After launching into New Zealand around three months ago, L’Oreal New Zealand brand La Roche-Posay has solidified its market presence with a new range of sun protection products called Anthelios XL. The hero product is an innovative piece of wearable technology which measures UV exposure.
La Roche-Posay is part of L’Oreal’s Active Cosmetics division alongside Vichy, SkinCeuticals, Roger & Gallet and Sanoflore. The division’s general manager for Australia and New Zealand, Jorn Zempel, spoke at the Anthelios XL launch, characterising the division as being linked by a focus on health-led products.
The health-led beauty segment is a “great place to be” because around the world, sensitive skin and skin concerns are on the increase, Zempel says. He linked this to rising incidences of diseases, citing lifestyle conditions such as obesity, genetic conditions and concerns such as cancer.
Zempel says La Roche-Posay’s entry into New Zealand was “long overdue” following its launch into Australia five years ago. It’s distributed here through selected Green Cross pharmacies across both its Unichem and Life Pharmacy brands.
The suncare range accounts for 25 percent of the brand’s turnover, says Zempel. La Roche-Posay has identified a global need for suncare education around the world, so its newest star product ties in with this: My UV Patch.
My UV Patch is a temporary tattoo-style transparent adhesive containing photosensitive dyes that change colour when exposed to UV rays to indicate varying levels of sun exposure. The patches last for up to three days, and are designed to be water-resistant. They’re also meant to reflect the sun protection given by any sun protection product applied over top of them.
Users can access information about their UV exposure through a free My UV Patch mobile application. They scan their patch using the app, which analyses the photosensitive dye squares to determine exposure level. Through a smart algorithm factoring in personal information submitted to the app, such as skin type, and other information such as location and weather, My UV Patch then suggests advice on sun-safe behaviour. It will also recommend an appropriate Anthelios product based on SPF level.
Global vice president of the L’Oreal Tech Incubator Guive Balooch spoke at the launch event via video link. He says My UV Patch was inspired by electrocardiogram (ECG) technology. With the idea of producing a product that “could live on the body as if it was part of your skin and measure things”, Balooch’s team began working on sensors to use within these “electronic tattoos”.
Among the initial applications they came up with for the product they created were the measurement of hydration; skin temperature; and chemicals within sweat. Balooch’s team settled upon the measurement of UV exposure as rising rates of skin cancer meant this application offered real value for consumers.
My UV Patch is a way to bring sun-smart education to life and “animate” the UV index while changing consumer behaviour, Balooch says. The product has deliberately been made accessibly trendy – “People ask, ‘Does it really work?’ Because it’s so cute and it’s got a heart,” – but the science behind it is real, he says.
Balooch reports that around 30 percent of My UV Patch users have reported experiencing less sunburn, and approximately 60 percent report changing their behaviour to use more sunscreen.