Apostrophe Launches Over-the-Counter Product

Fresh on the heels of its acquisition by Hims, Apostrophe, the direct-to-consumer acne-oriented skin care brand, is launching its first over-the-counter product, a sunscreen.

Called ‘Screen SPF 43, the product will be available d-to-c on the brand’s website for $27.

‘Screen was formulated with acneic skin in mind with the help of the platform’s on-staff dermatologists, said cofounder and chief executive officer Ben Holber. Its applications, however, are universal.

“We’re not trying to make products that are crazy complicated with huge ingredient lists. We want to make new, fundamental, dermatological OTC [products],” Holber said. “They are supposed to work around the most important parts of the regimens, those that are the prescriptions. Our active ingredients include antibiotics, antihormonal ingredients, and a bunch of retinoids to get customized formulas. You’re going to get sunscreens and products that work perfectly with those. We wanted an OTC product to be more like the single, holy-grail product in the segment for customers.”

Holber said sun care wouldn’t be the brand’s only products to come to market. “We’re in the process of a few of these already,” he said. “We will be thinking about them in the same way, like a cleanser and one or two moisturizers.”

Strategically, the rationale behind going into OTC products was twofold. “From a business standpoint, it allows us to better serve our current customers because it’s a sunscreen we can guarantee front-to-back is great for our patients. However, there is a huge burden for someone to try telemedicine for the first time, you have to do a doctor visit and wait for a prescription. We get to introduce a product to people, which is a much lower hurdle to introduce Apostrophe to folks,” Holber said.

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With that in mind, Holber said the brand doesn’t have short-term plans to distribute products at retail or in other channels, but he wouldn’t rule it out, either. “Because the SPF is paired with telemedicine, that’s going to be where we start,” Holber said. “But there is absolutely no reason that someone shopping at Ulta, Sephora or Target that’s looking for a dermatologist-tested product wouldn’t be able to find Apostrophe.”

The sunscreen is expected to hit between $1 million and $2 million in sales for its first year on the market, according to industry sources. Executives did not comment on the projection, but Holber was optimistic about the post-acquisition trajectory of Apostrophe. “We’re seeing companies scale up [in telehealth], but we’re still in the early innings,” he said. “With the discretionary income spent on skin care, and visual diagnosis, dermatology is going to be a massive, massive part of that.”

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