Heritage skin-care brand Cetaphil is telling people to love the skin they’re in this Valentine’s Day in a new sensitive-skin campaign that ties to the simultaneous New York Fashion Week.
On the heels of a 2022 campaign called “We Do Skin, You Do You,” Cetaphil is introducing a new dimension to its sensitive-skin awareness plans by spotlighting the connection between skin irritation and fabric. Throughout February, Cetaphil is running a paid partnership between fashion house Collina Strada, Rent The Runway and dermatologist Dr. Sapna Palep to inform consumers about how clothing plays a role in sensitive skin. Cetaphil will distribute 90,000 samples of its Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream through Rent The Runway starting Feb. 13. On Feb. 23, it will host a media and influencer event with Collina Strada designer Hillary Taymour and dermatologist Dr.Palep to discuss the topic.
Katherine Rouse-Bailey, marketing director for Cetaphil, said sensitive skin customers often feel left out because discomfort based on their skin condition(s) prevents them from participating in certain activities and events. One that came to mind was irritation due to certain fabrics, like wood and polyester blends, and the dyes, treatments and detergents used. Also, winter’s harsh winds and cold temperatures can impact the integrity of people’s skin barrier, which protects them from irritation and skin damage.
“[We Do Skin, You Do You] was about empowering people with sensitive skin to do the things they love without hesitation or worry, because we have them covered,” she said. “We see [Cetaphil] as that first layer before you even put on your clothes; [Cetaphil] improves that barrier between your skin and your clothes.”
Dr. Palep explained that irritation from clothing can occur for a few reasons, including the moisture generated from sweating in certain fabrics. Those with eczema or psoriasis are predisposed to more irritation. And irritation is exacerbated by a weakened skin barrier.
“Knowledge is power, so when patients come in, they don’t understand [how these factors interact] and that it starts with your skin and how you’re taking care of it,” said Dr. Palep.
Brands like Cetaphil, CeraVe and La Roche-Posay have been angling to become the go-to brand for sensitive skin over the past three years. Notably, studies have shown that 71% of people self-report having sensitive skin, and this large pool of consumers has spurred a space race in the beauty industry. In 2021, Cetaphil debuted a list of five signs of sensitive skin to help people self-identify and also developed its own Sensitive Skin Awareness Week. In 2021, it reformulated some of its best-selling products in 74 years to align with clean and sensitive skin movements.
Cetaphil, owned by privately-held Galderma, does not share revenue figures, though industry sources reported its annual earnings at around $250 million in 2018. Galderma, which also owns Dysport neuromodulator and Alastin skin care, grew its dermo-cosmetics category by 31% year-over-year in the first half of 2022.
“The fabrics I use and where they come from have always been my top priority,” said Taymour. “My clothing uses fabrics like recycled cotton and rose sylk, both of which are soft and wearable for all skin types but especially great for those with sensitive skin. The first layer between our skin and the world around us is our clothing, and the clothes we wear tell a story about us to the world; I love finding new ways to interact with fashion.”
Taymour said she has experienced fabric-induced skin irritation herself, and her hectic schedule leading up to NYFW has meant dedicating less time to nourishing her skin. Collina Strada is known for its fun and funky sustainable clothing and debuted a Vans collection the day of its NYFW show on Friday, Feb. 10. This is the first time the brand has partnered with a skin-care brand outside of backstage beauty, Taymour said. For the campaign, both Collina Strada and Dr. Palep will generate social content on their own channels ahead of and at the Feb. 23 event.
Cetaphil will concentrate its own social posts on Facebook, Instagram and TikTok. It will also post in-store signage about its skin barrier protective products. Cetaphil is distributed in thousands of stores nationwide, including CVS and Target. Rouse-Bailey said the campaign primarily targets women between 25- and 45-years-old. It will measure the campaign’s success via resulting online engagement, sales and positive brand affinity.