“It was suggested by several dermatologists that we start a company to make better products than were commercially available for people with sensitive skin.”
From the founders Conrad Thompson and Ed Mansfield

In 1974 we were both pharmacists working in a local hospital. Neither of us had any thoughts of starting a manufacturing company. However, at that time we worked closely with dermatologists and understood the needs of their patients. Because of our extensive experience formulating products, it was suggested by several dermatologists that we start a company to make better products than were commercially available for people with sensitive skin. We investigated this idea and formed Pharmaceutical Specialties, Inc. (PSI) in 1975.

We developed PSI while continuing to work full-time at the hospital. Space was rented in a small building and a few part-time assistants were employed. As word spread about our products, business increased and we moved several times to larger facilities to accommodate our growth. We both retired from the hospital in the mid ‘90s to manage PSI on a full-time basis.

Early on, we made decisions regarding our operating principles. We wanted to avoid chemicals that dermatologists considered undesirable and could be irritating or sensitizing to the skin, such as fragrance, masking fragrance, dyes, lanolin, parabens, formaldehyde and formaldehyde releasing preservatives. We wanted to use the highest quality ingredients that would conform to this principle. Even though most of our products were, and are, considered cosmetics by the FDA, we chose to manufacture to drug quality standards. This meant meeting or exceeding the FDA’s current Good Manufacturing Practice regulations. Our marketing focus would be to dermatologists and allergists and our distribution primarily through pharmacies, and later, selected medical supply providers. We wanted to provide high quality products at a competitive price which offer good value to consumers. In communicating with physicians and the public, we wanted to be conservative with claims and not use misleading and meaningless terms such as “hypo-allergenic” and “natural.”

Initially, we distributed products mainly in the upper Midwest. Today we distribute throughout the USA and internationally.

We are regularly inspected by the FDA and licensed by the Minnesota State Board of Pharmacy as a pharmaceutical manufacturer.

Throughout the evolution of PSI, we have been extremely fortunate in obtaining and keeping employees who are dedicated, have great knowledge and skill, ambition, honesty, talent and loyalty. We consider the employees our “PSI family.”

We are grateful for the support and loyalty we receive from physicians and pharmacists that recommend our products and the patients who benefit from them.

It is our intention to continue to manufacture and develop new products in the same manner that we have in the past 35 years.

Thank you for your interest in the products we manufacture.


We carry the following Vanicream products:



Vanicream Cleansing Bar
A mild and gentle, fragrance-free cleansing bar. We put Vanicream™ Cream Base in it to keep your skin feeling soft and moisturized.





Vanicream Deodorant
Fragrance-free formula for sensitive skin. Scent-free, no masking fragrance, no botanical extracts. Clinical strength – 24 hour extra effective protection.





Free and Clear Anti-Dandruff Shampoo
A maximum strength over-the-counter medicated shampoo that is mild and gentle for those who need, or want, a dandruff shampoo that is free of common chemical irritants.





Free and Clear Conditioner
For use after shampooing. Helps prevent tangles and hair damage. Leaves hair feeling clean and healthy. Preservative-free.





Free and Clear Liquid Cleanser
Effective, yet gentle for everyday use on face, hands, and body. Soap-free. Non-comedogenic, fragrance-free.






Free and Clear Shampoo
A non-medicated, mild shampoo for sensitive skin and scalp. Leaves hair clean and manageable. Preservative-free. Gluten-free.





Free & Clear Hair Styling Gel
Provides long-lasting styling control without the use of common chemical irritants. Preservative-free.





Vanicream Gentle Facial Cleanser
Helps remove makeup and excess skin oils without drying your skin. Leaves skin feeling clean and soft. Non-comedogenic, fragrance-free.





HC Anti-Itch Cream
A non-greasy, easy to spread anti-itch cream for sensitive skin. Maximum over-the-counter (OTC) strength provides fast relief for flare-ups due to eczema, dermatitis, and psoriasis.





Lip Protectant SPF 30
Helps prevent and relieve chapped lips. Broad spectrum protection SPF 30, water resistant (80 minutes).




Vanicream Moisturizing Lotion
Because skin types are not all the same, we formulated a lighter version of Vanicream™ Moisturizing Cream using the same ingredients for those who prefer a lotion.





Vanicream Shave Cream
A non-lathering formula specially developed for those who have easily irritated, sensitive skin. It provides a smooth, close, comfortable shave for both men and women. Fragrance-free.




Vanicream SPF 35 Sport
Light, fragrance-free formulas that provide high sunscreen protection without the use of chemical sunscreens.




Vanicream Moisturizing Ointment
Formerly known as Vaniply™ Ointment. We changed the name to unify our brand name. It helps eliminate confusion that multiple brand names can bring to physicians who recommend our products and consumers who look for them. Nothing has changed except the name. Non-comedogenic, fragrance-free.





Vanicream Z-Bar Medicated Cleansing Bar (Pyrithione Zinc 2%)
A 2% pyrithione zinc bar that helps relieve irritations associated with seborrheic dermatitis and dandruff. Mild and gentle for those who need, or want, a zinc cleansing bar that is free of common chemical irritants.


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