Doctor creates skincare line, online clinic for maskne, skin concerns amid pandemic

Anna Gabrielle Cerezo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 06 2021 11:30 AM | Updated as of Feb 06 2021 11:38 AM

Doctor creates skincare line, online clinic for maskne, skin concerns amid pandemic 1
Dr. Vanessa Marie Z. Oliveros has been practicing aesthetic medicine for nearly half a decade. Handout

MANILA -- Experiencing breakouts reminiscent of your hormonal teenage years? You are not alone. When the new coronavirus broke out, so did our acne. 

Stubborn pimple flare-ups caused by elevated stress levels, protective masks, and upended lifestyle routines, emerged as a common dilemma people struggled with throughout the pandemic. 

But with most aesthetics services halted to stem the rapid spread of COVID-19, Filipinos were forced to grapple with the skin woes on their own.

This prompted cosmetic dermatologist Vanessa Marie Z. Oliveros, whose clinics likewise ceased operations during the stringent lockdown, to bring her practice to the digital landscape. 

“I created VMZ Skincare to promote online consultations with products that can be bought after, just like in the regular clinics but on an online platform,” she said. 

“When I started, a lot of my patients were using rejuvenating sets that were causing more harm than good and also a lot of people were experiencing irritations from masks, and breakouts from stress,” she recalled.

Olivares noted the brand’s “holistic approach” to skincare aims to make the biggest organ in the body “healthy from inside and out.”

“Our doctors give the best possible care, from choosing the right products for you, addressing your main concerns, treating problematic skin issues and giving you skin care tips with a medical basis,” she said.

The virtual clinic's fees start at P350 for check-ups conducted via chat (Viber, Messenger or Whatsapp) and P500 for those done over video. Both mediums include follow-up sessions.

“I check the improvement and, of course, give continued patient care like how we usually do it at work,” Oliveros explained. 

Doctor creates skincare line, online clinic for maskne, skin concerns amid pandemic 2
The brand's best-selling calm serum is suitable for all skin types. It soothes irritations, brightens dull skin and regulates oil production. Handout

Meanwhile, the products administered by the cosmetic dermatologist, which are a mix of medicated and organic ingredients, ranges from P175 to P599 each.

“I treat patients and create a set of products based on my training and experience… I tested them on myself for months before I launched them on social media,” she said.

Oliveros, who was especially hands-on in the formulation of the skincare line, said she purposely lowered the price point to break the stigma that “derma products are expensive.” 

“I realized a need for affordable medical skincare in the market since the majority of my patients are the working class. The ones often administered like EPIDUO, benzac, adapalene, retin-A, go for P1,000 to P2,000 and some people can’t afford it,” she reasoned. 

Affordable, however, Oliveros stressed, does not mean cheap. According to the aesthetician, while VMZ Skincare comes with a budget-friendly price tag, it is powered by the foremost advances in science and is thoroughly curated by medical professionals.

“I came up with the formula based on research papers from derma societies and associations, which I closely coordinated with a chemist from the manufacturer. There really is research behind the effectiveness of the ingredients. I don’t jump on trends especially on skincare” the business owner shared.

She went on: “All our manufacturers are also only for derma clinics, meaning they cater only to doctors and they are all FDA approved.” 

The brand’s soaps, serums, and creams may be purchased without consultation. But given there is no one-size fits all for skincare routines and to avoid exacerbation and adverse reactions, Oliveros urged consumers to make an appointment first.

Doctor creates skincare line, online clinic for maskne, skin concerns amid pandemic 3
CC cream infused with SPF as well as UVA and UVB protection. Handout

“For majority of normal skin types, consultation is not necessary. But I do advise to talk to a doctor when using high concentrations of acids, treating recurrent acne, or any skin diseases such as allergies,” she suggested. 

She continued: “I also noticed that people buy products based solely on reviews and they don’t understand their unique skin type and what they can benefit from the products so I wanted a skincare line with doctors that are readily available for consultation.” 

To keep the nation’s economy afloat, authorities have permitted most businesses to resume operations at a reduced capacity — including aesthetics and dermatology establishments.

“The pandemic is far from over, we should continue to practice social distancing, stay at home as much as you can, wear masks and face shields, sanitize and wash your hands often. Protect yourself and your loved ones,” she urged. “You can address all your skin problems right at the comfort of your home. ”

But as convenient telemedicine is at a time a potentially deadly virus is widely wreaking havoc, the beauty entrepreneur admitted the digital set-up has its limitations.

“Even though they are effective, they are not as fast as what we have at the physical clinics because most of my products do not have peeling and have a lower percentage to make sure they will not cause too much irritation or side effects,” the cosmetic dermatologist confessed.

She continued: “Unlike in the clinic where we can easily manage side effects. It is also harder to manage the expectations of the patients on products.”

Nevertheless, good skin will come to those who wait.

“So far only 2-3 had a reaction or were not able to control their acne; the rest was successful at managing it,” Oliveros said.

“I made the products simple with one to three main ingredients to make the regimen targeted as possible in addressing specific skin issues depending on your skin type, age and lifestyle.. Everything we prescribe is evidence-based.”

The gaps Olivares found in skin care services, however, were not isolated to the fallout of the global pandemic.

“I got a lot of patients that are mostly from the province and they don’t have clinics nearby…. So many are suffering from maskne and acne from hormonal causes. I get patients that have tried so many products and they feel like giving up already,” she recalled

“There really is a need for online consultations and more affordable products,” the doctor emphasized.

The online clinic’s patient care also stretches beyond their products and business hours. 

“I aim for social media to be informative and educational,” she said. “[For example,] I share the major causes of acne and how we can help the body to regulate hormones and change the lifestyle for healthier skin”

VMZ Skincare also publishes illuminating content tackling other factors that can cause skin issues, how to better understand one's skin and various ways how individuals can take care of the body physically and mentally.

For more information, visit their Facebook and Instagram pages.

Related video:

Watch more on iWantTFC