To say that our beauty routines have undergone some major changes this year would be an understatement. Lipstick sales have drastically dropped, eye makeup sales soared by up to 204 percent (#maskmakeup is a thing), and skincare has taken front and center stage thanks to the focus on at-home self-care routines.
But we’re not talking any old skincare, as there’s one category that has garnered more attention and demand in the last nine months: doctor-backed beauty brands. It’s a no-brainer, really. With clinic closures and reduced access to professional treatments, savvy skincare shoppers want products that deliver tangible results and are backed by names they can trust.
“Doctor brands such as 111Skin, Dr. Barbara Sturm, and Dr. Sebagh have been trending amongst NET-A-PORTER customers this year,” NAP’s Global Beauty Director, Newby Hands, explains to Savoir Flair. “We believe this increase in demand is due to the fact that the doctors behind these brands are super connected to what women really want and so the products they create answer these primary concerns. As they see patients every day, they are incredibly aware of what they are looking for in a product and ensuring the needs of the patients are met. They are trusted and have credibility due to being doctors.”
Dr. Maryam Zamani, creator of MZ Skin agrees, telling us, “I think that we are becoming more educated about ingredients and seeking brands that ring true to our ethos. [Women want] scientifically backed, clinically trialed, intelligent skincare that delivers results”.
“For the past five years, “clean” beauty has been in vogue. An unregulated word in beauty, consumers enjoyed embracing “clean” or “natural”, believing the fear-marketing that category has spouted about synthetic ingredients and preservatives. However, since the arrival of COVID-19 and subsequent use of anti-bacterial hand gels, customers have recognized the benefits – and in many cases, necessity – of safety, shelf life, and stability in their product,” explains Dr. Yannis Alexandrides, co-founder of 111Skin. “Words like ‘anti-bacterial’, ‘anti-fungal’, and ‘anti-microbial’ have become attractive again. This heightened interest in clinical skincare stems from a renewed trust in doctors post-COVID.”
Whether you’re an avid believer in doctor-backed beauty brands or are seeking to update your skincare arsenal with professional-grade formulas found in the world’s leading clinics, these 13 names should be top of your list.
Dr. Barbara Sturm
Dr. Barbara Sturm needs no introduction, but just in case you’ve been living under a rock, she’s pretty much the reason why celebs look so good (Hailey Bieber and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley included). Her medi-luxe skincare brand is revolutionizing the way we look at aging thanks to her anti-inflammatory approach. “My whole line is based on anti-inflammation because that’s what makes your skin break out, get irritated, age, form wrinkles – everything! So, by taking out inflammation, you heal the skin,” she explained in an interview with Savoir Flair.
Formerly a doctor in orthopedics, Sturm learned that by removing inflammation from the joints, they stopped aging. Transferring this knowledge to skincare, she created groundbreaking formulas and products that use the power of molecular cosmetics to heal skin and stop aging in its tracks, all without toxic, irritating, or damaging ingredients. Hey, if they’re good enough for Kate Moss, they’re good enough for us.
Rising to fame in 2007 after developing a breakthrough hydrogel to eliminate the need for skin grafts in burn patients, Dr. Augustinus Bader is one of the world’s leading specialists in regenerative medicine. A stem-cell pioneer who holds over 200 patents, his luxury skincare line is a firm A-lister favorite, with the likes of Victoria Beckham, Kate Bosworth, and Naomi Campbell swearing by its transformative powers.
It all started with two creams inspired by Bader’s revolutionary hydrogel formula. Containing a complex of vitamins, amino acids, and compounds that mimic those found in the skin, they treat everything from fine lines and dryness to redness and acne – boosting skin’s health and natural defenses whilst stimulating existing stem cells. Now, there’s everything from a cleansing balm, face oil, essence, and body-boosting cream to transform your skin from top to toe.
There aren’t many brands whose products are formulated by one of the world’s top plastic surgeons and a team of leading space scientists, but 111Skin can boast that its products are. After using a pure-collagen sponge soaked in NAC under a patient’s skin to speed up healing, Dr. Alexandrides saw incredible results, leading him to develop the brand’s patented ‘NAC Y2’ ingredient for clients to use at home. But this special serum did so much more than aiding skin recovery. Thanks to its trio of actives with superior antioxidant capabilities, patients noticed younger, plumper, smoother skin. It wasn’t long before Harrods cottoned on, and soon 111Skin became one of the department store’s best-selling brands.
Fast forward to today and you’ll find 111Skin in leading luxury stores around the world, as well as gracing the faces of every supermodel and celebrity out there – Bella Hadid, Margot Robbie, and Olivia Palermo included. Famed for its incredible sheet masks, creams infused with diamonds, and cryotherapy-inspired serums, you can reap the rewards of Dr. Alexandrides’s expertise without joining the never-ending waiting list for his 111 Harley Street clinic.
Back in 1989, Dr. Howard Murad‘s beauty brand was born. Shaking up the beauty scene with his treatment-based products that addressed specific concerns — including pigmentation, wrinkles, and acne — he paved the way for a new era of skincare that combined clinically backed formulas with scientific technologies. Combining medical expertise with wellness practices, he was also the first person to introduce “internal skincare” to the world with the launch of cell-protecting supplements in 1995.
Now, over 30 years later, Dr. Murad’s “When you’re healthy, you’re beautiful” approach has transformed the skin of over 50,000 people. “I believe that the skin is the window to our entire body. It reflects what’s going on inside our mind, body, and soul,” he revealed in an interview with Savoir Flair. That’s why his products are packed with key ingredients such as retinol, vitamin C, AHAs, and glycolic acid to tackle specific concerns and address overall skin health from the inside out.
Don’t let these pretty products fool you into thinking they’re just fluff-filled potions to boost your #shelfie, because lurking inside each beautiful bottle are top-notch formulas created by leading oculoplastic surgeon and aesthetic doctor, Iranian-born Dr. Zamani. “I created MZ Skin because I saw a genuine need for high-performance skincare rooted in medical science coupled with women’s desires and a beautiful sensory experience”, she explains. “I’ve selected pioneering, anti-aging ingredients and created formulations that are clinically-proven to provide an easy-to-understand skincare method that delivers visible results.”
Zamani’s “less is more approach” shuns endless steps and unnecessary products and instead focuses on a simple but effective daily routine that’s realistic, manageable, and actually works. With an emphasis on proven actives and optimum levels of potency, each product has been specifically formulated to mimic the effects of her professional treatments with the added bonus of no unnecessary nasties – parabens, sulfates, silicone, and mineral oils included.
Dr. Dennis Gross
Dr. Dennis Gross’s eponymous skincare brand was inspired by the concerns of his patients – bringing professional, high concentration formulas and state-of-the-art technology together with gentle but powerful ingredients. “I evaluate scientific data to find the most effective ingredients. Every formulation is unique,” he explains. “My goal is to use cutting-edge technology in all of my products and to provide patients and consumers innovative skincare options that offer visible results. You may not be able to visit a dermatologist every day, but you can use the same formulas I use in my practice.”
With over 25 experience in the game, he was one of the first to create LED masks for consumers and to offer an at-home medical-grade chemical peel – his iconic ‘Alpha Beta Universal Daily Peel’. Harnessing the powers of not one, not two, but five hydroxy acids, it works to gently dissolve dull, dead cells, in turn reducing the appearance of pores, pigmentation, fine lines, and wrinkles. Can you say glow getter?
“When I started my career as a facial plastic surgeon 30 years ago, it was my dream to make ‘Aging-Maintenance’ a possibility for people of all ages,” reveals one of the world’s leading cosmetic doctors, Dr. Jean-Louis Sebagh. “Thanks to the introduction of pioneering medical cosmetic procedures and the amazing advances in product development I am proud to have been a part of, my vision has become a reality.”
In his 30-plus years in the business, Dr. Sebagh has treated the faces of countless supermodels, celebrities, and VIPS, who swear by his breakthrough age-maintenance treatments. A pioneer in the use of Botox, fillers, and vitamin injections, his aim has always been to preserve youth and enhance skin without the need for invasive surgery. That’s why his aging-focused skincare is all about supporting and strengthening the skin’s cellular rejuvenation process and includes everything from hyaluronic acid-rich serums and firming eye creams to a neck-lift in a jar.
Where plant-based skincare meets medical expertise, Goldfaden MD was one of the first doctor brands to blend natural botanicals with cutting-edge science. Using his 40 years of experience and knowledge as a leading dermatologist, Dr. Gary Goldfaden combined his love of skincare with wellness and health to create innovative, technologically-advanced skincare solutions that even those with the most sensitive of skins could use.
Shunning harsh irritants that can clog pores, wreak havoc on cells, and cause congestion and dryness, Goldfaden kept things “clean”, vegetarian, and cruelty-free – focusing on natural, organic ingredients with proven results. His first-ever product (now a cult must-have), the ‘Doctor’s Scrub’, blends micro-fine ruby crystals with seaweed and organic red tea extract to soothe, hydrate, and gently slough away dead cells, without the irritation often caused by scrubs. There’s now a body-buffer version too, as well as a whole line of skin-loving products.
Not only does Dr. Harold Lancer boast an active clientele of over 30,000 patients, but he’s also the man behind the flawless faces of countless celebs – Kim Kardashian West, JLo, and Beyoncé included. Among his many credentials are a multi award-winning skincare line, a book on anti-aging, and a top-notch dermatology practice in Beverly Hills (of course). He became fascinated with skin after suffering from severe burns on over 10 percent of his body as a child. His mom’s homemade remedies and care of his doctor aided his recovery, and the rest was history.
“While the recovery process was painful and tedious, I became fascinated by how skin heals, ages, and differs among people,” he reveals to Savoir Flair. “This experience greatly influenced my belief in restoration instead of alteration as the most effective way to obtain beautiful skin. After more than 30 years in practice, my fascination still holds – I continue on my quest to find new ways to repair complexion imperfections.” His “method” is simple – cleanse, exfoliate, and nourish (using his whizzy products, of course), to get skin as youthful and radiant as his A-list clients.
Dr. David Jack
Inspired by science, sustainability, and nature, Dr. David Jack’s concept focuses on “integrative beauty” that combines supplements and products to support skin both inside and out. “With my skincare line, I wanted to create a simple and effective range utilizing the very best curated, evidence-based active ingredients, and also products to optimize skin health from the inside out,” Dr. Jack – a renowned London-based aesthetic doctor – reveals.
After establishing his acclaimed clinic on London’s prestigious Harley Street, it wasn’t long before Dr. Jack’s clients begged him to create beautifying products they could use between treatments. Seeking to offer more than just topical solutions, he created supplements to work from within, complementing his astonishingly effective routine consisting of a morning serum, lightweight day cream, and richer nighttime treatment. He then added a series of color-based at-home peels to target more specific concerns.
The man to bring bioengineering to beauty, Dr. Gregory Bays Brown – a Harvard-trained reconstructive and plastic surgeon – dedicated much of his career working with burn victims and developing ways to accelerate the healing of damaged skin. This led to his groundbreaking idea of applying Nobel Prize-winning science to skincare. Using a bio-engineered Epidermal Growth Factor molecule to radically improve healing, he discovered its dramatic anti-aging effects and ability to increase skin renewal. In 1994, he was awarded a patent for ‘EGF’ as an anti-aging skincare ingredient, and so RéVive was born.
Following the sell-out success of his debut ‘Moisturizing Renewal Cream’ in 1997, there’s now a full skincare line formulated with his cutting-edge Bio-Renewal technology – super-charged serums, glow-inducing oils, firming body creams, and purifying masks included.
Dr. Levy Switzerland
If you haven’t heard of Dr. Levy Switzerland skincare, you’re seriously missing out. The Swiss medi-luxe brand uses cutting-edge technology and a cocktail of high-tech ingredients to turn back time and make you look younger than ever. No, really. They actually reverse signs of aging by boosting stem cells’ activity to create essential collagen responsible for making skin smoother, strong, and firmer. How? By being the only products in the world to utilize ‘ArganCDV’ – an ingredient developed by Dr. Phillip Levy that activates deep down inside skin stem cells.
Clinically proven to show visible results in just eight weeks, Dr. Levy’s line is the next best thing to stepping inside a time machine. Try the ‘R3 Cell Matrix Mask’ – loaded with vitamins and antioxidants – to reinforce dermal stem cells and fibroblasts and boost glow, plumpness, and brightness, the ‘Radical3 Reboot Pro Peel’ to revive dull complexions with a clever exfoliating cocktail of acids, or the ‘Booster Cream’ to maintain skin’s optimum moisture levels, day or night.
Only Dr. Erno Laszlo can say he treated Hollywood starlets such as Audrey Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe, and Jackie O, with Hepburn going so far as to say “I owe 50% of my beauty to my mother, and the other 50% to Erno Laszlo.” If that wasn’t impressive enough, he single-handedly cured Princess Stephanie of Hungary’s acne way back in 1925, was the first person to develop products for acne-prone skin, and his namesake skincare brand is as in-demand now as it was over 93 years ago.
A master of medicine who pioneered innovative formulations and products, Laszlo is the man behind the modern-day “ritual” (a.k.a. skincare routine) as we know it, prescribing cleansing oils and bars to his clients decades ahead of the modern “double cleanse” concept. In 2016, this heritage cleaning duo was reinvented whilst remaining true to Laszlo’s legacy, and there’s now a whole line of skincare products we can safely say the man himself would be proud of.