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This Allergist-founded Brand Wants to Propel Sensitive Skin Care to New Heights

Dr. Martin Smith doesn’t want you to have an allergic reaction to your skin care routine. 

Sensitive skin care may be on the brink of an upgrade. 

Or, to speak more literally, a downgrade, in the sense that allergist and immunologist Dr. Martin Smith has teamed with Unilever alum Annie Meyer to inaugurate a skin care brand comprising products each made with fewer than 14 ingredients. 

Launching Monday, Untoxicated consists of a Clean Start Facial Cleanser, retailing for $17.95, and a Lightweight Hydrate Moisturizing Lotion, $24.95, packed with ceramides, hyaluronic acid, arginine and glycolipids — and free from 128 common allergens and irritants responsible for a majority of reactions in people, said the founders. 

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“Our name directs attention to what we do; we want to be the safest sensitive skin care brand on the market,” said Smith, adding that two more products, a micellar water and second moisturizer, will debut later this year. 

Allergist-turned-skin-care-founder Dr. Martin Smith.
Allergist-turned-skin-care-founder Dr. Martin Smith. courtesy

Smith and Meyer did not specify sales expectations for the launch, but industry sources anticipate Untoxicated could reach $1 million in retail sales during its first year on the market.

Launching direct-to-consumer (but guided by Smith’s ultimate ambition to “be available a short drive from anybody’s house”), Untoxicated’s product roadmap has been, and will continue to be, informed by consumer listening. 

“A number of our top competitors in the space don’t have a direct-to-consumer presence, so we view that as a unique opportunity for us to get in, establish a relationship and begin conversations,” said Meyer, who, with Smith, has long tuned into channels like the 1.4-million-member “Skincare Addiction” subreddit to glean prevalent consumer concerns. 

And, in this era of TikTok dermatologists and skin care experts heard around the world, who better to front the brand on social media than Smith himself? 

Beauty-exec-turned-founder Annie Meyer.
Beauty-exec-turned-founder Annie Meyer. michele marie photography

“We want to offer relatable, educational content not in a paternalistic way, but in a helpful, transparent, human way,” said Smith, who envisions a potential “question of the week” video series, and others of the like that will emphasize beneficial sensitive skin practices, while dismantling misconceptions. 

This stripped-back approach informed the brand’s packaging design, too. 

“Eczema and sensitive skin — they’re stigmatized conditions, but we want these conditions to become an everyday conversation, and to appeal to people who are young and vibrant and want a little more out of their skin care than just a clinical blue and white packaged bottle,” said Smith.  

Sensitive skin is experienced by roughly 71 percent of adults, suggests Wei Chen and Ru Dai’s 2019 meta-analysis of 26 studies within PubMed’s database, which cumulatively assess the self-reported symptoms of more than 51,000 subjects across 18 countries.

“This isn’t a niche thing,” said Meyer, who didn’t realize the prevalence of skin sensitivities until developing her own well into her beauty industry career, which prompted her to switch gears with the aim of tackling the issue for all. 

“We believe there is a huge opportunity not only within sensitive care, but clinical care as a whole, as we think through how we can not just create a new standard for sensitivity, but a new standard for what a clinical brand can be and represent in 2023 and beyond,” she said.