana Kreutzer – Senior Analyst of Consumer Products

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