south african skincare

The Beginning of the Journey

As with all good things, DERMA et al. started with an idea among friends. It all started at brunch one morning, where we stumbled upon the topic of our skincare routines and were surprised to realise that we all shared a passion for skincare. 

As our conversations continued, it became increasingly apparent that we struggled to find suitable products to care for our sensitive, melanin-rich skin in South Africa. Even more so, we were tired of the usual marketing terms like “natural”, “clean”, “non-toxic”, and “chemical-free”. Because let’s be honest, everything is technically a chemical - even water! We also didn’t like the negative connotations associated with terms that were pretty normal and safe in the scientific community and didn’t believe in the fear-mongering that the industry was profiting from and had become notorious for. Part of our mission is to use our brand to break those stigmas and share useful information so that people can make informed and knowledgeable decisions when it comes to caring for their skin.

You should know that the three of us became friends during our Honours year at university, where we studied Genetics. You could say that we bonded over our shared trauma and became great friends after that tumultuous year. However, like all true scientists, we love a good challenge. When we had our ‘eureka’ moment, we instinctively knew that we wanted to design skincare for skin of colour backed by scientific research and clinical data. 

We then set out to create products that we felt were needed in the market: focusing on the needs of people of colour and sensitive skin types. We also knew that we wanted to use evidence-based, multi-active formulations and their combined, synergistic effects instead of just highlighting one or two ingredients. Now that we had a mission, we needed a name representing who we were and what we were trying to achieve. We searched for something short and simple, yet impactful. We literally still get anxious when thinking about all the names we considered. There were a few times when we felt like we were close, but it just wasn’t quite right yet. Funnily enough, this actually became a recurring theme in our journey.

Definition of derma definition of et al

Figure 1: The definition of DERMA et al. “DERMA” expresses our passion and love for healthy skin and effective skincare, while the term “et al.” is used in academic research to shorten in-text citations with three or more authors. Appropriately, DERMA et al. was founded by three women of colour with postgraduate qualifications in science. We formulate products based on the latest data available in scientific literature, industry sources, and suppliers, as well as feedback from our consumers.

Being three realistic perfectionists by trade, we insisted on things being as close to perfect as possible when turning our ideas into reality. We were meticulous in each step: product formulation, business planning, sourcing ingredients, and effective packaging. There are many stories associated with each of these aspects and you will hear about them soon enough! But to sum it all up, it was a lengthy, time-consuming, harrowing, and yet extremely gratifying journey. 

Naturally, the most exciting part for us was working closely with our formulator to develop formulations that met our high standards (efficacy, texture, scent, stability, etc.) and were true to the literature and scientific data available. This was the process that we went through with each of our products or "our babies". We were extremely nerdy about them because it was an amalgamation of our interests and we knew that our products were able to help so many, especially people of colour. 

In essence, we are three women of colour with strong backgrounds in science, research and innovation, who share a love for skincare and saw a need for more diversity and inclusion in the skincare industry. This is the formula of DERMA et al. Our dynamic is one of motivation and understanding. None of this would be possible if one of us had not been part of the equation; it just wouldn’t balance. And because of the relationship we have today, we were able to get to the finish line, the beginning of our future.

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Hi there Shamira. Thank you for your comment. New articles will be going up soon 🫰🏾

We believe that our products are different for the following reasons:
1) We use multi-active formulations. This means that instead of focusing on one or two key ingredients, our products contain various active ingredients that have been formulated to work together synergistically. This also negates the need for layering multiple products that may not actually be designed to work together.
2) All of our ingredients and the concentrations at which we have used them are strictly backed by scientific research and reports from clinical data. We wanted to make sure that each ingredient is effective at treating the skin while minimising any irritation or sensitivity.
3) When we looked through the literature, we were very particular in finding what works for skin of colour because we wanted our brand to be a tribute to people of colour who have struggled for too long to find effective products for their skin.

As for how older people would benefit from our products: they are enriched with high concentrations of anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and restorative ingredients which would assist in repairing and protecting the skin from age- and environmental-induced damage. This results in brighter, tighter, and more elastic skin for graceful and healthy ageing.

DERMA et al.

An interesting start indeed. looking forward to future informative articles. Eager to learn what makes your product different (as a scientist myself). Also how would an older (50+) woman benefit from your product?


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