Dermal Dab Cosmeceuticals first came to my attention when I was searching for acne-targeted skin care with an array of specific and somewhat unusual actives (e.g., sea kelp bioferment, saw palmetto, and niacinamide). Dermal Dab was the first company I came across that combined these actives, so my interest was immediately piqued. As I looked at the product in question, Dab to Clear, I was quickly won over by its formula, which not only contains the aforementioned actives, but combines them with other beneficial actives like niacinamide, green tea, and beta glucan. This looked to me like a really innovative, effective, and unique formula. After digging a little deeper, I was impressed enough that I got in touch with founder Tanisha and asked to interview her and review a couple of her products, which I am currently in the early stages of enjoying. She graciously agreed to both requests and has even extended a special and massive discount–50% off!–to Lovely with Lupus readers. Use coupon code 9PI7658U for a full 50% off Dermal Dab on Amazon!
What is the story behind how you became a formulator?
My first degree was in the Nursing field because I have always been health-conscious and I really love to help people. While working in the Nursing field, I realized there are a lot of biological questions that have not been answered. I transitioned my career from a hospital into a lab enrolled into the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Undergrad Research Program at the University of MD and later completed my MS in Biotechnology.
What inspired you to want to launch Dermal Dab Cosmeceuticals as a business?
I have spent the majority of my career thus far in clinical research. And as I learned more about chemicals and cells, I knew I didn’t want just any crap on my skin (and in my blood stream). So I began making skin care products for myself in my kitchen.
My friends noticed my homemade products working and they began asking me to mix extra for them. Before I knew it, I was making gallons at a time, and that’s when I started thinking that I could make this a business. I use this incredible platform to promote self-esteem, increase positivity, and spread love.
What were the first homemade products you made, and how did your formulations evolve into what is now featured in your line?
The very first product that I made was a homemade moisturizer, and I enhanced it with titanium dioxide. I mixed everything using my NutriBullet. It took me several attempts to get the formula that I really liked.
By having a lab formulate my products, I have access to more sophisticated equipment that can make more sophisticated products in a shorter period of time. The lab also has access to higher quality of ingredients that I had when I was making products in my kitchen.
For example, after about a week or two, my kitchen-made moisturizer would begin to separate. But using various lab techniques, I was able to make a few small changes to the formula that resulted in 9 months of stability.
How would you describe your beauty and skincare philosophies?
I believe that beauty is a combination of appearance, lifestyle, and what’s on the inside. All three of those things tie define who you are and how you perceive the world, which in turn is how the world perceives you.
Let me explain:
Appearance: When you love yourself and like how you feel, you radiate confidence. Those who are confident give off a better first impression. And (right or wrong) people treat other people according to that first impression.
[side note] Your skin is the first thing that people see. If you are like me, it is difficult to be confident when I am suffering from a bout of adult acne (or some other skin issue).
Lifestyle: Those who take the time to live in the moment and invest in experiences (rather than possessions) experience a level of gratification that cannot be explained. And happy, optimistic people attract other happy, optimistic people.
[side note] I have never heard an elderly person say they wish they had spent more time at work.
Inside: This ties it all together. When you are confident, happy, and positive, it will show. Your smile (for no apparent reason) will be contagious, and your aura will attract positive attention. And that’s beautiful!
In my not-so-young years, I’ve become nearly obsessed with beauty, and I wanted to share that with others. That’s how Dermal Dab’s motto became “Live Beautifully!”
What are your biggest goals as a formulator/maker/founder?
My biggest goal is to get a doctorates degree in naturopathy. The additional knowledge would afford me with an in depth knowledge of the skin, which will aid me in the development of even more targeted natural skin care solutions.
What are your favorite ingredients to work with, and why?
I really enjoy working with essential oils. Essential oils are natural compounds that not only deliver benefits to the skin, they also enhance the psychological well-being, and because they are natural, they have proven efficacy and are much less likely to trigger an adverse reaction.
Following up on this, why do you think some people are wary of essential oils (EOs)?
I think people tend not to use them for a few reasons. First, the word “oil” makes some people think that it is oily and while that is certainly true for some, there are many essential oils that are excellent for oil control. Another thing that I have heard is that there are so many different types of EO; choosing the best ones for a particular situation can be a daunting task. Lastly, when I introduced EOs to my cousins and friends, I got a lot of questions about blending. So I think that can be a confusing hurdle that some won’t attempt to overcome.
What is your process for creating a new product?
The original products were created simply because I noticed an issue with my skin and created them for myself. The way other products happened was by requests. My friends would tell me about a specific concern or issue they had, and I found a natural solution.
Do you have any plans to introduce new products to the Dermal Dab Cosmeceuticals line, and if so, can you give us any hints?
Actually, I do! And I am very excited about them, but currently, I am still trying to perfect them. When I am closer to introducing them, you will be the first to know!
How has your background in each of the following informed and/or enriched your understanding of and approach to skin and skin care formulation?
Nursing? Biochemistry and Molecular Biology? Biotechnology?
My nursing background affords me the skill and understanding to assess a concern and recommend a treatment, while the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology background gives me the cellular knowledge that I need to fully understand how each chemical in each product truly affects cells at the molecular level. And my knowledge of Biotechnology allows me to make all of this comprehension of biological processes into a product.
Aside from your extensive science background, have you had any formal training in formulation, or have you taught yourself? Either way, what are the biggest lessons you have learned along the way?
As a biotechnologist, I received extensive training to harnesses cellular and biomolecular processes to develop technologies and products that help improve various types of medications. This education and experience has taught me how chemicals can be manipulated to improve the performance of cells or to get a desired outcome. I applied this practical knowledge to develop anti-aging products.
What is your approach to preservation?
That’s a really good question!
Preservation is the trickiest part of product design. Personally, I like to take the hurdle approach, meaning that bacteria and fungi have to clear hurdles to survive within the item. Depending on the other ingredients and the intended function of the product, it may be suitable to add salts or minimize the presence of water.
Also, most of my products are packaged in airless contains, which inhibits the growth of microbes and ensures product freshness.
Choosing the best forms of preservation takes a lot of time and testing to find a balance between something that is effective at keeping our products clean and something that will be safe for us to use over a long period of time.
If you had to pick a favorite product or two from your line of which you are most proud, what would it (they) be, and why?
That is the product of which I am most proud is the product that I developed to heal my son’s eczema. When the eczema on his hands flared up, he would be in a lot of pain. His hands would itch really badly, crack open and bleed and it was so painful that he couldn’t even grip a pencil. We tried all the OTC stuff, but it didn’t help. The cream that I made (now known as Dab to Nourish) not only sooth the itch, but I included EGF to accelerates the wound healing.
I have two absolute favorite products that I use every day, twice per day… the first is the collagen peptide serum that I named Dab for Firmness; I apply that serum right before the acne combatting moisturizer Dab to Clear. This amazing combo tightens my wrinkled skin, controls the oil production, and clarifies my complexion! I have been using this duo for about a year, and I love the results!
From your perspective, what makes Dermal Dab Cosmeceuticals unique and special in a crowded marketplace?
Did you know that it takes less than a minute for topically applied chemicals to enter the bloodstream? This principle is used when developing topical medications like headache sticks, the nicotine patches, and birth control patches.
For this reason, Dermal Dab only develops and sells products that deliver results from a skin-healthy standpoint. None of our products contain GMOs, parabens, known carcinogens, endocrine disruptors, or neurotoxins because we do not believe in delivering results at the expense of your health!
What do you see as the greatest success(es) of Dermal Dab Cosmeceuticals so far and what are your hopes for the future?
Overall, it is my hope that Dermal Dab changes the way beauty is viewed and the expectations of skin care products.
However, in terms of measurable milestones, Dermal Dab have been able to reach several milestones in less than a year of being in business. On various social media platforms, we have experienced a very warm response from nearly 15,000 followers and using only our social media platform and word of mouth, we have sold thousands of units.
In the approaching year, my immediate focus is on growth in audience and product-line. I would like to gain 20,000 followers. I am also planning to announce a few really exciting, cutting-edge, proprietary products. FY2018 will be an exciting one.
Could you recommend some sample Dermal Dab Cosmeceuticals regimens based on skin type?
Skin is the largest organ of our bodies; it protects us from deadly germs. A good skin care regimen is necessary for our health.
Regardless to skin type, there is a basic routine that everyone should do, such as cleanse, moisturize, an occasional exfoliation to remove dead skin and facilitate the absorption of other products, and apply sunscreen regularly, to maintain healthy, beautiful skin.
Additional steps may include applying an alcohol-free toner to remove the impurities that were left by the cleanser and a serum that offers a very targeted solution to a specific problem or concern.
Over the years, I have read many debates as to whether or not a toner is necessary. However, the power and necessity of serums are undeniable. These are my absolute favorite type of skin care products. They are highly concentrated and specific to certain issues. Because of the way they are made, they deliver powerful ingredients directly into the skin, but for this reason, it is important to choose a brand that does not include toxic or potentially harmful ingredients.
Here are some additional tips below:
Mild milk-based or lotion-based cleansers are a good option for those who have dry skin.
For the moisturizer, I would recommend looking for in moisturizers with rosehip seed oil, phospholipids, sweet almond oil, and jojoba oil. These oils are light and do an excellent job of repairing your skin’s moisture barrier, and many of them provide nutrients that will improve the skins overall health and appearance.
If you have dry skin, you have dead skin cell buildup. To remove this buildup, exfoliate via chemical peel twice per month. Avoid using highly abrasive facial scrubs as this will likely do more harm than good.
If you have oily skin, gel cleansers are best for you.
Whether in the cleanser, serum, or moisturizer, I recommend using products that contain ingredients like salicylic acid, alpha lipoic acid, sodium PCA, peppermint oil, and tea tree oil to kill the acne causing bacteria, cleanse pores, and reduce the presence of oils.
This skin type should exfoliate weekly using either a scrub or a clay mask.
A common misconception is that oily skin does not need to be hydrated. This belief often leads to drying efforts, which actually makes your skin produce more oil. So it is important to keep your skin properly hydrated.
Choosing products that are made for your skin type will ensure the best results.
This skin type is all about hydration and brightening because dull, dehydrated skin looks older.
The best cleanser for this skin type depends on the secondary skin type. For example, if you have oily mature skin, a gentle gel cleanser with oil reducing ingredients best. On the other hand, if you have dry, mature skin, a moisturizing lotion cleanser is a good option.
Signs of aging typically become visible in our 30s and 40s. Beginning at this time, or maybe even sooner, it is more important than ever to hydrate and protect. This is an excellent time to ramp up the usage of serums (perhaps including peptides to firm/tone, AHAs/BHAs to control adult acne, hyaluronic acid to plump, etc.), incorporate antioxidants for protection (such as resveratrol and vitamins C and E), and add vitamin A to the regimen.
However, for those who are beyond the earlier signs of aging, it is not too late. Start now. You can look several years younger within a week if you start today!
Despite the high quality of your formulations and actives, you have kept Dermal Dab Cosmeceuticals very budget-friendly. How do you manage to keep the line accessible, and why is this important to you?
It was super important to me for my brand to be highly effective and accessible for everyone. To achieve this, I have kept my cost low by cutting out many of the behind the scenes expenses.
Currently, I operate from small office spaces and, because of the small advertising budget, I rely on word-of-mouth and social media to bring attention and consideration to the brand. I also provide about 75% of the customer service for the company. In addition to keeping the overhead low, relying on word of mouth and social media, I also scale back on packaging and many extras, unlike many other companies that offer mediocre products and wrap them in sparkles for optics.
How would you recommend that someone with anti-aging concerns select among Dab for Firmness, Dab for Youthfulness, Dab to Hydrate, and Dab to Indulge and prioritize the products according to desired benefits?
I would say to choose the moisturizer based on your overall or main concern and to choose a serum that addresses a specific or secondary concern.
Example #1: I am in my 40s, and I suffer from adult acne (ugh). My skin is oily and my pores are large. And to make matters even worse, I have started noticing crow’s feet and fine lines going across my forehead.
Dab to Clear is my moisturizer of choice because it hydrates my oily acne-prone skin and reduces the rate of aging. I choose Dab for Firmness to tighten my skin and reduce the visibility of aging that I described.
Example #2: One of my Puerto Rican clients told me that she was in her 40s and loves to be outside, but she rarely used sunscreen and is now seeing age spots that she absolutely hates. She has combination skin and is now seeing fine lines under her eyes.
I recommended she use Dab to Indulge because it is a mild moisturizer that is loaded with anti-oxidants and vitamins. It protects and conditions the skin while brightening the complexion and told her that either Dab to Illuminate or Dab to Hydrate were good options for the under eye concerns. She purchased Dab to Indulge and Dab to Hydrate and has since reordered twice.
What goals did you have in mind when you selected the many actives (several of them uncommon) in Dab to Clear and Dab to Heal? What do you consider the key actives in each of these formulas?
When trying to come up with a formula for my products, I wanted to use ingredients that not only solved the specific problem but also provided nutrients to the skin and reduced the likelihood of the problem from happening again.
The saw palmetto is used by many Native American tribes and is widely accepted by herbalists for its acne combatting properties. The extract inhibits the growth of bacteria and reduces inflammation.
The white willow bark extract is a natural source of salicylic acid, which is an ingredient that is widely accepted as a pore cleansing, cell renewal, exfoliant agent.
To me, those two ingredients are excellent for anyone suffering from acne. Together, they provide a remedy for current outbreaks and prevent future breakouts from occurring. Then I added additional ingredients to reduce the production of sebum, hydrate, and soothe irritation to make (what I consider to be) overall perfect and balanced products.
How do you use the platform you have with Dermal Dab Cosmeceuticals to promote self-esteem, increase positivity, and spread love?
In my personal and professional life, I have always maintained that beauty is from the inside out. In my earlier Facebook posts asked my followers to take the “Live Beautifully” pledge. In subsequent blogs and emails, I explained what I believe to be the Three Pillars to Living a Beautiful Life.
I believe life is all about the experiences that you have and with whom you share them. Nobody wants to be remembered as the grumpy old lady with low self-esteem or the mom that never had time for her family because she was always working. We only have one lifetime to build our legacy and spread happiness so let’s make it count!
Sometimes I fall short but I try to always live by these pillars, and I encourage others to try to do the same.