Gill Meets Bryan Johns of Innovative Skincare
Bryan Johns serves as co-founder, President and CEO of Science of Skincare and Innovative Skincare and currently also serves on the President’s Council for the National Breast Cancer Coalition.
After serving as the Director of Skincare for the Kronos Group, one of the world’s premier anti-ageing research and development facilities, you co-founded Innovative Skincare with Alec Call. What was the inspiration?
When we founded Innovative Skincare in 2002, we were inspired to create products that would simply help improve people’s lives. We have never been a company that is “bottom line” driven; rather we measure the successes we find in helping to positively impact humanity.
Coming from a scientific background and as one of the founding members of The Kronos Institute, it was imperative that I familiarize myself with the cosmetic and cosmeceutical industry as it existed. In order to assess product performance standards and ethics, we reverse-engineered hundreds of skincare products on the market to measure the levels of “claimed” levels of active ingredients. We discovered that only a very small percentage of skincare products we tested actually contained what they claimed.
It is a fact that a high-performance skincare formulation must begin with significant levels of the highest grade ingredients (i.e. pharmaceutical grade, or those ingredients that are so pure, they are used in making drugs). Just because a manufacturer states on the label that a product includes a certain ingredient, you don’t know exactly how much is in the product (if indeed it is in there), or how pure and powerful the ingredient is.
I like to use the analogy of a car – a 1962 Volkswagen is a car, and so is a brand new Formula One Ferrari. They are both “cars” but one is a much higher performer. It is the same with ingredient performance. As the cosmetics industry is largely unregulated, there is no accountability to prove product performance or levels of active ingredients, so the consumer has no idea. It is the responsibility of the manufacturer to provide the proof to the professional or consumer that indeed the product does perform.
These facts acted as our inspiration to create Innovative Skincare. We knew that scientifically we had the ability to create skincare products that indeed could produce incredible improvements in one’s skin. We were also inspired to bring ethics to the forefront in an industry full of smoke and mirrors. I also realized the importance of a team effort when creating products. There is no definitive expert in formulation – the best results come from a collaboration of several experts; each bringing something different to the table. This philosophy we continue to use today in Innovative Skincare.
Do you and Alec share a life philosophy?
Our philosophy is the same as our Company’s mission. We want to leave a legacy that we accomplished something good, and we hope to make a positive impact on humanity. It is as simple as that.
What is the philosophy behind Innovative Skincare?
We believe in creating unique, safe, highly efficacious skincare products that will deliver dramatic improvements in skin quality. Our greatest satisfaction is the knowledge that our customers will experience a remarkable improvement in their appearance with skin looking younger, healthier and more radiant. We also are very philanthropically driven to not only help people with more common skin conditions like wrinkles, acne, and rosacea; but also we have found we can really help make a difference to those suffering from cancer.
Your products claims are supported by a plethora of independent clinical studies; some undertaken and funded by governmental institutions, which is pretty phenomenal. Can you explain what they were for?
Many of the products in our ranges (iS Clinical and iS) are indeed supported by independent clinical studies, which have been scientifically peer-reviewed by Ph.D.’s and physicians alike. In fact, one of our iS Clinical formulas “Poly Vitamin Serum” demonstrated such remarkable restorative properties that the National Institute of Health (the U.S. governmental health agency) began a study on the product’s effects on an extremely serious skin condition called transplant dermatitis.
The medical community had not seen any product of any kind able to actually significantly improve this condition like Poly Vitamin Serum. This supports the fact that if this remarkable product helped such an extreme skin condition, it is incredibly restorative for more common skin concerns. This indeed was quite an honour and most unusual. We also recently had the Cosmetic Institute of Russia test five of our products and give them incredible test ratings – even including them in a text book as “standards”.
After launching the iS Clinical range in the UK several years ago, we have just launched the new range of products, iS by Innovative Skincare. How do these differ to the clinical range?
Actually, there are some significant similarities between the two lines, including use of pharmaceutical-grade ingredients (the same quality used in medicines) in botanically-based formulations, along with the formulas incorporating cutting-edge ingredients like growth factors and peptides. And a few differences:
- The iS Clinical range is “targeted” and requires professional advice for usage. The very potent iS Clinical products target clinical conditions such as rosacea, hyperpigmentation, as well as anti-ageing concerns. As many of the iS Clinical products are extremely powerful and active, in some cases they are not designed to be layered with other products. We therefore recommend that purchase of iS Clinical come through consultation by a licensed skincare professional and used according to specific protocols and regimes.
- The new iS range, utilizes the same philosophy of formulation expertise and quality ingredients as iS Clinical, but is designed with the consumer in mind – simple, easy, and very effective. The iS range of products address general ageing concerns like wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, and overall skin health and protection. iS products can be used without professional consultation as even if one chooses to layer all of the range, there is little risk of any complications.
- While iS Clinical products are designed to work together in specific regimes to address targeted skin conditions, such as rosacea and hyperpigmentation, the new iS line is designed to improve the overall condition of the skin with eight innovative and unique formulations.
I know you immensely proud of the groundbreaking Extreme Protect SPF 30. Can you explain why?
Because this is truly a breakthrough formulation in that it provides not only protection from solar rays and resulting DNA damage, which can lead to skin cancer, but it also is clinically-proven to be reparative to existing DNA damage. This is a huge claim and we can prove it. The Extreme Protect incorporates ground-breaking technology involving Extremozymes© (or “extremophylic” enzymes), which are organisms found thriving in the most extreme environmentsin the world. They flourish in extreme environments such as hydrothermal vents, deep ocean trenches, and polar ice, by means of internal mechanisms that protect and repair their DNA.
The independent clinical study that supports our claim of significant DNA protection demonstrates that not only does the Extreme Protect provide unparalleled levels of DNA protection when the skin is exposed to the sun, it also protects the DNA from “intrinsic damage” or DNA damage that is occurring because of our own metabolism. This finding has literally become a sensation in the world of dermatology.
Aside from Extreme Protect, what is your hero product of the range, and why?
That is a hard question since the line is limited to a select group and each of the new products is complementary to the others and provides something unique and exciting. One example of another of the exciting new iS products is Instant Smoothing Gel, which not only provides immediate results, it also encourages long-term benefits by assisting collagen building. This “lifting and tightening” formula utilizes a unique compound of botanical ingredients such as watermelon, apple, pea and lentil extracts together with hydrolyzed wheat proteins to provide an instant lift. Additionally, state of the art ingredients such as copper tripeptide growth factors and “intelligent proteins” help to repair damage and synthesize collagen to provide for long-term firming and smoothing effects. Better yet, women can apply makeup over Instant Smoothing Gel without fear of losing the lift, which is truly unique.
Is this new range of products targeted for specific users?
The new iS range is suitable for men and woman of all ages and skin types.
You place a lot of importance on performing clinical studies on your entire formulations and not on just one ingredient, which is so often seen in skincare studies. Can you explain why this is so critical?
This goes back to our founding principles of ethics and delivering effecting product that perform as promised. We often see in the skincare world products selling based on a study that supports only an ingredient or two, rather than a study on the entire formula. Using ingredient studies contribute to “hype” and are often misleading to the public. Scientifically there is no insurance that 1) A high grade of the ingredient was used, 2) It was included in the formula in effective levels, or 3) That indeed its efficacy hasn’t been destroyed by something else in the formula.
One should always look for independent (very important that there is no prejudice) clinical studies which have been performed on the entire formula – that is what you should care about.
Innovative Skincare is well known for providing a variety of independent clinical studies, which supports our product claims. We have studies by clinical institutes, universities, research institutes, and even governments.
iS Clinical is now a global brand and is recognised as one of the foremost cosmeceuticals in the world. What has been your proudest moment?
Our proudest moment was when we started our first iS Cancer Care program in Washington D.C. at the Washington Cancer Institute. This was the beginning of our most important charitable outreach program, whereby we provide skincare products and education to those going through cancer treatments. This program has now grown considerably in the U.S. and we hope to launch our iS Cancer Care program into five more countries this year. We have had such tremendous support and feedback from the patients – that we know this program in particular is really helping to make a difference – our mission personified.
What is your vision for the brand?
We hope to continue to grow both our iS and iS Clinical brand globally; becoming more recognized as a company with a heart, ethics, and a mission. We have experienced record growth from the creation of our company ten years ago, and we remain extremely grateful for all of those who have accompanied us on our journey.
You (Gill) have been one of our strongest and most loyal supporters through the years. You have helped us test products before launching (providing valuable feedback), you brought us to the UK and most importantly given us incredible support and encouragement through the years.
Victoria Health is recognized the world over as a highly ethical, respected company with a great mission – to help people. VH and Innovative Skincare share many of the same philosophies and goals, and it is wonderful to be able to partner together.
iS Cancer Care Program