Even before the pandemic arrived, skincare had become a booming industry. Good skin became synonymous with ultimate luxury, and women and men alike went through great lengths to achieve it. Then the pandemic descended on the world, and people, now locked in their homes, stopped all of their regular beauty routines except for one. Skincare ramped up, becoming the largest business within beauty. It now represents 30 percent of the global market, according to McKinsey & Company, with prestige products in particular spiking up 38 percent for online retail (according to data analyst The NPD Group). The industry raced to keep up with demand, which is why it seems like there’s a new skincare brand launching every day. There practically is.
Yet, many are left unsatisfied by the realm of skincare, as results can be slow to arrive (or sometimes never do). Others are pressured into buying things they don’t need because they go viral on TikTok or Instagram, while still more are duped by user reviews, which are easily manipulated by the marketplace. As a solution, the skincare-obsessed have turned to trusted sources, often shelling out a pretty penny for real, results-driven products backed by solid names that start with Dr. or end in MD. With experience, knowledge, and testing, doctor-backed brands is the realm where the Holy Grail of skincare lies.
Take Augustinus Bader as a prime example. From out of nowhere, the brand was suddenly everywhere, heralded by celebrities and experts alike as a truly effective method for healing and hydrating skin. You get past the sticker shock really quickly when something is proven to work, especially if it isn’t just topically (and temporarily) treating a skin issue but is actually teaching the skin to repair itself. That’s exactly what Augustinus Bader’s patented formula “Trigger-Factor Complex 8®” or TFC8® does. But, how does it work exactly?
For answers as to why this brand so quickly reached cult status, we turned to Professor Augustinus Bader himself. As one of the world’s leading experts in regenerative medicine and tissue engineering, Professor Bader never actually intended to get into skincare. Years ago, he developed a remarkable wound gel for burn patients, using his knowledge of stem cell communication. But pharmaceutical companies weren’t interested. From there, his journey took a surprising turn. To discover Professor Bader’s story and learn about why Augustinus Bader products (available at Harvey Nichols in the Middle East) are one of the absolute best investments you can make for your skin, read on.
Is it safe to say your journey in disrupting the beauty industry began in 2008 with the wound gel you developed? At what point did you think, this could be created into formulas for skincare?
Creating a consumer skincare product wasn’t something I had previously considered. My work has always been in the field of medical research as a physician and professor. Years ago, I developed a medical-grade hydrogel that could provide more rapid and more scar-free healing for severe burns, but I could not find a pharmaceutical company as interested as myself in this topic at the time.
During this time, I met Charles Rosier, my partner in this enterprise, who had the vision to apply the technology to consumer skincare products to help raise awareness and, ultimately, funding for my medical research to be able one day to help burned children. He thought if I could develop a technology that could turn burned skin into perfect skin, I could create innovative skincare to help with wrinkles. After two years of Charles’s perseverance, I finally understood this potential to apply my knowledge of intrinsic stem cell communication needs to develop a skincare-approved product.
The skincare line shares the same self-repair principles as that of the medical iteration, however, the formulas ended up being completely different. This is because application on intact skin (as opposed to open wounds) for reasons of accessibility requires an entirely different set of components to navigate the body’s natural repair code effectively.
The non-medical technology variant (TFC8) used for our skincare product is actually the most scientifically complex. It has to navigate the body’s natural healing code differently as there isn’t an open wound and also no need for direct stimulation. The research and development took over 18 months. Yet, I ultimately found a solution to provide a similar self-healing reaction through a complex cocktail of high-grade vitamins, amino acids, and compounds.
The skin’s beauty and elasticity are important external signs that everyone can see, but ultimately, these products have a purpose; they fund the scientific research and clinical development of medical treatments for the regeneration of the skin in burns and severe skin wounds.
You do not come from the beauty industry, but I think that gives you an advantage. Your products are developed with clear integrity and rigorous testing, and with a purpose to develop further scientific research. What challenges have you faced along the way in breaking into the beauty industry?
My approach to skincare focuses primarily on respecting, first and foremost, human skin physiology and skin health. Our skincare products are not a temporary fix. Whereas some moisturizers simply do their job for the day in hand, this one works to train skin in the long term. Investing in a skincare routine that supports the body in its renewal process is investing in your skin’s overall health.
Your products work by triggering the skin to repair itself. How does this mechanism work? What is in the trigger factor complex? Does it work universally for everyone the same way?
Our skincare technology moves in the field of epigenetics – in other words, it works with the skin’s own intrinsic repair needs by delivering various active ingredients that control and influence the skin cells in a targeted manner. This combination of active ingredients is what makes up our proprietary “Trigger-Factor Complex 8®” or TFC8®. This particular complex contains building blocks of amino acids, vitamins, and synthesized molecules in an exact concentration and combination of that found naturally in healthy young skin. TFC8® functions like a GPS by utilizing a novel transporting mechanism (made up of ceramide structures). Its purpose is to navigate and deliver a complex of nutrient compounds to a specific location in the cellular microenvironment. In short, the formula naturally supports the skin to undergo a healthy remodeling process. When you’re able to do that, you can influence epigenetic factors that enable the body to fix your skin according to your own needs. This is one of the reasons our products are so effective.
Are you perpetually tweaking the formula?
Yes, we adjust the formulations to suit different skin areas and continue to fine-tune our products to make them even more responsive to individual needs from a skin protection and care point of view. TFC8® technology can address many skin concerns, so we have plans to develop more new product variations based on our protection and care concepts by physiologic means.
There seems to be evidence that indicates that the more you do to your skin, the more you could actually be damaging it — or impacting the “acid mantle”? Is this true?
Skincare is a most individual process, looking at the different individual needs of the skin depending on various points, such as age, lifestyle, nutritional factors, season, hormonal aspects, etc. Following the mainstream is, most of the time, a misleading way. It is essential to look after the skin from a personal perspective and support its primary function, namely, to protect. To protect the skin itself has multiple possibilities inbuilt, such as the acid mantle, among others. Therefore, to avoid damage, skincare’s main target should be to support the skin in its own ability to protect, regenerate, and heal. Part of a daily routine should be a proper cleansing twice a day, gentle support of the skin renewing process, and a moisturizer according to the needs, either focusing on hydration or a combined product that builds up the lipid barrier of the skin.
It seems that with a science-backed formulation and a professor of applied stem cell biology and cell technology behind the research, that this is a miracle in a bottle. Is there any skin type or condition that your products are not recommended for?
Since our skincare gives the most individual answer to each and everybody’s skin needs at the right moment of time, a limitation for its usage is very rare. As our skincare contains among the best ingredients with the highest quality in the market surrounding the main active ingredient, the TFC8®, the acceptance of mostly all skin types is guaranteed. However, one ingredient needs to be watched when pregnant or breastfeeding as per recommendation (White Peony), but other than that, there are no restrictions. If there are any medical or dermatological issues, we always recommend consulting your MD first.