Interview – Dr LEVY
Harvard graduate and Managing Director of pioneering aesthetic dermatology brand Dr LEVY Switzerland, Julien Levy talks to Aviator about his father?s inspiring journey in becoming the number one Botox doctor in Switzerland whilst creating a brand that not only has become a household name with the rich and famous, but one that is leading the way in cosmetic stem cell research.
Please could you tell me a little about yourself and your background with Dr LEVY?
Dr. LEVY Switzerland is a family run business, with three main partners: my father, Dr. Phillip Levy, my sister Raphaëlle who is our Creative Director, and myself. I have been working with the brand for three years after leaving Procter & Gamble, where I had been working for seven years in Marketing. Both my personal and professional experience has been quite international and fascinatingly broad.
On a professional level, at P&G, after two years leading the development of new innovations for Always Western Europe, I moved to Dolce & Gabbana, the company?s largest fragrance brand, first leading the marketing on a global level, before becoming the global Commercial Leader for the newly launched cosmetics division.
Before joining P&G, I spent four years at Harvard University, where I earned a degree in Economics and, most specifically, the Economics of Development. I still remember these years as probably the most intense and fascinating years of my life, both in terms of all that I have learnt and of the amazing people I have met.
If I have to highlight one product within our line-up, I would undoubtedly choose our Booster Serum.
Could you explain the journey that your father and the Dr. LEVY Switzerland brand have been on?
The first products from the brand were launched in early 2012, after many years of fundamental research and formula development. We can trace the roots of the brand back to 1995 when my father, in addition to being the first to use Botox® in Switzerland, was also the first to treat patients with CO2 laser-resurfacing. Very quickly, his visionary spirit and entrepreneurial curiosity kicked in, as he saw gaps in the treatment protocols and aftercare process.
As an important side note, it is important to understand here that my father has always loved, in parallel to his clinic, researching and participating in the latest medical discoveries or technological advances. As early as his university years, he was involved in various cutting-edge research projects, including ground-breaking discoveries on Bretylium, an emergency medication against heart attacks.
In the 90s, my father started investigating the nascent aesthetic dermatology world, which was then very small and existed almost exclusively in California. Thanks to his early participation in many projects there, he was the first to bring to Switzerland CO2 laser resurfacing and aesthetic botox in 1995. It is also in this period that he started taking a keen and active interest in stem cells, as he understood very quickly that these mother cells were the ?holy grail? of aesthetic dermatology: reactivating and stimulating the very source of the skin?s own, most powerful anti-ageing system.
When dermal stem cell reservoirs were finally discovered in December 2009, he was one of the first to engage in active research and development to apply this essential discovery to medicine, and cosmeceuticals.
Could you tell us a little more about stem cells and what they do?
Stem cells will be the focus of medical research for at least the next 30 years to come. Why? Because they represent the ?holy grail? that doctors in all fields had been hoping to find for centuries. Stem cells are the mother cells, the source, of each organ or tissue?s healthy regeneration. As we age, this process slows down, stem cells become tired and worn-out, and the regeneration of our body slows down, becomes ?imperfect? before stopping completely. By reaching, stimulating and protecting the origin of our organs and tissues, we will be able to live not only longer, but more importantly, better.
Specifically for the skin, it is important to remember that it has two layers: the superficial epidermis which is responsible for the texture and softness that we feel, and the more important deeper, thicker dermis, where all our natural anti-ageing fighters are: fibroblasts, collagen, elastin, hyaluronic acid.
Since the discovery of dermal stem cell reservoirs in December 2009, we know that skin ageing is driven in great part by dermal stem cells becoming old, tired, causing our naturally powerful anti-ageing system to slow down and breakdown, leaving collagen and elastin fibres broken, weak, and in insufficient quantity.
The Dr LEVY Switzerland brand claims that skin ageing is reversible. Is this true?
This is indeed a bold statement, and one that we have all dreamt of hearing. Today we know that this is possible, and proven. In 2006, Professor Yamanaka published a revolutionary study that proved, for the first time, that the ageing of our cells is reversible. He was able to show that cells are like a time machine; by stimulating them, they can go back in time to act young again.
This represented a dramatic change for medical research, where the assumption that the ?cycle of life? of birth-youth-ageing-death was unstoppable and irreversible. This is why Professor Yamanaka, barely 6 years after he published his findings, received the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 2012. Combined with the discovery of dermal stem cell reservoirs in December 2009, we now had not only the essential “youth” cells, but also the proof that we could stimulate these cells to make them act young again.
Via Dr. Levy’s patented ArganCellActiv® formula, we are the world?s first to have a product proven to stimulate dermal stem cells in vitro ? up to +80% – thanks to our exclusive plant-derived stem cell extracts. And real life results, as proven by our independent clinical studies, after only 8 weeks, are very impressive.
Could you pick out a couple of the Dr LEVY Switzerland products and tell us how they work and who uses them?
The Intense Stem Cell line counts a limited number of products, because we see our brand as an ultra-specialised anti-ageing cosmeceutical. We define ourselves as uniquely ?Medi-Luxe®? with one simple yet challenging mission: encouraging and stimulating the skin?s deep cellular transformation to deliver visible results that are a delight to see and feel.
If I have to highlight one product within our line-up, I would undoubtedly choose our Booster Serum ? which is both the heart of our brand, our treatments and protocols, as well as our best-seller. It is, in my opinion, a true ?magic potion?, which has loyalty rates above 80% consistently in all our point-of-sales, markets and channels. Why? Because it is both highly concentrated in medical-grade ingredients, delivers clear and powerful results, and is a delight to the senses. Designed as an ?elixir?, a small drop is sufficient for the full face. It penetrates quickly and leaves the skin nourished, silky soft and immediately more radiant. And the beauty here, is that there were no ?tricks? for these effects: no silicone for softness, no light-reflecting pigments for radiance. It all comes from the actual active ingredients. Finally, the fact that there is no smell, and that it nourishes and hydrates quickly without any ?left-over? explains why this treatment is incredibly popular, not only amongst women but also amongst men.
Our Eye Booster Concentrate is also very popular and has received outstanding patients and press reviews including the Tatler Beauty Award, which labelled it the ?best thing since botox? and the InStyle Director?s Choice award.
As to who buys ours products; as one of the most famous aesthetic dermatologists in Europe, and beyond, my father counts many celebrities, industrialists and public figures within his clientele. Almost all of them buy our products, and love them. We also know that celebrities, politicians and other world-famous public figures are fans of our brand, whether in Europe, the USA or in Asia. If you read articles about our brand, you will find many such A-listers and celebrities mentioning using our treatments and loving them. However, as a brand owned, designed and represented by a doctor, we have made a choice not to proactively seek or reveal ?endorsements? and to apply the medical secret to ourselves also.
In Selfridges, we are the biggest brand of their flagship ?urban flash spa?, FaceGym, led by one of the most influential beauty journalists at the FT.
How did you come to showcase your products in private airports?
Our brand is distributed primarily in top clinics and medi-spas, as we combine medical-grade ingredients and results, associated with a touch of luxury and sensorial delight with our design, textures, scent and presentation.
We also have branched out to top department stores; always however, on condition that we are associated with the highest quality treatments. In Selfridges, London for instance, we are the biggest brand of their flagship ?urban flash spa?, FaceGym, led by one of the most influential beauty journalists at the Financial Times. We are hence sold by trained therapists and our products are included in cutting-edge facials and laser treatments. On the topic of department stores, in Russia we have become a Top 5 Brand at Tsum, Moscow?s equivalent to London?s Harrods, partly thanks to the treatments.
And lastly, we were honoured when TAG also asked us to sell our products at their private airport in Farnborough; with the thought process being that passengers of the private aircraft would love our unique, results-orientated and straightforward offering. We have designed counters customized to be as insightful as possible for busy travellers. And because we are straightforward, unique, and our results speak for themselves, this partnership has been a very successful experience, which we have just started to re-apply in TAG?s Gstaad private airport.
Is Dr LEVY Switzerland introducing any new products in the near future?
We are already working on the new product developments for the next three years! We are currently launching our fifth innovation, the Décolletage Regenerating Silk. It not only includes our patented, world?s first dermal stem cell activating formula ArganCellActiv®, but it also has an exclusive complex, StressCellActiv? which is proven to repair UV-induced DNA damage.
We are also moving forward very quickly on the launch of some other new products with the aim of bringing them to market in 2017/2018.
How do you keep up with the latest cosmetic-science trends whilst balancing with the needs of real people?
This is an excellent question. My father juggles three full-time jobs; he runs a clinic, he gives conferences and courses around the world, and he leads the research and product development for the Dr. LEVY Switzerland® brand. I am not quite sure how he manages to do it all ? and with such great care and attention to detail ? but the results are here. Importantly, as your question highlights, he also remains grounded in reality, and understands the needs of his patients.
For more information, visit Dr LEVY.
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