An emerging global brand, Synergie Skincare has taken international leadership with the development and use of Clean Science® guidelines for the skincare industry. Clean Science® is an advanced skincare product development concept that can be briefly summarized as an ethical and transparent formulation of skincare. This interview with Terri Vinson discusses how one person’s passion to change the skincare industry and formulate potent, clinical-grade products is helping aesthetic practitioners to understand that advanced products such as Synergie Skincare must combine essential topical vitamins with targeted serums in order to protect, change and nurture the skin effectively. Ms. Vinson’s academic training includes a BSc. in Immunology/Microbiology, teaching credentials (hence her passion for educating about skincare), and a diploma in cosmetic formulating. Synergie Skincare is an exciting range of advanced and thoughtfully formulated skincare products developed and manufactured in Australia for over ten years and now available in the US through Skin Elegance International. To learn more visit: www.synergieskin.com and www.skinelegance.com.
Tell us about Synergie Skincare and what it is that drives you to make such a difference in the aesthetic industry?
It all started when I was a teenager and I had a passion for the beauty industry. I was constantly buying magazines and reading about skincare. I ended up loving science and received a science degree in Immunology and Microbiology. My love of beauty soon translated and combined with the love of science. Since then, I’ve merged the two in Synergie Skincare and absolutely love it. I saw a real need in the aesthetic industry for something that worked effectively without harmful ingredients. I wanted to develop a clean science platform, which I did with Synergie over fifteen years ago, and took to the market eleven years ago.
What do you mean by Clean Science®?
Clean Science® is actually quite a unique platform that I’ve adopted. I found there were so many brands available and terms such as “natural” and “organic” were becoming big buzz words that were being thrown around carelessly. There are so many synthetic products with what I call “questionable ingredients” that I felt there was a gray area in terms of quality ingredients. The market is against ingredients like paraben, preservatives, polyethylene glycols, etc., so anything that I deem harmful or potentially harmful, are removed from my formulations. However, I do not remove laboratory-made ingredients that are beneficial. So while our products are not made of completely natural ingredients, we have formulated the best of science and nature in Synergie Skincare. It’s the best of laboratory science and the best of nature without the harmful ingredients, but with effective formulations. That’s Clean Science®.
What would you say to someone who refuses anything but “natural and organic”?
There is definitely a niche for natural skincare or organic skincare products, but as a scientist I think we need to create a visible perceivable change in a person’s skin. As a woman, I’m now in my 50’s and I want to change and want to age gracefully. I also want my children to have the best skin they can possibly have. So, what I do is create products with the best of laboratory science with peptide technology and biotechnology, to develop products that actually work without any harmful ingredients.
Can you explain what you mean by products that work?
We’re starting to see ingredients that are actually creating change on a genetic level, which is very exciting. We have a couple of new ingredients; one in particular called JuvelenTM that is able to protect the genome and actually reverse aging. We also incorporate improved versions of more well-known ingredients, including good old Retinol, Vitamin A, which has been around for many years. The challenge to formulate this has been to stabilize the molecule so that it can reach its target cell without breaking down. We now have these new wonderful Vitamin A Retinol molecules that are being encapsulated by a liposome so it’s able to absorb into the skin, target the molecule and create its change without breaking down on its journey. Vitamin A, as we know, is one of the only molecules that can actually reverse UV-induced cell damage and the UV light actually causes genetic mutations. Vitamin A can reverse these potentially damaging mutations in the very early stage which is very exciting.
Synergie Skin is already a very popular brand in Australia and New Zealand. What are your plans with the US market?
Synergie Skin has only recently arrived in the US and we have a salon-spa line which is principally for salons and spas. We also have a doctors-only line called Synergie Practitioner with even higher levels of active ingredients. Synergie Practitioner is designed for doctors to prescribe to their patients’ post-surgery, prior to surgery, and as an ongoing skincare regimen. It will (A) enhance their results and (B) maintain the results. We are gaining a lot of attention in the aesthetic industry because we are catering to both the aesthetician market with a solid effective product line that works, and to the doctor market that wants products that are exclusive and even more potent.
Was there a moment when you thought there isn’t a product on the market that’s providing everything that’s right for my skin? What was it that pushed you to found a skincare company?
That is such a great question, and that absolutely was the case. I was totally frustrated that I couldn’t find a product that really worked. Plus there was so much misinformation and lack of education in the industry, I wanted to educate the consumer on the truth behind good and bad ingredients and develop products that actually work.
What do you do differently to show your customers that you’re using the best available materials?
I see suppliers of ingredients every single week from the major suppliers all over the world. My business in Melbourne is completely vertically integrated, so everything from the inception of the product, to formulations, to small-scale manufacturing, large-scale packing, filling, and dispatch is done under one roof in my premises in Melbourne, Australia. I have complete control over what I put into my products, so I will not put in any ingredient that does not pass my Clean Science® tests.
The other thing is transparency. We have an open door policy to consumers, so if somebody wants to have a tour of my laboratory, we are more than happy to show them what we do and be completely open and honest. There’s so much cloak and dagger going on in the industry with “top secret” ingredients that don’t work that I just want my door to be open for everyone to see how we work. I am proud of what we do. I’ve had bloggers visit, as well as journalists and medical students. We have a group of dermal therapy students from Melbourne visit each year. I am only as good as my team, and I am happy to say that I have a great team and I love introducing people to them and sharing our facility.
Do you have a particular favorite product, or do you just love all of them?
I have aging skin, so I have a range of products that suit aging skin. My favorite products are the Super Serum and the vitamin B serum/niacinamide. The vitamin B serum/niacinamide, my “multi-tasking system”, works on fine lines, strengthening of the skin, skin immunity, collagen, and pigmentation. The super serum contains the JuvelenTM ingredient I mentioned earlier, which protects the genome from damage – as well as FOUR other active ingredients, that increase collagen and hyaluronic acid, and reduce fine lines, stimulate the skins own growth factors.
How are you further introducing the products into the US aesthetic market place?
Dr. Tracey Lambert, distributor and director of Skin Elegance, has been involved in a number of aesthetic tradeshows around the states along with our new business development manager, Keely Johnson. I’ve known Tracey for a number of years so I’m really excited to have her on board as she is not only passionate about the products; but also totally understands both sides because she is a highly regarded cosmetic physician in New Zealand.
Next, if a clinic, salon, or doctor wants to introduce Synergie Skincare to their practice, then Keely or Tracey will offer one-on-one training to the staff and the doctor. We let the staff sample the product and often times they pass on information to other clients and patients because they are enjoying a great result. In addition, we offer YouTube training and educational videos.
How fast will you begin to see a difference with the Synergie Skincare Line?
Well with the niacinamide, we actually start to see a change within 14 days because it actually increases ceramide production in the outer layers of the skin, which enables the skin to hold moisture better. Very, very quickly you see this beautiful luminosity and a glow to the skin. For the other products, it takes anywhere between 30 and 60 days, depending on the rate of cell turnover of the individual.
What are the ingredients that help with cell turnover in terms of exfoliation?
We have alpha-hydroxy and beta-hydroxy products, which are lactic acid and salicylic acid. We also have a new product which is a fermented soy byproduct that is a completely acid-free exfoliant. It is quite a breakthrough product. Many people have rosacea and highly sensitive skin so they can’t use acidic products on their skin. However, they still need to exfoliate. We also have salicylic peels, lactic peels, Jessner peels and even on demand peels with enzymes. There’s a whole suite of products that are available from Synergie to cater to almost anybody’s individual needs.
With regards to rosacea, how can you treat it?
Rosacea is a chronic condition of inflamed, distended, fine-line blood vessels so what we need to do is increase the health of the blood vessels. Vitamin A & B are great for the formation of healthy blood vessels. There’s a new peptide ingredient on the market that is able to maintain the integrity of the blood vessel to prevent it from becoming what’s called leaky, and also maintain the pressure of the fluid within the cells to maximize the exchange of nutrients. If the blood vessels are healthy they’re better at removing toxins from the skin, and they’re better at feeding the skin with oxygen and the nutrients that it requires. Most particularly, for the rosacea patient we need to reduce the size of the blood vessels, and make them less distended so you don’t see that visible flushing and redness. I would say vitamin A & B are the two staples but also this new ingredient called TelangynTM. We have incorporated it into a moisturizer called Dermacalm that is excellent for rosacea.
Do you offer any opinions on dietary changes for a patient with rosacea?
There’s also some evidence to suggest that it’s related to internal wellness, so obviously don’t drink too much alcohol or eat spicy food. Those are both giant triggers. Also, supplements to make the blood vessels healthier are fantastic. Just in general, antioxidants are always great for maintaining the health of the skin. There is also some evidence of lactose intolerance in some patients so when we see skin allergies or inflamed tissue we often suggest that the patient also see a nutritionist.
So even patients not suffering from rosacea can internally improve their skin tissue through their diet and exercise program?
Absolutely. Skincare is a holistic approach. The skin is one of the most complex organs in the human body. Not only it is the largest organ of the body, but it’s the only one that is constantly in contact with the internal and external environment such as hormones, solar radiation and pollution. There’s always this fine line that the skin is treading between being healthy and battling these aggressors. Skin care is one part of the equation but nutrition is certainly another.
Is there anything about you or about the Synergy Skin Care that we haven’t covered?
We’ve covered so much today, but I would like to point out something about sun-protection. In the USA, I’ve noticed there’s a lot of people looking at fixing their faces after the damage is done, and what I’d like to see is more education on prevention, really good sun-protection, and then maintenance with great skin care.
To listen to the Aesthetic Insider™ Radio interview with Terry Vinson, CLICK HERE!