Scott Vincent Borba admits he's been driving his small staff crazy lately. He has a good reason: On May 6, the 32-year-old will get eight minutes on QVC to convince an audience of millions of women over 35 to pony up for his skin remedies.

Borba has watched loads of QVC to study the best pitchmen and women, and has practiced incessantly for the appearance. He's trying not to be too salesman-like, while still drumming up business for the 15-month-old Woodland Hills-based company that's called Borba LLC after his Portuguese last name that means "to persevere."

It will be his chance to make Borba stand out in a market that's being flooded with products seeking to capitalize on the desire of aging Baby Boomers to refurbish their dermis. Companies are hawking cosmeceuticals hybrids of pharmaceuticals and cosmetics that don't require prescriptions to buy to help mostly women look younger by erasing wrinkles and years of sun damage. Some outside the industry suggest there's a dash of snake oil among the ingredients, too.

Borba, of course, is bullish on its products. The company markets a mix of cosmeceuticals and nutraceuticals or non-prescription ingestible products with medicinal benefits. It has developed water intended to balance users' skin that's sold for $2.50 at make-up outlets like Sephora.

Other examples include Los Angeles-based Dr. Jessica Wu Cosmeceuticals Inc., which combines Asian ingredients and Western science; Beverly Hills-based KaplanMD Inc., whose skincare products target the symptoms of estrogen loss; and L.A.-based Lamas Beauty International, which is creating cosmeceuticals aimed at organic food shoppers at Whole Foods Market Inc. and Wild Oats Markets Inc.

For these relatively young companies, the goal is to stick around and ride the cosmeceutical wave. Borba predicts his company can reach $50 million in sales in a few years and $100 million shortly after that. And Wu, who said her retail sales are on track for $2 million this year, believes she can one day rival Dr. Nicholas Perricone, who built the cosmeceutical powerhouse that is Meriden, Conn.-based NV Perricone Md Ltd.

Richard Gersten, managing director of Greenwich, Conn.-based private equity firm North Castle Partners LLC, said it's typical for companies in the industry to increase sales 15 percent to 20 percent annually, well above the rate in the traditional cosmetics industry. North Castle owns HDS Cosmetics Lab Inc., a Yonkers, N.Y.-based company known for the Doctor's Dermatologic Formula brand, which has seen 40 percent growth in each of the last three years.


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