We recently sat down with beauty industry insider, chemist Jules Zecchino, who left Estée Lauder after 18 years to create a game-changing skin cream– a topical competitor to Botox, that also improves skin tone, dark spots, and other problems Botox can’t fix. Jules holds a B.S. in Chemistry from the University of Bridgeport and has helped develop dozens of products for Estée, Clinique, Vaseline, Elizabeth Arden, and Avon.
Why did you leave a leading beauty brand to start your own skincare line?
I always wanted to create products on my own, but first I had to learn the science behind great products. Big companies gave me the opportunity to study with the best teachers in dermatology departments at large universities, and to test thousands of compounds and their combinations, to see first hand what works, from the petri dish to clinical testing.
I left after 32 years to go on my own, while I still had the energy and contacts to create first-class brands. I also became disillusioned that corporate pricing guidelines wouldn’t always let me introduce the highest-quality products.
Why don’t big beauty companies always conduct clinical trials for their products? Is there real “science” behind their products?
Most big companies always do some clinical testing, but they often don’t promote the results, because they’d prefer to manipulate subjective consumer studies to be even more appealing than the clinical tests.
Companies have to decide if they can really afford to use the ingredients at the levels they know work best. It may make the product too expensive, so they cut back on the amount of great ingredients they use.
Startups and companies without large internal research & development departments rarely conduct top-rate independent clinical trials. They rely on data from ingredient suppliers (with tests done only in petri dishes), to make their claims. They don’t verify if the ingredients in their products actually work on consumers.
What clinical trials did you conduct for Erasa?
We ran full clinical trials at AMA Laboratories, an FDA-certified independent company, who recruited women 35 to 65 years old, with fine lines and wrinkles, to test the product. During these clinical trials, AMA tested the efficacy of the product using advanced image analysis over two and four-week periods. Working with 12 women for the first trial, we saw an average of 64% wrinkle reduction in only two weeks. Thirty women were involved in the second trial, when we wanted assurance that the product would continue to perform long-term. It did! We also ran separate, but complete, in-use safety and consumer trials, the best ways to confirm that a product is safe and well liked by as many different women as possible. See more results here.
What are some advertising tactics used by the big beauty brands?
Be very careful of before and after pictures, many of which are altered in Photoshop. If the photo looks too miraculous, it probably is. All our photos are digitally certified so they are accurate and real.
What are the most important things you learned during your decades in research & development?
To keep an open mind and test everything. I have discovered many gems this way, but maybe 70% of products that are promoted as the next “fountain of youth” are just hype. I also try to make sure the product gives immediate benefits that mimic the long-term benefits it promises. This gives instant satisfaction and encourages someone to continue using the product until the long term benefits are achieved.
What are the biggest myths about beauty products?
The skeptics who say nothing works always bug me. Sometimes a woman needs to change products to get the results she wants, or look to an expert who can evaluate her skin so she doesn’t keep making costly mistakes.
Why is Erasa’s signature ingredient, XEP 30, so effective? How does it compare to Botox?
When we heard that Allergan was developing a topical Botox, I started to create a cosmetic version to compete with it, and came up with XEP 30, a patent-pending, anti-wrinkle neurotoxin. This neurotoxin would be combined with other powerful anti-aging ingredients, such as argireline and creatine. To assure the effectiveness of XEP 30 and its supplementary ingredients, we developed a patent-pending formulation of molecules that penetrate and remain in the skin. Our powerful “delivery system” is patent-pending.
Competitors use XEP 18, which is simply a less potent and concentrated version of XEP 30. Every part of Erasa is formulated to boost the overall efficacy of the product, and the clinical trials proved our diligence.
We have yet to see what Botox can achieve topically. The Botox that’s injected gives quick results, but our Erasa testers saw significant improvements in just two weeks, which is faster than most skin creams. It is also worth mentioning that Botox does not provide improvement on dark spots, redness, and sagging skin, while Erasa excels at reducing these.
What’s one piece of skin care advice about skin care that you’d give to a woman over 50?
Ultimately, the best advice is to use a high SPF moisturizing product and stay out of the sun. If you want to bring back a more youthful appearance, use a well-tested, effective anti-aging product with it, like Erasa XEP 30.