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How Skinfix Got Derms, Millennials on Board

Amy Gordinier-Regan's natural skin-care brand targets skin irritations gets a seal of approval from two tough crowds.

Dermatologists are a tough crowd.

Skinfix chief executive officer Amy Gordinier-Regan learned this the hard way when she sought their seal of approval on the brand’s products, which are all based on a proprietary natural healing balm developed by a pharmacist in the 1870s.

But Skinfix won them over, and now the Halifax, Nova Scotia-based brand’s products, which target skin irritations such as eczema and dermatitis, now tout the tag line “the natural brand derms believe in” on their packaging.

A sign-off from dermatologists, Gordinier-Regan said at the WWD Beauty Summit, is what has helped Skinfix, which she bought from a local Canadian family in 2012, carve out its own niche in the crowded mass skin-care landscape. Instead of being specifically natural, free from bad ingredients, or doctor recommended — it is all a combination of the three.

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“We’ve found a little slice of white space — we’re doing something no one else is doing,” asserted Gordinier-Regan, who brought Skinfix to the U.S. two years ago. It is distributed here in retailers such as Target, CVS and Ulta Beauty. Gordinier-Regan, who has also introduced a baby line and basic skin-care line, also appears with the brand on QVC.

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But getting the dermatologists on board wasn’t easy.

“Dermatologists hate natural products,” Gordinier-Regan said. “They’re typically not safety-tested or clinically tested in the way that they’d like them to be, and they often contain ingredients that are skin allergens.”

So the Skinfix team enlisted a group of dermatologists to help them test the brand’s formulas — going so far as to allow the doctors to determine the protocols of the testing.

That plan, Gordinier-Regan said, did the trick.

“We now have a very long list of influential dermatologists that love Skinfix,” said Gordinier-Regan, who noted that the brand is now doing sampling in a slew of dermatologist offices in states across the country.

The fact that Millennials are keen on natural skin-care didn’t hurt either.

“Their Millennial patient population is demanding alternative therapies to prescription remedies that they’re being told to use, [and] they want natural skin-care products in general,” said Gordinier-Regan, citing a recent Harris Poll that found 73 percent of Millennials are interested in natural products. “The dermatologist community was looking for a  natural product they could feel confident recommending, and Skinfix is one they’re very comfortable [with].”

Just as important as positive reviews from dermatologists are positive reviews from customers, said Gordinier-Regan, who noted Skinfix and is among the top-rated brands on QVC.

“This is a testament to the fact that we’re dealing with skin conditions — when your skin doesn’t feel good, when it’s itchy and painful and not healthy, it affects your quality of life,” Gordinier-Regan said. “When someone finds something that works for them, they love to talk about it. She’s on board.”