When doctors got into the beauty product business, they went to chemistry lab and the dermatology textbook as a source of information and ingredients. Many scoffed at natural beauty options as ineffective and said not to waste your money. Until now, that is. A handful of New York City dermatologists are joining the throngs of natural companies building skin-care brands around botanicals.
Dennis Gross, M.D., who introduced his first product in 2000, then launched the Beauty In, Toxins Out natural body-care line last year, is now in the process of removing parabens and sulfates from all his products. And Nicholas Perricone, M.D., has just introduced a lower priced, chemical-free collection of products called Super by Dr. Nicholas Perricone in Sephora that’s based on antioxidant foods like acai and of-the-moment ingredients like chia seeds and coconut water.
“Super uses many of the active ingredients found in superfoods to keep skin cells healthy and youthful,’’ Dr. Perricone explains. “It’s free of parabens, propylene glycol, phthalates, mineral oil, sulfates, synthetic colors and fragrances. The products are also packaged in recycled glass and 80% PCR cartons.’’
Dr. Gross isn’t convinced that parabens are necessarily harmful, but he has responded to the growing demand for natural ingredients. “Although I find published studies about parabens inconclusive, as a company, we are extremely sensitive to our customers’ concerns and are constantly striving to provide effective formulas that they feel good about using, so I have reformulated all Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare products to be free of parabens and sulfates,’’ he explains. “All of my formulas are vegan friendly and cruelty-free as well.”
Not surprisingly, some NYC doctors like Pratima Raichur, a naturopathic and Ayurvedic physician, have been believers in botanical beauty from the start. Dr. Raichur created her Pratima Skin Care line around rose, neem, and other plants: “I have seen so many allergic reactions and irritations—even eczema and psoriasis—to traditional skin-care products,” she says.
It used to be that only physicians like Raichur were waging this war alone, and now she has mainstream comrades. Let the skin-care revolution begin. — Beth Landman