Dr. Wolff Group achieves impressive 12 per cent growth in the beginning of 2024

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Breakthrough in research after 20 years: New shampoo against hair loss with even stronger effects

After an annual turnover of 391.5 million euros in the fiscal year 2023 and a growth of 7.5 per cent compared to the previous year (363.8 million euros in 2022), the Bielefeld-based Dr Wolff Group – with 875 employees worldwide – continues its growth in the first months of 2024. The cosmetics and pharmaceutical company has grown by 12 per cent in the first four months. Drivers of sales growth in cosmetics are particularly the brands Alpecin and oral care brand Bioniq®, and in the pharmaceutical sector, the gynaecological Vagisan range for a healthy intimate area.

In Germany, the company recorded a growth of approximately 14 per cent in the first four months of 2024. The largest and fastest-growing foreign market is the United Kingdom, followed by Austria. Hong Kong is currently showing strong growth in the Asian region. Here, the company successfully introduced its fluoride-free dental care brands last year.

New Active Ingredient Combinations Boost Sales of Caffeine Shampoos

The men’s shampoo Alpecin Grey Attack is currently one of Dr Wolff’s flagship products. The new shampoo for gradually darker hair was the most successful product launch in its category in drugstores in 2023 and also led the online ranking of bestsellers last year. The patented ingredient-complex of 5,6-DHI and caffeine permanently repigments grey hair. This innovation has been available for women since the beginning of June. The new Plantur 39 Anti-Grey Effect Shampoo is widely in stock in drugstores and retail stores. For the first time, the company as launched a product simultaneously in 14 countries. The market entries are supported by an extensive international marketing campaign starting in July. The product launch of the innovative shampoo is met with great optimism by the Bielefeld-based company for its potential market impact, survey data indicates that a majority of women – 60 per cent – dye their hair to conceal grey strands.

After years of research, consumers are now able to test another milestone while combating hereditary hair loss since. About 20 years after the start of the Alpecin caffeine success story, the patented active ingredient combination of caffeine and dimethylglycine (DMG) is being used in a shampoo for the first time. “This active complex is a groundbreaking novelty from Dr Wolff’s research and the result of intensive research and development. The anti-hair loss shampoo offers an extended and highly innovative approach with a two-fold effect that efficiently reduces hair loss and simultaneously stimulates hair growth,” says Eduard R. Dörrenberg, managing partner.

In vitro studies[1] have shown synergistic impacts of the combined treatment with caffeine and DMG: while caffeine is known for its growth-stimulating effect on the hair root, DMG can increase the nutrient supply to the hair roots (microcirculation). The way of finding this exclusive active ingredient combination has recently been spotlighted in a documentary by the media company OMR. The documentary titled “Doping für die Marke: Die Alpecin Story” has been available on YouTube since the end of May. A film team spent a year behind the scenes of the family business, accompanying research and development.

Toothpaste Range Without Fluoride Grows

In addition to hair care, the company announces further innovations in oral care for the second quarter of the year: The toothpaste brand Karex with BioHAP instead of fluoride for modern caries protection will expand its range. At the world’s largest dental congress in New Orleans, Dr. Wolff was recently able to present several convincing clinical data on Bioniq® Repair toothpaste with hydroxyapatite.
The company expanded its research area for the oral care division at its headquarters in Bielefeld. 

Due to the market launches of strong new products and further internationalisation, Dr. Wolff Group forecasts double-digit growth for the current fiscal year.

Dr. Wolff in figures:

391,5 Mio EUR turnover

875 employees worldwide

Active in 67 countries

[1] submitted for publication

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Nina Lauterbach

Leiterin Marken- & Produkt-PR Tel.: +49 (0) 521-8808-634 write e-mail

Successfully combating chalky teeth, grey hair, and vaginal infections – Dr. Wolff Group increases sales to over 390 million euros in 2023

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The toothpaste brand KAREX, addressing the growing issue of molar incisor hypomineralization, particularly in children, the innovative ALPECIN Grey Attack shampoo for gradually darker hair and younger appearance, as well as the gynecological VAGISAN range for a healthier intimate area, all achieved double-digit growth.

In total, the Bielefeld-based Dr. Wolff Group achieved a preliminary annual revenue of 390.6 million euros in the fiscal year 2023. The company thus exceeded the previous year’s sales of 363.8 million euros and continued its long-term growth.

Eduard R. Dörrenberg, managing partner of the Dr. Wolff Group, commented on the results: “Thanks to our unique, highly effective products and innovations, we were able to successfully distinguish ourselves from the general trend in 2023, even though the world has been in a constant crisis mode for almost four years. The framework conditions, especially in terms of costs, the ever-increasing bureaucracy, and European overregulation, continue to make entrepreneurial activities more challenging.”

With a growth of 7.5 percent over the previous year, the Dr. Wolff Group demonstrates that it is successfully mastering current challenges, taking opportunities, and thus further strengthening its position in the market. The men’s shampoo ALPECIN Grey Attack became the most successful product launch in drugstores in 2023 and was also an online bestseller. In addition, other problem-solving products have convinced consumers, such as the KAREX toothpaste with BioHAP instead of fluoride for modern caries protection and against chalky teeth, LINOLA Duo as an anti-inflammatory and itch-relieving cream, and the gynecological preparation VAGISAN Lactic Acid against vaginal infections.

The Dr. Wolff Group remains true to its commitment to create products that improve the quality of life through continuous research and development. With a very well-filled pipeline of new health and care products, the company continues to look optimistically towards the coming year.

“Our glass at Dr. Wolff is certainly half full, but overall, I am only cautiously optimistic, as necessary changes are unfortunately only being discussed. I would like to see less ideology and more scientific facts and realism in both debates and implementation. The major issues of education, infrastructure, and integration must finally be tackled with courage. Dr. Wolff Group will definitely face the challenges, implement the necessary changes, and also continue to drive internationalization,” says Dörrenberg.

Further details on the fiscal year 2023 will be announced by the Dr. Wolff Group at its annual press conference in a few weeks.

Innovations accelerate growth of Dr. Wolff Group

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In the first half of the year, the Dr. Wolff Group was able to increase sales by 6 percent compared to the same period of the previous year. “We currently expect further growth above average for the remainder of the year, so that we should reach sales of 400 million euros by the end of the year as planned,” Managing Partner Eduard R. Dörrenberg predicts.

The recent successful launch of the Alpecin Grey Attack Caffeine & Color Shampoo is expected to contribute to overall growth. In addition to caffeine as well-established active ingredient for strong hair, this innovative shampoo contains a novel and patent-pending color complex darkening gray hair gradually in the long term with the help of an oxygen reaction after daily shampooing. “The scientific data from studies published beforehand were already promising. This product launch is the most successful we’ve ever had,” says Dörrenberg who has now been running the company for more than 25 years.

Shampoo manufacturer Dr. Wolff initially supported the launch with one online advertisement only. “After three hours, we were already sold out online,” Dörrenberg states. According to the Managing Partner, the willingness of all the retailers involved to ramp up stocks immediately was remarkable. Currently, supply chain management is thus working intensively to prevent supply bottlenecks during the upcoming TV campaigns, especially since the product became the top-selling shampoo in the German drugstore market after just four weeks as well as bestseller in the entire beauty category on Amazon.

Dr. Wolff research reaches a further milestone in the field of oral care 

A recently published long-term study conducted under highest scientific standards, in which adult participants brushed their teeth for 18 months with either hydroxyapatite toothpaste or fluoride toothpaste, provides renewed evidence of the efficacy of hydroxyapatite. Results show that the active ingredient hydroxyapatite (HAP) and commonly used fluoride are equally effective in cavity prophylaxis. This is an important result for Dr. Wolff as the company uses the natural active ingredient HAP as a modern alternative in all its dental care products, generating a 15 percent increase in sales in this segment.

“We are continuing to invest in research and innovative products and are thus consistently pursuing our Dr. Wolff course,” the entrepreneur states. In addition, there is also very good news from Berlin for people who sweat excessively. After a one-year introductory phase for Axhidrox®, a cream to combat heavy underarm sweating, an agreement has been achieved with the German Federal Association of Statutory Health Insurance Funds for the permanent reimbursement of the anticholinergic pharmaceutical.

Expansion of the management board

On September 1, 2023, Dr. Andreas Brinkhoff (45) will strengthen the management of the Dr. Wolff Group as the fourth member with responsibility for supply chain and IT, paving the way for the organization’s future. This will result in the following areas of responsibility: Dr. Christian Mestwerdt will continue to be responsible for Finance, Controlling, Administration and Regulatory Affairs. Managing Partner Christoph Harras-Wolff will be responsible for Legal Affairs, Associations and Sustainability. Managing Partner Eduard R. Dörrenberg will be responsible for Research and Development, Marketing, Sales as well as Human Resources and took over as Chairman of the Management Board in April.

Dr. Wolff continues to grow and focuses on a new caffeine moment

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After 2022, which ended as a transitional year with a slight increase and a revenue of 363.8 million euros (357.2 million in 2021), Bielefeld-based Dr. Wolff Group continues its positive trend in the current fiscal year with its pharmaceutical and cosmetic divisions. Revenue has grown by four percent in the first five months compared to the same period last year. Thanks to further innovations, a growth of up to ten percent is expected for the year 2023.

The strongest revenue drivers in the current fiscal year (as of 31 May 2023) are the oral care brands Karex and Bioniq® with a 20 percent growth thanks to internationalization and new products, as well as the gynaecological sector with the Vagisan brand. This segment has grown by ten percent compared to the previous year. “Especially in the United States, Canada, and Europe, we see a growing awareness of fluoride-free oral care,” explains Eduard R. Dörrenberg, managing partner of the company. Meanwhile, the already strong sectors Alpecin and Plantur which accounted for 50 percent of the revenue last year continued to grow until the end of May 2023. Currently, the company distributes its brands in over 60 countries. “Research is in our Dr. Wolff DNA, and we develop products to solve hair, skin, and dental problems to improve people’s quality of life,” describes Dörrenberg the explicit focus and adds: “In the current year, we expect another milestone in the company’s history which is a caffeine moment with a new, even more potent caffeine shampoo.”

Oral care becomes established internationally – latest publication on caries prevention

In the field of oral care, the company is growing with its brands Karex and Bioniq®. The pursued course of internationalization and new solutions for fluoride-free products in the German market are increasingly contributing to the business. After Dr. Wolff introduced the ‘tooth enamel repair’ category based on hydroxyapatite to drugstores, the current activities are again positively reflected in the figures of the oral care division. After two years of double-digit growth, 2022 remained constant. In the current fiscal year, Dr. Wolff Group’s oral care segment has grown strongly again with an increase of 20 percent. “The consistent expansion of fluoride-free, hydroxyapatite-based oral care is one of the top goals for 2023,” emphasizes Dörrenberg and points out: “The non-inferiority of hydroxyapatite to fluoride in caries prevention was demonstrated for the first time in a comprehensive clinical double-blind study conducted on adults. The results will be published in the journal Frontiers in Public Health. This is the third clinical study that unequivocally confirms the non-inferiority of hydroxyapatite to fluoride, following two previous clinical studies conducted on children and adolescents. Hydroxyapatite is thus an effective and safe anti-caries agent in toothpaste. This is another important scientific evidence of the effectiveness of our products.” Caries remains one of the major health problems worldwide. Studies such as the 5th German Oral Health Study show that the past five decades with fluoridated oral care served their purpose but only had limited overall impact on the development of caries in children and adolescents. In the past 20 years, dental professional societies focused on recommending increasing fluoride concentrations in children’s toothpaste up to quadrupling, depending on the product. Meanwhile, nearly one in four children in Germany is affected by fluorosis. Another ongoing scientific debate currently taking place in the United States and other countries discusses the influence of fluoride on children’s development and IQ. In May, international scientists from the USA, Canada, Asia, and Europe gathered in Bielefeld to find ways how to facilitate an internationally unified knowledge transfer regarding alternative biomimetic approaches, such as the use of hydroxyapatite in dental care. One focal point of the event was the potential of hydroxyapatite in the deep remineralization of tooth enamel. With over 200 international studies and scientific publications in recent years, the significance of this modern alternative active ingredient is clearly growing.  

Remineralization and the previously unknown cause of chalky teeth (MH)

Current media reports call it a new widespread disease. The cause is scientifically still unclear. Teeth affected by MH (hypomineralization) show a high mineral deficiency and break like chalk. US scientists talk about effective remineralization by using hydroxyapatite toothpaste, such as Kinder Karex, Junior Karex, or Bioniq®. Several scientific publications show similar study results.

New medication Axhidrox® against underarm sweat

The pharmaceutical manufacturer believes in the high potential of its new medication against excessive sweating under the armpits. After more than ten years of development, the prescription-only drug entered the market in Germany in August 2022, and has so far already been approved in 17 European countries – further approvals are expected this year. It is the world’s first anticholinergic cream formulation. The anticholinergic agents can inhibit the effect of the sweat-inducing neurotransmitter acetylcholine. This topical application offers an alternative therapy option for those affected, in addition to local high-dose aluminum salts, injections with botulinum toxin, taking anticholinergic tablets, and sweat gland suction.

Treatment for inflammatory skin without cortisone

The dermatological sector around the Linola brand ended 2022 at previous year’s level. In particular, the pandemic-related special effects in the hygiene sector have subsided. However, two innovations in 2023 indicate new potential. There are new solutions for people with itchy skin. With Linola Duo, medical skin care focuses on a cortisone-free combination of active ingredients levomenol and heparin sodium. The medication counteracts inflammatory and allergic processes of the skin and alleviates associated itching. The product has been on the market since April and is experiencing a very promising launch. In addition, the newly introduced Linola Forte product range for medical skin care demonstrates that people suffering from itching feel relief with powerful products such as skin milk and cream.

Breaking taboos with a day cream for the genital area

Having grown by a total of four percent last year, the entire gynaecological range of Vagisan has increased by more than ten percent in the current fiscal year. With the VagisanCare range, Dr. Wolff openly addresses cosmetic care in the genital area. With this idea, the manufacturer meets a demand in the growing self-care category.

The health and quality of life of women, considering an aging society and changing needs, are at the center of several brands within Dr. Wolff Group. This applies not only to gynaecology but also to the hair care sector.

Women affected by hair loss get a chance to speak in a campaign and have been causing a stir in the United Kingdom since February. “We deliberately chose to involve those affected and want to make these topics publicly known in an authentic way,” Dörrenberg describes the situation in England. Menopause is currently being discussed in the media with unprecedented openness. “This is not just a trend. It’s rather a societal taboo that is being broken and about to turn into a new normality,” the managing partner assesses. Plantur 39 has been benefiting from this and is currently experiencing a highly dynamic growth across all sales channels in the UK, its strongest international market. The new communication is also expected to give Plantur 39 an additional boost in the domestic market later this year.

Researchers experience a new caffeine moment

Alpecin caffeine shampoo, which is popular among men, continues to gain momentum. Additional distribution channels, new packaging units, and newly developed e-commerce activities contribute to the positive trend internationally. In China sales tripled over the past four years, with a 55 percent increase in the first five months of this year. Overall, the brand’s international activities continue to contribute to its growth, with a global increase of over six percent this year.

An international network with Dr. Wolff’s research in its center achieved a milestone with a new solution for androgenetic hair loss. Results from a study recently concluded in Rome demonstrate reduced hair loss, improved hair density, increased hair growth during the growth phase, and more hair following active application in the course of the study. The background of this breakthrough is the use of a previously unknown cosmetic active ingredient, a patented combination of caffeine and the agent DMG (dimethylglycine), which enhances the effects of caffeine. The promising results will be presented to the international scientific community at the European Hair Congress in Sheffield in mid-June and will be introduced to the market later this year in the form of an even more potent Alpecin caffeine shampoo.

Innovation for gradually darker men’s hair

In the second half of the year, the Bielefeld-based company will introduce Alpecin Grey Attack, a new shampoo for men with a color effect for whose mode of action a patent was already applied for. For the first time, a color formula that reacts to atmospheric oxygen will be used in a shampoo. What makes this shampoo unique is that it gradually darkens the hair, as the formed color is of permanence.

Increasing global brand awareness of Alpecin through sports sponsorship and streaming service Netflix

The consistent expansion of Alpecin’s sports sponsorship strategy is expected to yield sustainable results. The focus of further sponsorship activities for Alpecin is particularly on major cycling nations such as Spain, Italy, France, the UK, and the Benelux countries. With the Alpecin-Deceuninck racing team around superstar Mathieu van der Poel, Alpecin actively associates sports and caffeine shampoo through huge cycling events and exclusive testimonial activities.

The international cycling community is currently anticipating a multi-part documentary series on Netflix. Following the success of “Drive to Survive” about Formula 1 racing, the streaming service has deliberately chosen professional cycling and will release the documentary ahead of the Tour de France, which begins on 1 July. The Alpecin-Deceuninck team will play a prominent role as their victory in last year’s prestigious final stage in Paris is prominently featured in the teaser video already released. The documentary is expected to have significant international impact and reach. Eduard R. Dörrenberg is excited about the format, stating: “If professional cycling achieves even a fraction of the success of Formula 1, this documentary could mean millions of new fans for the sport.”

Positive development in the hairdressing business with Alcina

After cuts due to pandemic-related salon closures and lockdown measures, sales of the Alcina hair salon brand have recovered. Already in 2022, further growth and a jump to 38.5 million euros led to a return to a pre-Corona level. The recovery is visible in all markets despite uncertainties in the hairdressing market due to rising energy prices, among other things. Alcina is increasingly focusing on Europe in order to expand its market share there. In the current year, the focus in the core hair color and styling business will be on the development of new colors and care products. The B2B media campaign currently underway, “Coloring the future together”, is drawing attention to the brand’s high level of expertise in hair colorants. As a result, the hair salon business again developed positively in the first five months of 2023, growing by more than five percent in the established home market. In particular, the hair color sub-segment, which is important for the salon business, is a significant pillar of the beauty segment with a growth of around seven percent.

Taking a special stock of 25 years

Dr. Wolff Group achieved a turnover of approximately 100 million euros in 1998. On 1 April, more than 25 years ago, Eduard R. Dörrenberg joined the management as the great-grandson in the fourth generation. Later, his cousin Christoph Harras-Wolff (since 2006) and Dr. Christian Mestwerdt (since 2016) joined, forming the current leadership trio. “We have succeeded in sustainably developing the company through innovative and effective products as well as high patient and consumer satisfaction,” says Dörrenberg.

In the beginning, the first projects focusing on implementing IT-based processes were followed by a milestone: the development of the world’s first Alpecin caffeine shampoo against hair loss, which needed to be internationalized and extended to new target groups with the brand Plantur. The company has also worked on developing the category of fluoride-free oral care with hydroxyapatite and expanding the gynaecological division. The parameters for the strategy include scientifically validated product development, market-changing innovations, global activities, entrepreneurial courage, fast decision-making, and digitization. The strategy is adjusted to changing conditions and aligned for the upcoming years.

Setting the course for the future

As part of the strategic planning and ambitious goals for the next years, Dr. Wolff Group is expanding its structure. Dr. Andreas Jacobs assumed the chairmanship of the board of directors from Richard Oetker at the end of 2022. Mr. Frank Petzold also stepped down from the board of directors after more than 20 years. A decision regarding his successor will be made soon. The shareholders expressly thanked both of them for their outstanding contributions and their significant role in the current success of Dr. Wolff Group.

In the future, the management board will reorganize themselves. Dr. Christian Mestwerdt will continue to be responsible for finance, controlling, administration, and regulatory affairs. The managing partner Christoph Harras-Wolff will be in charge of legal affairs, associations, and sustainability. The managing partner Eduard R. Dörrenberg will oversee research and development, marketing, sales, and human resources. The management will be expanded with a fourth member for the supply chain and IT departments. Until then, Christoph Harras-Wolff will continue to oversee the supply chain, and Dr. Christian Mestwerdt will handle the IT department.

April 2023 marked 25 very successful years in a leadership position for Eduard R. Dörrenberg who has assumed the position of CEO to strengthen strategic leadership.

Jörn Harguth, as a member of the executive team, will continue to support him successfully as he has done before, overseeing sales, media procurement, sports marketing, and digital operations. Alexander Krümke joins as Vice President for consumer crands marketing (hair care and oral care), Guillaume Gauthier becomes Vice President for the gynaecology and dermatology business unit (Vagisan, Linola), and Dominik Heitmar takes on the role of Vice President for new business, business development and strategy. Christian Schwarze assumes the position of Head of the Alcina business unit, overseeing the hairdressing business.

Within the context of further internationalization plans, new future markets such as India or Brazil may represent the next step. “We will continue our globalization course with high-performance products. We will develop products that genuinely benefit people and gradually expand our international teams. In the future, we will focus more on global Dr. Wolff hubs to bring our products faster and more effectively to where patients and consumers are looking for them,” describes Eduard R. Dörrenberg the course the company is to take.

Dr. Wolff continues to grow and targets 400 million euros turnover with new health products

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  • Preliminary balance sheet 2022 shows 363.2 million euros turnover for 2022
  • Normalisation of business after three years of pandemic and high sales of hygiene products
  • Alpecin Caffeine Shampoo grows seven times faster than the market, receives another patent and presents latest research results in January
  • R&D pipeline also in the core areas of dermatology, gynaecology, and oral care leads to expectation of extraordinary growth in the coming years – sales of over 400 million euros targeted for the first time in 2023

Despite generally difficult global conditions and a noticeable decline in the hygiene and disinfection market, Dr. Wolff Group again increased sales in the past year. The Bielefeld-based family business achieved preliminary sales of 363.2 million euros in 2022 (357.2 million in 2021). In addition to the recovery in the hairdressing sector, in particular Alpecin managed to further expand its clear market leadership in male hair care against the competition (seven times stronger than the market according to the German Cosmetic, Toiletry, Perfumery and Detergent Association IKW, as of 8 December 22), while the highly innovative dental care brands Karex and Bioniq® were successfully launched in the first foreign markets.

Despite the general conditions, the company is very optimistic for 2023 and beyond. “For the first time, we aim to achieve more than 400 million euros in turnover in 2023. The basis for this is a veritable fireworks of innovations and new scientific data,” says the managing partner, Eduard R. Dörrenberg, looking positively into the new year. In a research study conducted in 2022 on male hair loss with a new caffeine formulation, the results were extraordinary. Thus, even a drug development and a corresponding approval are conceivable. The first data will be presented as early as in January 2023 at a congress in Rome. In the field of oral care, there were also numerous new findings on the alternative active ingredient hydroxyapatite used by Dr. Wolff. For example, independent international researchers proved that this substance, which originates from nature, is the best active ingredient for sensitive teeth and is also effective against chalky teeth in children, while fluorosis and chalky teeth are increasing worldwide.

Product pipeline

The pipeline for 2023 includes new products and the latest research findings will be incorporated immediately. For example, Dörrenberg announces a new Alpecin shampoo against grey hair with a long-term effect, a new cream against itchy skin and neurodermatitis, an expansion of the existing gynaecological line and the international rollout of a drug as a topical cream against severe axillary hyperhidrosis (heavy sweating in the armpits).

Digitalisation and internationalisation

This is another reason why digitalisation is being driven forward at Dr. Wolff’s. The digital unit “e-Wolff” has been in existence for more than six years. Since, the unit has grown to almost 50 employees. Internationalisation is another important pillar: The office in Singapore will celebrate its 10th anniversary in a few days and the Asian business will also be further expanded. Another regional office is being built in Madrid for Southern Europe and, in the medium term, for South America, too. The location in Chicago and the efforts in the USA will come even more into focus. “There is absolutely no alternative to further consistent digitalisation and internationalisation in view of the local and global framework conditions,” says Dörrenberg.

Many vacancies

At the Bielefeld location, too, employees are still being looked for in all areas. Currently, the company has advertised as many as 51 positions there. In addition to many additional benefits, Dr. Wolff also offered monetary support in difficult times last year. “In addition to collectively agreed bonuses and salary increases, we already paid out a voluntary special payment to all employees in October 2022,” states the entrepreneur.

“The time with Corona has made us even stronger and has also clearly shown how significant health continues to be as one of the megatrends of the future, especially in an ageing population. This is where we are very well positioned and have exceptional and evidence-based brands and products available, while many of our major competitors are weakening slightly right now,” says Dörrenberg.

Research for dental health of the future

In the field of dental health, further studies on hydroxyapatite are ongoing with scientists and research groups from various international universities.

The new widespread disease is called “chalky teeth” – MIH for short. It now affects about one third of all 12-year-old children. In this disease of the permanent teeth, there is a lack of mineralisation. As a result, teeth are often porous, they hurt, and are non-functional. This mainly affects cheek teeth and incisors. A published study [1] already proved a pain reduction in chalky teeth by means of the active ingredient hydroxylapatite, which is used by Dr. Wolff in dental care. Another study [2] came to the conclusion: a toothpaste containing hydroxyapatite mineralises MIH teeth better than maximum doses of adult toothpaste containing fluoride. Research into the causes is currently still in early stages. “We will intensify research hereof in the new year. In addition, we want to inform more target groups about the clear strengths and the width of the effective fields of hydroxyapatite,” says Dörrenberg.

The launch of another toothpaste “Junior Karex” for children from 6 years of age, which is designed for the tooth change phase, has already been successfully on the market since summer 2022. Internationally, conquering further markets is on the agenda. In the USA, for example, there are many fluoride-free dental care products also from manufacturers who have relied exclusively on fluoride in Germany for many years.

Caffeine in anti-hair loss research

For almost 20 years, Bielefeld-based Dr. Wolff Group has been considered the market leader, know-how carrier and innovation driver in anti-hair loss research with caffeine. In the meantime, caffeine has gained a reputation as the best-researched herbal active ingredient against hair loss due to extensive studies [3]. It is all the more remarkable that the scientific team led by Dr. Erik Schulze zur Wiesche succeeded in obtaining another patent for hair growth through caffeine. This again impressively underpins the strong effectiveness of caffeine for hair physiology. Dr. Wolff’s research and development has proven that the daily, topical application of caffeine counteracts the decrease in hair thickness in winter and can thus cancel out the seasonal differences in hair diameter. The patent demonstrates the high efficacy potential of caffeine in the treatment of thinning hair and is further evidence of the value of this natural active ingredient in hair care. “The patent confirms our previous research efforts on caffeine. It shows once again that we have an active ingredient that is highly potent and offers added value for human hair,” says Dr. Erik Schulze zur Wiesche, Head of Research and Development at Dr. Wolff Group.

Researchers in Italy have recently presented study results according to which not only hair loss can be reduced, but even significantly more hair could be detected when using caffeine in the growth phase. Currently, the research and development department at Dr. Wolff’s is working on a formulation for the use of a substance previously unknown in hair care that can further enhance the effect of caffeine. The product developers expect results in the new year.

New product against heavy sweating in the armpits brings back quality of life

In the pharmaceutical division, the Bielefeld-based company also obtained the first and only drug approval in Europe for an anticholinergic cream against severe primary axillary hyperhidrosis (abnormal sweating in the armpits). The cream with the active ingredient glycopyrronium bromide has been successfully available in several European markets since last summer. Since the preparation was introduced, numerous German dermatologists have called it the “first real innovation in dermatology in a long time”.

[1] Study on sensitive teeth (Ehlers et al. 2021): Professor J. Deschner, Mainz University Medical Centre.

[2] Study on remineralisation of MIH: Amaechi et al. 2022

[3] Daniels, G., Akram, S., Westgate, G.E., Tamburic, S. (2019). Can plant-derived phytochemicals provide symptom relief for hair loss? A critical review. In: Int. Journal of Cosmetic Science, 41, 332-345.

Asia-Pacific Conference in Singapore Meets World’s Biggest Shopping Event “Singles Day“

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Despite the pandemic and the lockdown, Bielefeld-based family company Dr. Wolff sees great potential in the Asian market and is consistently expanding its commitment there. Its participation in the 17th Asia-Pacific Conference of German Business from 13 to 14 November underscores this intention.

“It is finally possible again to be at the Asia-Pacific Conference this year and I sense the great mutual interest in further cooperation between the entire ASEAN region and Germany. It became clear that deglobalization is not an option for anyone, and that the entire world has an interest in good cooperation between the two great powers, America and China: Diversification remains important, as does the Chinese market. This is also proven by our success on Singles Day, which is not only held in China, but also in the entire ASEAN region”, says Eduard R. Dörrenberg, managing partner of Dr. Wolff Group.

This year, for the sixth time, the shopping event plays a weighty role in the Asian business of the Bielefeld-based shampoo manufacturer. The first figures on the Chinese platform Tmall from the previous weekend indicate a year-on-year increase in sales of around 40 percent in China alone (approx. 500,000.00 euros in daily sales). Other Chinese platforms are currently still being evaluated. Dr. Wolff significantly outperformed in the market, as the overall development of the Chinese market was less dynamic. “We keep believing in the Chinese market, we will continue to invest, and are convinced that companies need to be there. Also, because digital trends are emerging and talent is growing there,” said Dörrenberg.

Singles Day is increasingly gaining importance in Southeast Asia. Dr. Wolff participates the online shopping festival not only in China, but also in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines and, for the first time, in Vietnam. The team in the city-state of Singapore shipped over 1,000 parcels via its own fulfillment structure on Friday alone. The team generated around 70,000.00 euros in daily sales in Southeast Asia.

As an entrepreneur with several locations in Asia, Dörrenberg is convinced that further growth and globalization are necessary and significant in order to be able to counter crises and risks in the future. “Overall, we see more opportunities than risks and will continue on this path,” says Dörrenberg, who himself lived in Singapore for four years. The first branch office in Asia was also established there in 2013, which turned out to be the right decision. As the conference clearly showed, Singapore is booming and increasingly becoming a hub for Asia, in line with the motto of the designated new Singaporean prime minister, who said at the conference “Good things can start in Singapore”.

Therefore, Dr. Wolff continues to look optimistically to the future and is already working on further steps in North and Southeast Asia.

Dr. Wolff Group increases turnover again in 2021 to a new record level – 2022 off to a good start despite global crises

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  • New drug “Axhidrox®” against pathological sweating in the armpits available in Germany as of August
  • New studies in caries- & hairloss research

Also, in the second Corona year Bielefeld-based Dr. Wolff Group accomplished stable growth. Strong brands, innovative products, ongoing internationalisation, and further digitalisation formed the foundation in turbulent times. As in the previous year, the focus in 2021 was on the following topics: employee health, supply chain, cash management as well as research and development of new products. Thus, in 2021, Bielefeld-based Dr. Wolff Group recorded the highest turnover to date in the company’s 117-year history at 357.2 million euros (2020: 341.1 million euros), achieved a plus of almost five percent and increased turnover despite Corona in the past two years.

Expansion of international locations

Exports also continued to grow worldwide despite Corona. Finland was added as a new international location, while the teams in the USA, in Singapore and in China were further expanded. In total, the company now globally operates 12 locations for marketing and sales in the regions. “We are focusing on further very dynamic growth. To achieve this, we will continue to expand our markets, consistently defy possible crisis scenarios in the coming years and actively invest in research and in our brands,” says Eduard R. Dörrenberg, Managing Partner of Dr. Wolff Group.

Potentials of innovative products and progressive digitalisation

Due to the outbreak of war in Europe, the consequences of emerging inflation, increasing cost pressure and a still unstable Corona situation, the challenges have grown significantly. Nevertheless: “We will remain optimistic for the long term, and we will continue to globalise our successful and evidence-based products, and further expand our team, too, which today consists of 785 employees. Furthermore, we have made great progress with our digitalisation strategy, which we started back in 2014, and will continue to expand it,” Dörrenberg stated at the annual balance press conference. In general, the company is focusing on research for new innovative products. At the top of the agenda are continuing internationalisation in the cosmetics sector, and expansion in the oral care division. In the pharmaceuticals sector Dr. Wolff Group has opened another business area with the EU-wide launch of the new “Axhidrox®” drug. 

Product from Bielefeld supports virus prophylaxis

From the beginning of the pandemic on Dr. Wolff’s maxim has been to complement existing Corona protection measures in the best possible way, and to make an effective contribution. In 2021, the oral care segment developed a concept to support virus prophylaxis based on an antiviral mouth and throat rinse. Most recently, a group of 13 scientists1 confirmed its effectiveness in reducing the SARS-CoV-2 viral load in the mouth and throat area. A special mention was made of the surfactant-based efficacy concept used by Dr. Wolff, while in particular antiseptic agents showed hardly any effects. “We do not replace any vaccination or any of the established hygiene measures. We complement them. It is remarkable that especially consumer protection centres publicly doubt the work of respected scientists and university clinics and sometimes even fight it legally,” describes the 54-year-old managing partner the current discussion about the antiviral mouth and throat rinse. 

Research success and new therapy option: drug against excessive sweating

After about ten years of research and development, Dr. Wolff launched a new drug against excessive sweating in the armpits in 2022. Following approval, the drug named “Axhidrox®” is already available in Austria. The launch in Germany is scheduled for August. In Germany, at least four million people suffer from so-called primary hyperhidrosis, a chronic disease with a high number of unreported cases. Those affected sweat excessively without any recognisable cause. With the development of the cream containing 1% glycopyrronium bromide (GPB), the dermatology division at Dr. August Wolff has succeeded in providing patients with so-called severe primary axillary hyperhidrosis with a new treatment option.

“Our preparation is the only anticholinergic cream in Europe to date that allows for the external treatment of severe primary axillary hyperhidrosis with the active ingredient GPB. We are convinced that with this drug we can also help patients who have not achieved satisfactory results with previous treatment options so far,” says the family businessman. Data from several clinical trials provided the basis for the approval in eleven European countries. The data of the phase 3a trial relevant for approval were already published in 2021 in the highly respected “British Journal of Dermatology”.2 The publication of the phase 3b research data is expected shortly. In Germany, the preparation will be presented to dermatologists for the first time in mid-July at a scientific congress. Dr. Wolff will gradually put the preparation on the market in the eleven EU countries directly or via partners.


“Hardly anyone could or wanted to imagine that the pandemic would be immediately followed by another crisis. We know that we need to adjust to a ‘life with crisis’ and therefore remain very flexible,” says Dörrenberg with regard to the current circumstances. Overall, the situation in the entire supply chain is tense. For Dr. Wolff as a manufacturer of high-performance products the challenges are increasing, too, but so are the opportunities. The management consultancy McKinsey, e.g., recently provided data3 on consumer attitudes and buying behaviour that confirmed the importance of developing innovative products with real benefits. In addition, further internationalisation is to ensure independence for the Bielefeld-based company. On this path, Bielefeld-based Dr. Wolff Group is planning on further growth in the current financial year. With the launch of the “Axhidrox®” drug against heavy sweating in the armpits, we want to add company locations throughout Europe and also bring this drug to Asia as quickly as possible,” Dörrenberg states. The shampoo manufacturer also takes advantage of the start of this year’s Tour de France in Denmark and the attention given to their own professional cycling team to actively enter the Danish market with Alpecin, and from there the entire Scandinavian market. In addition to strong brands and products with a great performance promise, Dr. Wolff continues to focus on digitalisation. The eWolff business unit currently employs more than 30 digital specialists and is expected to have grown to 50 employees by the end of the year. The office space of this unit got doubled within the Dr. Wolff headquarters and the internal exchange on digital topics has been significantly increased. “Overall, we are very well prepared to tackle the upcoming challenges as well as the upcoming opportunities,” says Dörrenberg. 

Business areas in detail

Pharmaceutical sector


One-off effects of the pandemic that occurred in 2020 and early 2021, especially due to the intensive corona-related use of hand disinfection as well as antiviral mouth and throat rinses, were not repeated due to the easing of measures in 2021. With a total of 57.5 million euros, turnover was nevertheless around 7 million above the “pre-Corona result”. In 2019, dermatics sales amounted to about 50 million euros.


There have never been more women in Germany going through menopause. Changing demographics also lead to changing communication. “We see a new openness to address things,” Dörrenberg says and identifies further potential in this division. Dr. Wolff’s gynaecological products have been making a major contribution for years, e.g., in hormone-free therapy, which is particularly important according to the guidelines of many international markets. In the past year, the Vagisan brand again grew by 4 percent in Germany and abroad. Sales amounted to 38.6 million euros. Apposite to the new openness, sexologist Ann-Marlene Henning, who openly addresses difficult issues such as vaginal dryness, continues to be the brand ambassador.


Oral Care: 

With sales of over 33 million euros, Dr. Wolff’s fluoride-free products in the oral care category (+16 percent) are growing many times more dynamically than the market. According to the German Cosmetic, Toiletry, Perfumery and Detergent Association (Industrieverband Körperpflege- und Waschmittel – IKW), the entire oral care sector is stagnating at around 1.6 percent. Dörrenberg also sees great future potential in the oral care segment. The company is expanding international activities with their Bioniq® brand. In addition, the Karex brand is extremely successful with children’s toothpaste and almost doubled in sales. In June 2022, the new Junior Karex toothpaste was added to the portfolio. As a consequence, investments in infrastructure and organisational structures at the Bielefeld company headquarters were made. In the oral care area, research with far-reaching studies on modern caries prophylaxis and education about European regulations on the dosage of fluoride-containing toothpaste is a focal point. For years, international scientists have been actively working on the evidence of the active ingredient complex around the ingredient hydroxyapatite. The Canadian organisation Health Canada officially listed Kinder Karex in 2022 and recommends the fluoride-free toothpaste from Germany to all Canadian dentists. In the past ten years, more intensive research on hydroxyapatite and its positive influence on dental health has been conducted worldwide than on any other oral care ingredient. Numerous studies and publications show that hydroxyapatite is a real alternative to fluoride4.   


Due to strong one-off effects caused by the lockdown measures, especially in the field of colour effect products, the Plantur range grew again by 19 percent in the previous year. With total sales of almost 85.5 million euros, the products of the female caffeine shampoo range almost reached the level of the men’s brand Alpecin. For many women as well as men, the decisive purchase criterion still is being able to actively do something about hair loss. Caffeine is the means of choice. The Bielefeld scientists have repeatedly been acknowledged by international experts, e.g., by the conclusion of a British research group led by Dr. Gil Westgate (University of Bradford), whose publication confirms that caffeine is the best-researched active ingredient of plant origin against hair loss.


About one in two men is affected by hair loss in the course of his life. The cause of hair loss is hereditary in 80 percent of cases. Alpecin Caffeine Shampoo stands for slowing down the process and providing effective prevention. Education and awareness, especially of young men, is important for the Bielefeld-based company. According to IKW, the entire market for hair care products lost 2.4 percent in 2021. Alpecin, however, is a driver in this segment. The brand grew by over 5 percent in Germany. Internationally, the caffeine shampoo from Bielefeld even gained 27 percent. The cumulative turnover thus amounts to 93.4 million euros.


With all in all two lockdowns, the hairdressing business was compromised by the pandemic until 2021. Alcina managed to respond to this due to company-wide digital activities. The new “diversity” collection and all corresponding seminar and workshop series were presented digitally, and the content was deepened in weekly online presentations. Nevertheless, personal engagement and advice in the B2B segment came up short. With sales of 37 million euros, Alcina did not reach the “pre-Corona level” with hair-, skin care- and decorative cosmetics. For the current year, the goal is to revive business with seasonal editions and especially with hair colours.

1Meister T. L. et al. Mouthrinses against SARS-CoV-2 – High antiviral effectivity by membrane disruption in vitro translates to mild effects in a randomized placebo-controlled clinical trial”. Elsevier, 2022 July. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.virusres.2022.198791

2Abels C, Soeberdt M, Kilic A, Reich H, Knie U, Jourdan C, Schramm K, Heimstaedt-Muskett S, Masur C, Szeimies RM. A 1% glycopyrronium bromide cream for the topical treatment of primary axillary hyperhidrosis: Efficacy and Safety Results from a Phase 3a Randomised Controlled Study. Br J Dermatol. 2021 Jan 14. doi: 10.1111/bjd.19810

3McKinsey & Company Europe Consumer Pulse Survey, 4/12-4/18/2022 n= 5.075 (France, Germany, Italy, Spain, UK) sampled to match European general population 18+ years

4among others: Meta-Analyse Limeback et al.2021: Limeback, H., Enax, J. & Meyer, F. Biomimetic hydroxyapatite and caries prevention: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Can J Dent Hyg 55, 148-159 (2021); v55n3.pdf (cdha.ca)

First anticholinergic cream against heavy underarm sweating currently approved in 11 European countries

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In the future, a new therapy option will be available for patients with severe primary axillary hyperhidrosis in various European countries: After the Swedish reference authority recommended the approval of the topical medication for severe sweating in the armpits, the feedback from the individual countries is now being received.

Eleven countries have so far granted marketing authorisation for the topical cream containing 1% glycopyrronium bromide (brand name Axhidrox). The gradual market launch of the product in the respective countries is in preparation.

1. Denmark: Axhidrox 2.2 mg/dose cream (11.04.2022)
2. latvia: Axhidrox 2.2 mg/dozējumā krēms (19.04.2022)
3. Austria: Axhidrox 2.2 mg/pump stroke cream (21.04.2022).
4. Sweden: Axhidrox 2.2 mg/pumpning kräm (22.04.2022).
5. Estonia: Axhidrox 8 mg/g kreem (09.05.2022)
6. Finland: Axhidrox 2.2 mg/pumpun käyttökerta emulsiovoide (13.05.2022)
7. Croatia: Axhidrox 2.2 mg po potisku krema (13.05.2022)
8. Germany: Axhidrox 2,2 mg/Hub Creme (01.06.2022)
9. The Netherlands: Axhidrox 8 mg/g, Crème (14.06.2022)
10. Norway: Axhidrox 2,2 mg/pumpetrykk krem (11.08.2022)
11. LithuaniaAkshidroz 8 mg/g kremas (25.08.2022)

About glycopyrronium bromide

Glycopyrronium bromide (INN name, abbreviation GPB) or glycopyrrolate (USAN name) is a well-known anticholinergic drug substance approved in several products marketed in the EU and the USA for various diseases in children and adults. GPB blocks the action of acetylcholine at muscarinic acetylcholine receptors, which are responsible for sweat gland activation, among other things.

About hyperhidrosis

Approximately 5 % of people worldwide suffer from permanent excessive sweating without an identifiable cause, so-called “primary hyperhidrosis”. This chronic disease is a great burden for patients and severely limits their quality of life. Primary hyperhidrosis ranges in severity from mild wetness to heavy dripping and can lead to a significant impact on quality of life. This may significantly affect work, social relationships, physical and leisure activities, as well as emotional and mental health. Patients with primary axillary hyperhidrosis suffer from excessive sweat production in the armpits beyond the amount required to regulate normal body temperature.

About Dr. Wolff

Dr. Wolff – since 1905, the name has stood for research that solves people’s skin-, hair-, and dental problems with innovative active ingredients. We focus our effort on scientifically proven benefits of the products. Since the company was founded, Dr. Wolff has maintained close cooperation with renowned scientists. From the first branded product, Hämatopan, to today’s internationally available products, in-house research provides the basis for innovative active ingredients and product developments. The company is managed by the fourth generation of the family and is growing with 780 employees worldwide. Dr. Wolff operates in 62 countries. For more information, please go to: Dr. Wolff Group

Dr. Wolff Group continues successful course in the areas of hair, skin and dental health

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  • in 2021 the quick balance sheet reports a turnover of 355 million euros for the first time
  • digitisation offensive has increasingly been paying off since 2014 
  • forecast for further strong growth despite challenges

In the past year 2021, it was once again highly innovative products that formed the basis for a growth of almost five percent of Bielefeld-based Dr. Wolff Group. With an increase to 355 million euros in preliminary turnover the family-owned company successfully stood up to the second year of the pandemic and has increased sales by around 42 million euros since 2019. 

New milestones were achieved above all in the segment of oral care (Bioniq® and Karex). Numerous scientific publications on the active ingredient hydroxyapatite1, the most recent one from the University of Toronto2, have been leading to growing international recognition. Thus, the new biological technology (bionics) is more and more developing into an effective alternative to long-established fluoride-based dental care. This is true even beyond pure caries prophylaxis.

In hair loss research, an important milestone was achieved with the approval of caffeine as an anti-hair loss agent in Australia. The effect, which is also known in Germany, is the reason why Alpecin and Plantur brands made significant gains against the trend in a declining German hair care market.

The hygiene segment, which was newly launched during the pandemic and initially included hand disinfection under the Linola® sept brand, was expanded at the beginning of 2021 after an antiviral mouth and throat rinse had been successfully tested on hospitalised COVID-19 patients3. The world’s first antiviral hand cream rounds off the hygiene portfolio.

In 2021 Dr. Wolff Group will continue their consistent growth course of the past few years in Germany and abroad across virtually all brands and areas. Only the hair salon segment suffered from the long lockdown in the first quarter of 2021. “For 2022, we are counting on further very dynamic growth. To achieve this, we will continue to invest consistently in a wide variety of research projects in different business areas. Thus, we expect new positive findings and data in the coming year as well, which we will use to offer innovative products for consumers,” says Eduard R. Dörrenberg, Managing Partner of Dr. Wolff Group, with an optimistic outlook to 2022. 

Accordingly, trials and further research are planned in the field of medical mouth and throat cleansing, including an additional clinical trial that is to also confirm an effect against a wide variety of cold viruses and a faster recovery after corona infections. In hair loss prevention, the company expects new data on an enhanced combination of active ingredients with caffeine. In the field of dental health, scientists and research groups from various international universities are working on further research studies on hydroxyapatite. 

In the pharmaceutical division, the Bielefeld-based company is also awaiting the first and, so far, only approval in Europe for a new drug against primary axillary hyperhidrosis (pathological sweating in the armpits): a 1% glycopyrronium bromide cream. 

Overall, according to Dörrenberg “Dr. Wolff Group is continuously turning into a highly specialised medical and cosmetic company for products with great medical benefit. This puts us in a position to meet the ever-increasing global demand for preventive health care and increasing attractiveness.” Thus, the company sees themselves on track for success in 2022 and expects another year of strong growth – despite challenges such as in the supply chain or the regular onboarding of new employees. In addition to continuing strong growth in Asia, the company is also planning major next steps in the USA and Canada for the first time. Measures for the digitisation of the corporate group, which have been ongoing since 2014, will also be further expanded with the eWolff unit. Dr. Wolff currently employs about 800 people and now, at the beginning of 2022, is hiring for many positions.4But these will not remain the only challenges we will face in the coming year,” Dörrenberg predicts and also in the third year of the pandemic does not only expect a tailwind on the planned growth path.

1 – Study database on hydroxyapatite

2 – Publication on hydroxyapatite by the University of Toronto

3 – Publication on mouth and throat rinsing

4 – Vacancies at Dr. Wolff Group

Still on course and defying the crisis with an enormous effort

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In 2020, Bielefeld-based Dr. Wolff Group recorded a turnover of 341.1 million euros (2019: 313.4 million euros), an increase of about nine percent, with exports continuing to account for more than 20 percent. Decades of evidence-based research with numerous scientific publications ensure highest product quality. Thanks to the trust of millions of consumers coupled with bold and fast action, this course could be continued in the first quarter of 2021 with more than three percent growth.

“Crisis in the morning, opportunity in the afternoon”.

In 2020, the family business had to act flexibly and quickly. The focus was on the safety of employees, on raw material supply and cash management. Within a few days, a hand disinfectant gel was brought to market maturity and nationwide availability of up to 6 million units was ensured via pharmacies by the beginning of June. Administrative districts and medical staff were also supplied with it.

Parallel development of further Corona prophylaxis products had top priority. Two milestones followed at the end of 2020: the scientific confirmation of a limited virucidal hand cream and clinical results for prophylaxis by means of a medical mouth and throat rinse. Since March 2020, Dr. Wolff research has been examining laboratory and clinical data on physical Corona protection provided by this specially developed mouth and throat rinse. In two laboratory studies and a first clinical application study on 34 COVID-19 patients, a possible prophylaxis could be achieved by significantly reducing the viral load by up to 90 percent. The results were submitted as a paper.

Another placebo-controlled clinical trial launched in February investigated the cumulative effect of several days’ use in COVID-19 patients. As was announced yesterday, an international group of authors has now come to the conclusion in their study[1] that the oral cavity is the decisive gateway for the virus to enter the body. The virus enters blood vessels via the saliva and thus reaches the lungs. Researchers concluded: “Reducing the viral load in mouth and throat can prevent severe disease progression.” Using a mouth rinse is thus the recommended corona prophylaxis.

“We are driven by the goal to complement existing Corona prophylaxis options in the best possible way and to make an effective contribution to reducing the viral load. This is not to replace vaccination, but the so-far existing steps and measures do not suffice. We need further effective means to contain the virus, to better protect ourselves and others and to break transmission chains,” says Eduard R. Dörrenberg, managing partner of Dr. Wolff Group, describing Germany’s slow progress in fighting the pandemic compared to other countries and adds: “The measures taken so far are the result of a singular approach: First, distance and hygiene rules were introduced. Then, after initial scepticism, masks had to be worn as demanded by hygienists (social distancing, hygiene and room ventilation rules), before we started striving for vaccinations and now also for testing strategies.”

Paul Ehrlich Institute also confirms, according to their president Prof. Klaus Cichutek: “If the virus load in aerosols is significantly reduced because of a reduced viral load in the throat, this might lead to less or no contact persons at all being infected.” [2]

New potentials for Dr. Wolff in drug development, familiar brands, modern products and further digitalisation

In the field of in-house drug research, Dr. Wolff is expected to soon offer a solution to pathological sweating in the armpits (so-called primary axillary hyperhidrosis): after several years of development, the pharmaceutical division submitted the application for approval of the drug, which is unique in the EU, in the decentralised procedure (DCP) for Germany, Sweden and a further 9 EU countries at the end of February. Dr. August Wolff will market the cream directly or in cooperation with experienced partners in these countries. The application for approval of the formulation containing 1% Glycopyrronium Bromide (GPB) against pathological sweating in the armpits is based on data from several clinical studies, with the phase 3a part already published in the renowned British Journal of Dermatology.[3]


“Corona is still here!” This is the conclusion after more than a year of living with the pandemic. Asia could emerge as the winner, as they have succeeded in controlling the pandemic and in developing strategies to normalise public life and the handling of the pandemic. “We have already seen a noticeable normalisation of our Asian business with the first relaxations, for example in China,” confirms Dörrenberg, who paid a visit to the Dr. Wolff branch in Singapore at the beginning of 2021 after a year’s abstinence. “The differences are very drastic. Enormous transparency and contact tracing by means of consistent check-in processes at buildings, for example, temperature measurements and Corona tests, have brought normalisation and control to pandemic development in Singapore for months already. In Europe, on the other hand, this will take longer, and we may even lose ground. I therefore expect a slower development of our business in the second quarter,” Dörrenberg predicts.

The value and benefit of strong brands, efficient products, increasing digitalisation and own data will rise all the more. Reaching consumers – who act in an increasingly individualised manner – with the right product at the right time will make the difference in medicine and cosmetics. It will be about shaping future ways of communication and work. According to Dörrenberg the economy has already made enormous progress as to that, but there is still room for improvement: “Politics must finally follow suit, I would appreciate more transparency, more competence and more digitalisation. We must no longer just wait and see. First, we did not protect the elderly sufficiently. Now we are depriving our children of education because we fail at organising, digitalising and structuring education in an up-to-date manner. Just recently, the Scientific Advisory Council of the German Ministry of Economics described the conditions in public authorities as ‘archaic’.” Nevertheless, Dr. Wolff is optimistic about the future. We hope and wish for improved political framework conditions, with the focus remaining on research, innovations and digitalisation.

About our brands

Pharmaceutical division:


In addition to increased demand for hand cream due to skin damage caused by washing hands and using disinfectant solutions more often, Linola is growing overall with medical skin care. The introduction of the hand hygiene series under the roof of Linola Sept brand, including hand cleanser, hand disinfectant gel and an anti-Corona hand cream strengthens the positive development. An additional component of effective Corona prophylaxis is the mouth and throat rinse, which has been available in pharmacies since January.


Currently, about eight million women in Germany are going through menopause – as many as never before. Dr. Wolff’s gynaecological products have been contributing considerably for years, for example in hormone-free therapy. In the past year, the brand continued to grow both at home and abroad. Nationally, it is the sexologist Ann-Marlene Henning who, as brand ambassador, openly addresses difficult topics such as vaginal dryness and advises affected women.

Cosmetic division:

Oral care:

Research with far-reaching studies on modern caries prophylaxis and education around European regulation on the dosage of fluoridated toothpaste are a main focus in the oral care sector. Within the past 10 years, more in-depth research has been conducted worldwide on hydroxyapatite and its positive influence on dental health than on any other oral care ingredient. Numerous studies and publications show that hydroxyapatite is a real alternative to fluoride. In particular, the fluoride-free children’s tooth paste Kinder Karex increased in sales and is being consciously used by parents as an alternative to fluoride-containing dental care. With a 12 per cent increase, the next step is internationalisation.


The brand against female hair loss and for hair growth is up nine percent. During lockdown, products with a colouring effect against visible hairlines hit a nerve. Especially an individual, content-coordinated digital communication determined by relevant topics reached the target group. Young women with long hair are addressed with the new Plantur 21 series. A research group led by Dr. Gil Westgate (University of Bradford) also confirmed that caffeine was the best-researched active plant-based ingredient against hair loss.


About every second man is affected by hair loss in the course of his life. In 80 percent of cases, the cause is hereditary. Alpecin caffeine shampoo is made for slowing down this process and providing effective prevention. Educating young men is therefore crucial. Whether this is due to a lack of sporting opportunities or more home office time: the German shampoo market declined by five percent in 2020. Alpecin performed better than the market, lost two percent compared to the previous year and remained stable in times of crisis.


Hairdressing business has undergone two lockdowns so far. In 2020, Alcina focused specifically on products that have been in demand of consumers in the current situation or that simplify work in the salons, e.g., with regard to hygiene and service. By means of videos and numerous digital offers, the brand took the opportunity to support its B2B customers in the best possible way in areas such as salon management or craft training. New digital formats were also created for end consumers to promote customer loyalty. Colouring and care products contributed more to sales of almost 41 million euros in the financial year than, for example, decorative cosmetics.

[1] Lloyd-Jones et al. The COVID-19 Pathway: A Proposed Oral-

Vascular-Pulmonary Route of SARS-CoV-2 Infection and the Importance of Oral Healthcare Measures. Journal of Oral Medicine and Dental Research. 2021. Genesis-JOMDR-2(1)-S1 Volume 2 | Issue 1 Open Access

[2] ARD-Morgenmagazin April 14, 2021

[3] Abels C, Soeberdt M, Kilic A, Reich H, Knie U, Jourdan C, Schramm K, Heimstaedt-Muskett S, Masur C, Szeimies RM. A 1% glycopyrronium bromide cream for the topical treatment of primary axillary hyperhidrosis: Efficacy and Safety Results from a Phase 3a Randomised Controlled Study. Br J Dermatol. 2021 Jan 14. doi: 10.1111/bjd.19810