- + CEO Q&A
Q&AWith Sanítas CEO Lisa Crary
Lisa Crary has been shepherding this popular Colorado brand for just three years—but in that time has become an expert in the skin care field and Sanitas’ unique philosophies. Here she tells us more about the brand, their culture and their long-standing partnership with Pharmaca.
What drew you to Sanitas?
When I was first approached to assume the leadership role in 2013, I had never tried the product; I was then encouraged to use the product for a week. After three days, I was hooked! That product was our Topical C, and I still use it every night—it’s my favorite product in the line.
How do you go about formulating new products? What is the testing process like for new formulations?
We have a very well rounded R&D team that consists of chemists, a biologist, a master herbalist, a master fragrancer and a toxicologist. We are constantly researching new and cutting-edge ingredients, both abroad and domestically. I work very closely with our R&D team when deciding which products to take to market.
When formulating new products, the human body is our inspiration: We select ingredients that let the skin change itself—essentially biogenic ingredients or ingredients that are already found in the body.
All of our new product formulations are guided by five important components:
- The selection of active ingredients based on the targeted outcome
- The selection of the most effective delivery system for the active ingredients
- The establishment of a strategic pH level to help facilitate delivery
- The determination of the site of action or target tissue
- The selection of the appropriate time-release mechanism of the active ingredients
So essentially, our overall strategy is to synergistically pair time-tested, biogenic, active ingredients at clinical doses, with the proper delivery system so they can be directed to the sites of action in the body where they can be most effective.
Our products undergo a very rigorous testing process. Each and every product is tested first and foremost on me (!) and is then sent to our internal testing team. If the product meets with approval and the results are as expected, we then send it out for broader consumer testing.
Once we have arrived at a final formulation, it is then subjected to numerous outside testing processes including packaging stability, preservation efficacy testing, HRIPT testing (to ensure no allergic reactions) and testing for any possible contaminants. It is usually at least a year-long process to take a product to market. We do not test on animals.
Tell us about your unique exercise/rest skin care philosophy.
The skin is a dynamic organ that continues to change over time. We really believe that the creation and maintenance of healthy skin is a continuous process, and in order to achieve this, the skin must also continue to be challenged to evolve and grow stronger.
We designed the Sanitas line to effect this by employing a strategy of stimulating, or exercising, the skin one day with our active products such as our glycolic solutions, but then giving it a day off of using actives to allow it to rest and grow stronger. We don’t believe in overstimulating the skin, which can lead to irritation.
The practice of lifting weights is the analogy we like to use. If you lift weights every day with the same muscle group, the muscle doesn’t have time to enter the resting and healing phase to grow and get stronger—it just gets sore and irritated. Skin is exactly the same—the more you exercise and rest your skin, the stronger and healthier it will get.
But we don’t stop there. The Sanitas line is designed to provide progressively active products to continue to challenge the skin as it grows stronger over time—kind of like being able to lift heavier weights as your muscles get stronger.
How does Sanitas give back to the community?
Giving back is very important to me and the entire Sanitas team. We developed a Corporate Responsibility Program and formed an internal committee to enable us to be creative and effective in our efforts to make a difference within our community.
First, we allow our employees paid time off every quarter to give time to the charity of their choice. Second, we choose several non-profits each year and volunteer there as a team. Third, we financially support numerous organizations, primarily ones that work with women, children and the underserved. Finally, we are implementing a program to enable us to employ young, at-risk women in an effort to hopefully inspire them and help them find a path to a brighter future.
Sanitas products are found mostly in spas—what drew you to Pharmaca as a retail distributor?
Pharmaca is our neighbor in Boulder, Colorado—and was one of our first customers! We are very proud of the fact that we were one of the initial skin care lines selected to be retailed in the very first Pharmaca location. Although the Sanitas line contains some very active products, which is why we are mainly sold through spas and medical offices, the knowledge and commitment of the Pharmaca staff to understand how the Sanitas line works and how to best serve the customer has made it very easy for us to partner.
I continue to be amazed at the growth Pharmaca has experienced over the last decade—I kind of feel like we grew up together!