As a doctor of Oriental Medicine, holistic practitioner, and a skin care formulator, Dr. Linda Miles believes in the healing power of natural ingredients over synthetic ones.
“There’s no reason to put potentially unsafe chemicals or toxic ingredients on your skin when you can nourish and fortify it healthfully with vitamins, antioxidants, and botanicals,” Miles says. The idea to create her own skin care line struck Miles in the early 1980s when she was wondering how to move her health care clients away from toxins in their everyday products, and she heard about the effects of vitamin E when applied topically.
“Back in the early 70s, vitamin E was an extremely popular supplement known for its internal health benefits,” Miles said. “After learning that this remarkable antioxidant could be just as beneficial when applied to the skin, my friend David and I introduced the first high-potency topical vitamin E crème.”
She and business partner David Stearn started mixing up their own formulas. When they finally hit on the perfect vitamin E moisturizer, they started handing out full-size samples to retailers to help gather interest.
Their feeling was that if they could just get the retailers to try the product, “they would believe in it as much as we did,” says Stearn. The retailers responded enthusiastically, asking for more, and in 1984, Miles and Stearn started selling their topical vitamin E crème through health food stores and vitamin shops in Southern California under the brand name derma e.
“When we were promoting derma e, we weren’t just promoting a skin care product. We were promoting healthy living and the natural-products industry as a whole,” Stearn says. “We wanted the public to be aware of the alternative solutions to mainstream products, which included natural skin, hair, and body care products.
Grassroots marketing was really how the whole industry began.” Customers raved about the results, and the popularity of that first crème helped launch a company that now offers over 80 skin and body care products, from moisturizers and cleansers to exfoliating scrubs and acne treatments—all produced in small batches in California for the freshest, highest quality.
Its formulas address many different skin concerns, such as fine lines, wrinkles, loss of firmness, hyperpigmentation and dehydration. As a member of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, derma e doesn’t include toxic ingredients found in many conventional skin care products, such as hormone-disrupting parabens and phthalates.
Instead, Miles, as chief formulator for the company, seeks out truly natural ingredients that have healthy and beneficial properties, including antioxidants to fight inflammation and natural versions of anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, antiseptic, and anti-viral agents.
“These components offer a complex range of healing powers that benefit the body, restoring balance and producing healthy, beautiful skin,” Miles says.
“These benefits just can’t be recreated with synthetic ingredients that are often only able to provide a single benefit.” From the beginning, it was important to Miles to run her business in a way that contributes to a healthier environment and world, in addition to a healthier complexion.
All the formulas contain high concentrations of active natural ingredients set in bases that are 100 percent vegan, cruelty-free, gluten-free, and GMO-free. The company also uses certified organic ingredients whenever possible.
With a combination of dedication, persistence, good instincts and a core group of health-minded individuals, derma e’s innovation helped change the skin care industry. “We used our passion for nature, health, and wellness to think outside the box,” says Miles.
“We were one of the first to veer away from the mainstream mentality and seek out healthy, natural ingredients for use in skin care products.”
Miles and Stearn plan to continue revolutionizing the natural beauty industry, and they’re succeeding: In 2014, the entire derma e line received the Whole Foods Magazine Best Skin Care Products Award.
“Clinical studies and consumer trials are proving that our products are gentle, safe and effective,” says Miles. “We truly believe this will help us invalidate the myth that natural products don’t work as well as their non-natural counterparts.”