I met Melanie Lawson, founder of Bare Biology, in 2014, just as she was making tentative steps in the wellness marketplace with her innovative product.
As a child I was a bit of a tomboy, preferring jeans to skirts and climbing the trees with the boys to dolly tea parties, so as a consequence I was familiar with the inside of my local A& E and the doctors had to stitch my face and head up a few times ( nothing drastic, don’t worry, if anything I was on the first name basis with them and bombarded them with questions while they did their job, much to the amusement and relief of my parents ). Since then I have also been in the hospital to give birth to my children but touch wood, I have never needed the help of trauma or plastic surgeon and getting an opportunity to meet one was a little daunting-would he be a little too full of himself, as some surgeons are, would he be very clinical and uninterested in the questions of a journalist-all those issues were buzzing in my head as I entered QMS Medicosmetics Spa, which is located in Chelsea, just off Sloane Square.
Dr. Schulte, a serious looking but handsome silver-haired gentleman, was sitting by the window, together withthe managing director of the PR agency and his right hand woman, Valentina, answering the questions of another journalist. I heard faintly him talking about QMS facials and the journalist saying that she recently had some kind of procedure-I opened my mouth to tell her how wonderful the medical facials at this Spa actually are, but decided against it-after all, it isn’t polite to infringe on someone else’s conversation, especially as I haven’t been officially introduced to Dr. Schulte as yet ( he later gently berated me for it, saying that I should have mentioned my own experience ).
The journalist left and the introductions were made. I felt a bit nervous but after a gentle exhale, I started with asking Dr. Schulte about himself, his professional background and how he ended up developing his own skincare line.
He was born and raised in Germany and studied medicine, becoming a traumatologist, specialising in head injuries. At the time ‘there were no safety belts’, some of the injuries were very significant and required reconstructive, as well as facial surgery, which in itself is very physically demanding on the person who performs it. In order to get to the bones, the surgeon needs to cut through the skin and sometimes patients ‘made requests to have this or that done to them’ at the same time, from the aesthetic point of view, so Dr. Schulte realised that he could do that and he started performing what is called ‘cosmetic or aesthetic surgery’. Our face in particular is like our identity card and by looking at us many people make almost an instant judgment, so a surgeon carries a bit responsibility in the surgery’s final result.
While doing his University studies, Dr. Schulte was involved in scientific research into wound healing and the most important thing that came out from that research was the realisation that without collagen, there would be no wound healing. A good surgeon always tries to make sure that the wounds aren’t visible, especially if they are on the face-in as much as they can really achieve that realistically, of course. Dr Schulte also realised that if collagen is essential for wound healing, it must also be good for skin in general. However, natural collagen molecules are too big to penetrate the skin, so he developed a technique to ‘condition’ collagen, so it can penetrate deeper into the skin layers. Collagens are the most important proteins in your skin ( 67% of our skin’s proteins are collagen ), which are responsible for maintaining moisture and elasticity. So from the age of 25-30, the quality and quantity of our collagen starts to decrease and that’s why ‘you start to get the wrinkles’. What in effect QMS Medicosmetics products do is act as the ‘replacement therapy’ by increasing skin’s ability to maintain moisture, so as you age you can give your skin a more ‘youthful look’. Or as Dr. Schulte put it to me ‘of course, you can’t turn biological clock back, but you can look younger’. It’s like being short-sighted-you put glasses on, and you can see. This is effectively what we do at QMS Medicosmetics’.
Out of his daily, clinical routine Dr. Schulte developed some treatments which are custom-made for spa beauticians, so they can achieve results by using the products on clients, which normally could only be achieved by having medical grade prescription only. QMS stands for ‘quick medical skin problem solver’ and it is a system of products that, if used correctly, according to the aesthetician’sadvice, will guarantee visible results, which are both clinically proven and are absolutely safe. The products are OTC ( over the counter ) products that anyone coming into QMS Medicosmetics Spa can buy, use it at home and get the results. Dr Schulte uses only the highest quality ingredients and preserving skin’s barrier function, the most important protective shield between inside and outside. You don’t want to have a detrimental impact on this barrier by sandblasting or needling because you want to keep ‘the bad out and the good in’, as Dr. Schulte puts it. This is done via nano technology or galvanic currents or using special stem cells, when you come to the Spa for the treatments.
There are two types of cosmetics-‘passive’ like a cream that you put on the skin to maintain its quality for as long as possible or, you have what Dr. Schulte calls ‘active cosmetics’ that help to change the structure of the skin for the better.
I wanted to know how long did it take to develop the products and whether they were initially tested on his own patients. Dr. Schulte started his answer by saying that when a woman has the facelift, the quality of her skin doesn’t get changed as the final result. If your skin is dry and blood supply is compromised, you are more likely to develop secondary wound healing than when you skin is kept in its optimal condition, whatever you age. All of doctor Schulte’s patients, three months prior to the operation, had to go on a special skincare maintenance programme, which included alpha fruit acids, as well as collagens. And very quickly patients started coming back, raving about the improvement in their skin condition and asking where they could purchase those products. The truthful answer was ‘nowhere’, as Dr Schulte custom-made those products for each of his patients. The demand in ‘Microcosmos’, Dr. Schulte’s clinic was becoming too high, as word spread and friends and relatives of the patients wanted those products for themselves too. So Dr. Schulte’s wife, who is Dutch and who is a very astute business woman, suggested that he starts making those products available for purchase (first batch was launched in 1986 ). Products started selling so well, that soon a factory in Germany needed to be found in order to satisfy the demand that quickly went from the initial order for a hundred creams to a production of thousands. Currently there are 450 outlets in Germany alone, as well as in Austria, Switzerland and BeneLux countries and the brand’s current fastest growing market is South Africa.
I ask Dr Schultewhether his products are sold in Russia and China and he says that Russians for example, are very critical, yet when you convince them with your work, they become very loyal clients. He was one of the keynote speakers during Moscow’s 750th anniversary celebrations and was planning to launch his products initially in Moscow but they got confiscated by customs and he was let down by his’ technical’ translator, who, didn’t know terms like ‘a dermal layer’ for example. So as things stand at the moment Russians tend to buy the products mostly in Berlin and actually a few of the QMS Medicosmetics Spas are run by Russian personnel-there are a lot of Russian expats in the country, so not all Russians are in London .) A lot of Russians are discovering QMS Medicsometics in Cyprus, in AnassaResort and then many of them, who live in the UK, come back armed with brochures to QMS Medicosmetics Spa in London and stock up there ( most of them don’t buy just one product, but try to buy the whole line of them ).
The first products that Dr. Schulte launched were the exfoliating fluid and the collagens ( now known as the ‘classic set’ : exfoliant fluid, day collagen and night collagen ).
When I ask Dr. Schulte from what age would he recommend using his products, he says that they have products catering to different skin needs. For example, the ‘Sport Active cream’ ( I have been using it since my meeting with Dr. Schulte and have to say that it is better than any BB cream that I looked at on the market ), which gives you a hint of colour, like a tinted moisturiser, protects your skin from free-radicals, as well as offers an SPF15 sun protection. This product can be used when you are as young as 16 or 17, when you don’t require to speed up your skin’s turnover process yet might want to hide some minor imperfections when you are out and about. It is also very important to cleanse and tone your skin from your 20s, hence you can use QMS Medicosmetics Deep cleansing emulsion or Freshening tonic ( I have used both and they definitely get my seal of approval. To be honest, until I sat down to talk to Dr. Schulte I was of two minds about the toner in general-another gimmicky product, what does it really do, apart from taking extra time from your speedy skincare routine – was my way of thinking about it. But it actually helps to clear the dirt, if any gets left post-cleanse, as well as keep the pores open, to allow for deeper products penetration. You should never use soap on your face, because as Dr. Schulte says ‘it clogs your pores rather than open them’. It really is a choice-Dr. Schultecompares it to ‘going to Harrods and buying the latest flat screen but not buying the TV antenna for it-so your end up with a blurry picture’. Toner increases the blood supply, opens the pores-it’s like ‘technical health’ if you like. ‘One size fits all doesn’t go in this category’ you do need separate products-a cleanser and a toner to suit your skin type and needs.
Scrubbing-how often? Dr Schulte’s answer? ‘You can do it mechanically or you can do it smart’. His Exfoliant Fluid can be used as often as