Galderma tackles 'maskne,' one of many skin concerns exploding during pandemic

Different women skin types for dermatology story
Galderma's new tagline “advancing dermatology for every skin story” encapsulates its own message of diversity and inclusion.(Getty Images)

It was the beauty trend of 2020 that no one wanted—maskne. The slang portmanteau referring to acne caused by mask wearing zoomed to the top of Google search trends not long after mandates rolled out.

For dermatology brand Galderma, it was a chance to put its digital-first marketing strategy to work. The brand picked up on the trend through social listening and reached out to both healthcare professionals and consumers looking for solutions with messages about its retinoid gel brand Differin (adapalene).

Galderma, with its consumer, aesthetics and pharmaceutical divisions, is uniquely positioned in the explosion of skin care and skin health interest, June Risser, VP and general manager of Galderma’s consumer business said.

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The advantage for its Cetaphil and Rx-to-OTC acne brand Differin is that Galderma “is only focused on dermatology and skin health, and we leverage a lot of insights from our partners in the prescription business as well as the aesthetic business,” she said.

“We look at trends across them—whether consumers going into a plastic surgeon’s office for an injection or a dermatologist office—and some of those trends and insights are absolutely relevant to the consumer team. And vice versa.”

It’s been four years since Galderma took prescription acne gel Differin over the counter. With low consumer awareness, the company did push an aggressive multichannel media strategy that included national TV. However in general, Risser and her team stuck to a digital-first approach, leaning heavily on search, ecommerce and social media. That includes digital tools like the Clear90 app Galderma created last year for Differin users to track use and progress with its acne products.

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“The digital revolution was upon us, and we believe going digital first to reach patients where they shop, research and spend their time—that’s the future of marketing for dermatology,” Risser said.

While traditional acne brands tend to focus on teens, Galderma’s target is millennial women. With more than 50 million people in the U.S. who experience acne, that 25-to-40-year-old demographic is an underserved audience.

Galderma’s recent rebrand tapped into another issue accelerated and amplified during the pandemic—diversity and inclusion. Its new tagline “advancing dermatology for every skin story” encapsulates its own message of diversity and inclusion.

The independent dermatology brand was spun out in 2019 from a wholly owned subsidiary of Nestle.