Brand & Values

Behind the brand – the making of Dermatology M

Behind the brand – the making of Dermatology M

Food on our plates, fashion in our closets, formulas on our skin… more than ever, consumers are placing products under the microscope to enable informed choices.

As distrust for synthetic ingredients rises alongside growing occurrences of serious skin sensitivity induced by lifestyle, environmental and digital aggressors, demands for clean, natural and safe skincare have become the beauty standard. Rudimentary natural formulas of old, however, need not apply; today’s skincare consumer expects nothing less than supreme quality and performance.

At Dermatology M, it’s an approach we’re very familiar with. Three decades ago, such values and actions were deemed unconventional. Today, our founder Mazin Al-Khafaji’s philosophy couldn’t be more pertinent.

Our roots began in 1987 when Mazin, Doctor of Chinese Medicine, opened his skin clinic treating patients with a variety of serious skin concerns using tinctures and creams enriched with renowned Chinese herbs. Just two years later, while Mazin was teaching at the London School of Chinese Herbal Medicine, he was asked to assist some London dermatologists in trialling Chinese Medicine on patients with severe atopic eczema. At the time, there was simply nothing on the market that effectively resolved these concerns. This was about to change, with the effects of Mazin’s topical remedy in the trial simply too remarkable to overlook.

“Run Ji Gao had a very long history of use in Chinese Medicine for eczema, hence why it became the first formula I created. Its performance in these early London trials set the standard and it became clear that such ancient wisdom had a very valid place in contemporary skincare.”
Mazin Al-Khafaji, Dermatology M founder

Run Ji Gao’s debut soon, of course, attracted wider interest. Its initial formulation was, however, a little too rudimentary and impractical for use in modern life. While Chinese Medicine principles and herbs are of paramount importance to our formulas, texture and experience are also decisive factors. Therefore, Mazin refined and perfected the blend further – a practice he continues to embrace today across all our formulas as modern skincare and formulation science continues to evolve.

With eczema, psoriasis and sensitive skin representing the most common cases seen by Mazin in his clinic, formulation of Softening Psoriasis Night Ointment and Nourishing Cream (still our bestselling emollient) – alongside, of course, many small-batch, bespoke blends created for individual patients.

In the 1990s, Mazin’s teaching extended to Europe, the US, Canada and Australia while, closer to home, demand for his unique dermatology treatments resulted in his skin clinic moving to a larger premises... our Avicenna Clinic premises proudly opened in 1998. Students and practitioners undertaking his courses wished to buy his formulas for their own patients – always reporting back real benefits and results. Our practitioner network quickly expanded, spanning hundreds across the globe – placing considerable demand on our herbal sourcing and production facilities.

Thankfully, we have always held tight control over sourcing and production, with the quality, provenance and sustainability of our ingredients’ sources imperative from day one…

Rising demand for Chinese herbs has resulted in the market becoming tainted with inferior substitutions and fakes. Our decision to never outsource anything – adopting a ‘field to patient’ approach, directly sourcing and importing raw herbs ourselves – has, therefore, stood us in good stead (a topic we explore in more detail here). Back on-site, we undertake active extractions of all raw herbs using sophisticated methods, before manufacturing our formulas by hand in small batches, then filling every bottle and jar (again a topic we explore further here).

The results of these efforts speak for themselves. Gentle yet potent tinctures, lotions, ointments and creams that precisely treat and restore skin back to health – powered by the very best herbs and actives, and free from artificial colours, preservatives, petrochemicals or steroids.

Our founding principles may be unlike most other skincare brands, but we quite like that. We trust in the power of time-tested Chinese medicine, we listen closely to our customers’ skin health concerns and we aren’t afraid to continue doing things differently. Our unique approach to modern skincare protects and improves the condition of your skin… and we look forward to sharing more with you soon.

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