Insights / Beautytech
”People are moving away from plastic surgery, they want micro-injury treatment instead”
On the latest innovations from the epicentre of beauty treatments
21 Sep 2022

Who are you?

— My name is Louis Chabert and I’m the senior director for global professional innovation at Dermalogica. I’m based in Los Angeles and I look at anything that is linked to innovation for the professional channel or anything that is of professional nature, so professional products, skin treatments, or services, and now professional devices. We launched our first micro-needling device, which comes with both micro- and nano-needling, in August. It’s the first time that we’re making a professional device. 

Why did you launch it? 

— Micro-needling started about thirteen years ago when we discovered what it was, and skin therapists, dermatologists, and doctors started to offer it. Since then, we’ve come a long way with micro-needling, a lot of research has been done on it, and it’s here to stay. We know the results, there are so many clinical studies that have been published about what it does and what can be done to the skin with it and we want to be able to offer those results that are linked to micro-needling. And, there is still a lot that we can innovate.

— It started with micro-needling, puncturing the skin and creating a shock that is going to trigger collagen production. Now, nano-needling, which is a gentle form of micro-needling, has been introduced and you can nano-needle acid into the skin to really resurface it. And, it’s still more that can be done. Not so much about the engineering of the device — it’s really about pushing a needle up and down — but how you engineer the cartridges, where different materials for the needles and the thickness and shape of them all create a different effect. We are launching four cartridges to give versatility and customize the treatment depending on the different skin concerns so that you can target different concerns — acne, pigmentation, clogged pores, wrinkles, or acne scars. And there’s more. For instance, with micro-needling, we’ve only thought about it as creating that shock into the skin to get the collagen production but there are new ways that have been discovered about the transdermal infusion of ingredients and therefore not having certain cartridges that are for creating the shock in the fibres but more how you can deposit ingredients into the skin to have a certain effect. That’s something that still has been quite unexplored and that we’re going to explore in the next few years which I think is very cool.

Is micro-needling the thing right now and also for the years to come, or do you see any other treatments or trends coming?

— Micro-needling is established and is here to stay, it’s going to be sort of a staple. Radio-frequency micro-needling has boomed in the U.S. and we see it being rolled out around the world, and also in new ways. So far, radiofrequency micro-needling has had to be done without anything but now you can infuse actives while you do the treatment to have a chemical transformation of the active ingredient. Something that is also new is how to pair certain things. We now see that you have lasers and IPL that can be merged together where you do laser before and IPL after thanks to certain devices, in order to have more results on hyperpigmentation that you were not able to get before. And then there’s fibroblast skin tightening, that uses a Plasma Pen, which has had some controversy, just like with everything that is new. But what happens with fibroblast skin tightening is that you are able to address concerns that nothing else can address. Take ’creepy skin’, or an eyelid that is falling because of gravity — there’s nothing that works on these except for plastic surgery. And people are moving away from plastic surgery, they want micro-injury treatment instead. And I think we’ll see it (Plasma Pen technology, Ed’s note) rise in the future as it organises itself and people understand that there are certain ways to do it right and safely.

Dermalogica’s new Pro Restore booster aims to accelerate wound healing after microinjury procedures.

And, being based in L.A., how come it’s such a ’catalysator’ within beauty and beauty treatments?

— It all comes from the entertainment industry and it’s linked to singers and actors. I have a friend who used to be based in L.A. and had to move to New York for family reasons. What she does is that she prepares actors before a shoot. She has like three, or four months to get the skin in the best state ever and such things push the boundaries because you gotta get somebody ready very quickly. And, because of the entertainment industry, you have a lot of doctors who are also pushing the boundaries, who have a larger scope of practice than anybody else, and who can experiment. And when you have those ’gray’ areas — which I call ’rooms for innovation’ — where things sometimes fail but you also discover great things, it becomes like a gigantic test tube for new things to come out. And also, there is this aspect of people in California being progressive, don’t judge but celebrate whoever you are and whatever you want to be. Body positivity comes from Los Angeles, gender-fluidity as well, and all of these conditions just mean that people are looking for new things, says Chabert. He adds:

— Where I think we’re going and what we start to hear in L.A. in certain circles of people is: ’What am I gonna do next? What do I want to change next?’ We’re going to see more and more people being ’playful’ with treatments. I know that, for some of us, it’s scary to imagine this but with social media and everything, it’s going to be accelerated.

And, working with innovation in skincare, what is it like these days?

— Skin right now is so abundant. There are so many things that have been discovered, that are being discovered, and that are being done, so it’s so easy. When you look at makeup, what are you going to innovate in makeup? There’s very little innovation that you can have there, on the formulas. Of course, you can have artistry and different shades but that is more of a trend basis. With skin, it’s changing, the face is changing and we see innovations that are coming out on a regular basis. I’ll give you an example, everybody is launching Sculptra in the U.S., which is a filler, that uses poly-L-lactic acid. You inject this into the dermis and it’s going to trigger more collagen production over time. It’s expensive, of course, but that’s what everybody is doing. So, now, when you look at Sculptra and what it’s doing, you think: ’Can we take some of these molecules, can we look at the viscosity of what is being injected? And can we apply this to something else?’ We just see this and if we can bring it into a different world, or in a different scope of practice, which is not just for the doctors but if we can offer it to aestheticians in a safe way. So yes, there are so many things — it’s endless.

Any other things you see?

— What is very interesting is to see the different levels of adoption of certain things in different countries. You see the markets or countries like France, and Japan, which are very, very conservative in their approach to new skin innovations, procedures, or products. And then, you see the ones that throw themselves into it, like the Americans. I think the Scandinavians are very forward-thinking as well. And, in Israel, where I was a few weeks ago, it’s the same. They’re like: ’Let’s just go for it, the harder the better!’ So, different places in the world just adopt things at a different pace, which I find very interesting.

Louis Chabert.