9 Sep 2021 --- Prevention is better than cure as the famous saying goes. One long-standing indie brand, Alchimie Forever, recognizes that teaching good preventative skin care habits is a key opportunity. We caught up with the brand’s co-founder, Ada Polla, to talk about its skin care vision, its latest launch, and the future of dermatology in the post-Covid era.
What was the inspiration behind Alchimie Forever’s launch?
The genesis or beginning of Alchimie Forever stems from crying children. Truly! In the mid-80s, my father, Dr. Luigi L. Polla, the leading dermatologist in Switzerland, was the first to offer laser technology in Europe. Back then, lasers were used to treat port wine stains and hemangioma in infants and toddlers. Parents from all over Europe would bring their children to my father’s practice for pulsed dye laser treatment. While they were extremely effective, the treatments created pain, swelling, heat, and irritation on the children’s skin, and naturally, they would cry.
Click to EnlargeAda Polla carries on her father's skin care legacy. Source: Alchimie Forever.My father is a softie and can’t stand to see a child in pain, so he set about creating a product that could be applied to the child’s skin immediately after treatment to heal it, and subsequently stop the tears. That is how our Kantic Brightening Moisture Mask was born. The parents of my father’s patients would apply the mask to their own skin to encourage their children to try it, and the parents themselves absolutely loved the texture, the soothing factor and, most importantly, the results. They began asking my father to create more and more batches of the mask, as well as other products, and that was the start of Alchimie Forever.
Over 15 years later, here we are, with 17 stock-keeping units (SKUs) across skin and body care, and more in development. We also have incredible partners including Amazon, Dermstore, Pharmaca and Walgreens as well as select spas such as Heyday, and beauty boutiques.
What was missing from the mainstream skin care market that you sought to fill with Alchimie Forever?
When we first introduced Alchimie Forever in 2004, the idea of clean-ical - clean formulations and clinical results - didn’t really exist. There were certainly dermatologist/cosmeceutical brands, and a few indie brands started speaking about “clean” beauty, but the idea of merging the two was unheard of.
With Alchimie Forever, our approach to skin care centers around our belief that healthy, youthful-looking skin can be achieved using safe, effective botanicals combined with safe, effective synthetics; this is what we have deemed clean-ical.
What are consumers demanding from dermatology today?
According to my father, they are seeking treatments that will help them look the age they feel. We are no longer talking about full facelifts of carbon dioxide (CO2) laser resurfacing, but “softer” treatments that have visible yet subtle results. For example, my father pioneered the “Soft Lift”, a full-face treatment based on injectables that give you “facelift-like” results, but much more naturally.
We are also seeing an increased interest in body treatments as consumers are coming to the realization that your body can also give away your age. Think neck, décolleté and hands.
How is Alchimie Forever responding to these demands?
Our philosophy has always been that products complement in-office, professional treatments. We do not expect products to provide results that are comparable to the results you can achieve with dermatological procedures. All of our products, however, are based on what we call Alchimie Forever Antioxidant Technologies, which is the collaboration of the most powerful botanical and lab-made antioxidants, to drive visible, anti-aging results.
What is most important to you in terms of what you offer to skin care consumers?
Our formulations are dermatologist-formulated, dermatologist-tested and designed to solve immediate and long-term skin concerns. We are a Swiss-based company and we are proud of the high standard of Swiss quality we uphold in our skin care.
We have created an edited line of products for men and women that help all skin types look healthy and vibrant.
We are also committed to clean (EU formula standards), vegan products formulations. The combination of our clinical background of results and clean formulations is the key behind our message and our ingredient philosophy.
What are the greatest opportunities that you foresee?
I strongly believe that there is still the opportunity to teach the American consumer about skin health and skin care as prevention. In Switzerland, skin care is very much considered as part of health care, similarly to oral care for example. Facials and regular dermatology visits are standard and a good at-home care routine is something that we learn early on from our mothers.
Here in the US, I find there is still the philosophy of “waiting until my skin is not great to treat it.” Changing that vision and teaching good preventative skin care habits is a key opportunity.
What have been your goals and wins in 2021 so far?
I am extremely pleased with our Kantic Light Clarifying Cream launch, which we released in April 2021. A new product launch is always a momentous occasion for us, as we only introduce new SKUs every 18-24 months, based on an actual need and when our product prototype is perfect. There are always challenges, but this was a particular challenge coming out of a year in the COVID-19 pandemic. This product has been extremely well received by consumers and our key wholesale partners alike.
What are your short and long-term hopes and goals?
I look forward to completing our product assortment, expanding our distribution, and getting my Alchimie Forever products in the hands of more consumers nationwide and globally!
By Natasha Spencer-Jolliffe, BPC Insights Senior Journalist