Q&A with Alchimie Forever CEO Ada Polla

Born in Switzerland and with a focus on clinical healing, Alchimie Forever offers a results-focused line that gently helps cleanse and nourish even themost sensitive skin. To learn more about the line, we spoke with Alchimie’s CEO Ada Polla.

Can you give us a quick snapshot of how Alchimie got its start?

My father, Dr. Luigi L. Polla, was the first physician to offer laser technology in Europe. That technology was initially focused on the treatment of port wine stains and hemangiomas in children. These treatments created heat, swelling, redness and pain in the skin—and my father could not find the right treatment to heal the skin afterward.

He worked with a pharmacist friend of his to create a calming, soothing, anti-redness mask (now our best-selling Kantic Brightening Moisture Mask). He asked his patients’ parents to use it on their child’s skin in the days following the treatment. A few of the moms, to get the kids to comply, used the mask on themselves, and then asked for more the next time they went to visit my father for their child’s treatment. And the rest, as they say, is history!

What are your favorite Alchimie ingredients and products?
That’s like asking a mother who her favorite child is—the hardest question of all!

I love all of our ingredients. We identify our ingredients by answering two questions: “Is this safe for the skin?” and “Will this make a positive difference?” If both answers are yes, we consider it for our products. We really focus on efficacy and safety—so we use the best, safest and most effective botanicals, as well as the best, safest and most effective lab-made molecules. These range from grapeseed extract and resveratrol to retinol.

In terms of products, my favorites for winter weather are our Advanced Retinol Serum (for anyone in the 40s or above looking to see a significant reduction in wrinkles), our Kantic Brightening Moisture Mask (an antidote to dry, dull, winter skin), our Gentle Refining Scrub (effective and nourishing at the same time), and our Dry Skin Balm (a savior for dry hands—and the natural pain-alleviating properties are amazing on feet, elbows and knees).

What is your formulation process like? How do you set about finding new ingredients to incorporate?
My father is the leading dermatologist in Switzerland and is the brains behind our formulations. He identifies needs and ingredients

and leads our new product development. We work with three different labs (in Switzerland and in the US) to formulate our products. All prototypes are tested on a group of patients in our Swiss medical spa (never on animals)—which includes very sensitive and sensitized skin types—before making it to the marketplace.

Do you have any corporate social responsibility or sustainability initiatives?
We are constantly working to minimize our carbon footprint and do better by our planet. These initiatives range from our corporate practices (for example,no single-use water bottles in the office) to our packaging (switching from plastic to sugarcane plastic) to our raw materials vendor partnerships and expectations. We also of course take this into account in our ingredient strategy (for example no plastic micro-beads in our scrub, and no ingredients harmful to oceans or reefs in our SPF product.)

Finally, why did you choose to partner with Pharmaca?
We have always thought of health and wellness and beauty as being one. From our origins in a medical dermatology office to our tag line “self-care through skin care,” our heritage is steeped in the belief that wellness and beauty are two sides of the same coin and must go hand in hand. Indeed, your skin is a representation of your overall health. This is why our European distribution strategy focuses on pharmacies, and why a partnership with Pharmaca made so much sense!