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InnoPharm Dreams of Revolution in Cosmetics through Phytochemical Research

#Power of Businesses l 2019-07-01

Business Watch

© Innopharm

The company we’re going to talk about today is InnoPharm, a cosmetics manufacturer that produces skin care products using amazing vital energy found in plants. Let’s hear from Lim Jae-cheol, co-founder of the company. 


Since its foundation on September 1st, 2003, InnoPharm has run a research institute dedicated to skin science and developed products based on phytochemicals, which refer to chemical compounds produced by plants. “Phyto” means “plant” in Greek. Plants protect themselves from viruses or germs to survive. The same is true of all living creatures, including humans. For that purpose, plants produce substances called phytochemicals on their own. If these substances are absorbed by the human body, they could help produce anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory effects, strengthen the immune system, increase collagen and regenerate the skin. These are some of the positive effects of phytochemicals. 


InnoPharm makes cosmetics using natural chemicals found in plants. Known as phytochemicals, the chemicals from plants have protective or disease preventative properties, just as aspirin is made from willow bark extract and the blueberry is rich in anthocyanins. 


But it is far from easy to manufacture cosmetics products from phytochemicals. The plant-sourced compounds are regarded as ideal ingredients for cosmetics, as they are effective in removing dead skin cells mildly, boosting collagen production and maximizing the whitening effect. But there are too many different kinds of phytochemicals. As many as 25-thousand phytochemicals are found in a single plant. 


Most cosmetics makers wish to use phytochemicals effectively and successfully, but not every firm has been able to do so. InnoPharm is one of the few companies that were able to develop phytochemical-based skin care products. 


Lim Jae-young, another co-founder of the company, majored in biotechnology at Yonsei University and earned a master’s degree in microbiology at Seoul National University. He went on to the medical school of Pusan National University. Eleven years later, he became a dermatologist. He is probably the only dermatologist of his generation who studied biotechnology before becoming a doctor. Later, he worked as the director of a hospital that treated patients of Hansen’s disease. While working there for seven years and three months, he came to understand the lives of the unfortunate patients and cherished hope to create some useful products tailored for them


Lim Jae-young, who jointly established InnoPharm with Lim Jae-cheol in 2003, researched cutaneous, or skin anthrax, for the first time in Korea to receive the best dissertation award. He is a prominent researcher who developed a diagnostic skin test reagent to obtain a patent. Fascinated by phytochemicals since he was in college, Lim conducted relevant research and treatment for over three decades. While treating patients suffering from Hansen’s disease or leprosy, Lim wondered how he could help them restore their health and beauty. He came up with the idea of using phytochemicals for cosmetics. To help out patients who found it difficult to engage in social activities due to skin disorders, he started to research dermal fillers. In the next stage, he worked on ways to lighten melasma. He treated patients during the day and worked with researchers at night. After 12 years of research, his company finally released a new, innovative product in 2015. 


We launched a new brightening essence on July 25th, 2015, in the belief that products with high marketability will guarantee commercial success. Women, in general, are vulnerable to hormonal changes in the course of experiencing pregnancy, childbirth and menopause, and the changing hormones are responsible for causing melasma. It is said that many women are struggling with melasma, as it is hard to get rid of it for good even with laser treatment. To find a solution to this difficult problem, we released a brightening essence called Phytoliser. The name represents our hope that phytochemicals or plant-derived active ingredients can replace laser treatment. 


The company found a way to optimally combine various phytochemicals known to be good for the skin. The result was the Brightening Phytoliser Essence, which is highly effective in removing skin pigmentation. Upon its release, the product drew an enthusiastic response from consumers.


© Innopharm

Compared to other cosmetics, our products have a unique background as they were developed after decades of scientific research. The phytochemical part, in particular, required long, extensive research full of dissertations and countless experiments. Consumers can feel the marvelous effects of our skin care products upon using them. Many of those who used the products have become loyal customers. 


The number of customers has been on a steady rise, although we haven’t carried out any special marketing activities. In fact, cosmetic price bubbles have much to do with marketing costs, as marketing greatly influences cosmetic sales. But we don’t really spend much on marketing. Still, our products are becoming increasingly popular through viral marketing, in which consumers tell others about a particular product by word-of-mouth. 


It was not aggressive marketing campaigns but a high level of product quality that earned InnoPharm great recognition. The company went on to launch more products, including a cream and an eye serum as well as a recovery gel that helps regenerate the outer and inner layers of the skin at the same time. 


In particular, Dr+Lim’s 3-Step Care, which is a mask sheet pack, has been well received in the market. Also known among consumers as the “red pack,” it consists of an essence, a mask pack and a cream. Users first apply the brightening essence to their faces, moisturize and soothe their skin for 20 minutes with the mask sheet and apply the wrinkle care cream as a finishing touch. This three-step all-in-one skincare product is clearly different from other alternatives, which mostly contain a single mask sheet. Users of this product agree that it feels like they received professional treatment at a skincare shop. 


As a recipient of the “Hi-Seoul Good Products Awards,” InnoPharm has built a sales network in a duty free shop and various shopping malls. It is also exporting its products to China, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Japan and the Americas, sharpening its global competitiveness. It is worth mentioning that the company has obtained the China Food and Drug Administration certificate for nine products, boding well for its sales in the Chinese market. 


Good health is one of the most important issues faced by the human race. Focusing on skin health, among others, we’re researching and developing skincare and cosmetics products using bio science technology in the hopes of helping people recover their beautiful and healthy skin.  


Our goal is to move beyond the domestic market and beat out the competition with foreign rivals in the overseas market. It is very challenging for startups to explore foreign markets and achieve success there, due to inadequate funds, marketing capabilities and information. But I’m sure InnoPharm will be able to produce great results before long, as it has constantly developed technology and diligently searched for foreign buyers. We’re a small firm, but we hope to stand high in the global market, at least in the sales of products with brightening and regenerating effects, in which InnoPharm has a strong competitive edge. 


Armed with the highly competitive phytochemicals, InnoPharm will surely demonstrate the true value of a bio science firm that is dedicated to improving skin health.

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