We spend 5 minutes with founder of Synergie Skin & self-confessed science nerd, Terri Vinson.
Can you give us a summary of your career prior to launching Synergie Skin?
After gaining a degree in immunology and microbiology, I began my career as a senior science teacher in my twenties as I have always been deeply compelled to inspire, educate, and create.
I later transitioned to a role as an educator and formulator for a cosmeceutical company and then developed a medical marketing business helping to educate clients on skincare and treatment choices in their aesthetic medicine clinics. It wasn't until 2005, when I was in my forties, that I took the giant leap and opened my own startup skincare clinic in Melbourne where I formulated active skincare products for my clients.
Synergie Skin emerged organically from this space and soon gained a cult following. It felt so right, allowing me to marry my passion for skin wellness, confidence, and science. Little did I know that Synergie Skin would later become a global cosmeceutical skincare brand!
What made you take the leap and start Synergie?
As so often happens with business creators, if you can’t find it, then create it! I felt the skincare industry was missing three key components, transparency, education involving empowering the customer with a scientific understanding of their products, and products that actually deliver results. As a mother, I have always felt that if I won't put it on my face, or my children's faces, then I won't put it on my customers face. I believed that if the skin is in a state of optimal health, then this will reflect on appearance and most importantly inner confidence.
What are some of the main skin concerns women come to you with?
Pigmentation, sun damage, sensitivity and fine lines are certainly the main skin concerns of women. I have noticed in the last three years there have been more women commenting of skin irritation and skin barrier breakdown.
This has been as result of mask wearing during COVID, increased stress and reduced immune function.
The ideal cosmeceuticals to improve the health of the barrier include pre and post biotics, niacinamide and anti-irritant ingredients such as Canadian Willowherb, aloe vera, bisabol and allantoin.
There are some incredible cutting-edge ingredients that were not available when I started formulating over 20 years ago: release on demand retinol, the new queen of retinoids Hydroxy Pinacolone retinoate (HPR), novel new peptides that have been laboratory created for specific skin concerns and botanicals like Lapacho Bark Extract that target skin cell longevity. This is certainly an exciting time for skin scientists like me!
As a formulator I wish I could say skin care is the answer to skin health. However, while skincare is a vital part of the skin health equation, it really is part of a multifaceted regimen. It involves considering the health of your skin in a holistic way which includes evidence-based skincare, good nutrition, exercise, quality sleep, professional skin treatments and of course, a positive mindset.
What is your go-to, must have product from Synergie?
That’s an easy one. Vitamin B serum is hands down the one product that would put me into a state of mild anxiety if I was without it for a day! The superhero ingredient niacinamide is my personal favourite, for several reasons. It’s a dream to work with as a skin scientist - it’s chemically stable, it penetrates the skin easily to reach those target cells, and it’s gentle on almost every skin type.
Niacinamide has so many amazing skin benefits, including:
• Improving the skin’s precious barrier function- remember ‘B’ is for Barrier.
• Promoting better skin immunity to fight off environmental aggression from sunlight and
• Improving uneven skin tone
• Increasing hydration levels through increasing ceramide production to reduce water loss from the skin
• Enhancing essential collagen production to reduce fine lines and increase skin firmness.
We're all about making life simpler and better for women, how do we simplify our skincare?
Here's the simplest way to target great skin. If you can only use one skincare product it would be a quality sunscreen. Sun protection is the essential element and your number one insurance policy against skin damage, fine lines, and skin cancer. I always say do not even bother with any other skincare product if you don’t have a great physical sunscreen containing a minimum of 20% zinc oxide.
If you are wanting to step it up and start a simple skincare routine, my advice is always to keep it simple with 5 essentials ABCD and Zinc. There isn’t a person who wouldn’t benefit from using these ingredients topically:
1. Vitamin A (Stabilised Retinol or Hydroxypinacolone retinoate [HPR])
2. Vitamin B3 (Niacinamide)
3. Vitamin C (L-ascorbic Acid or Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate [ATIP])
4. Dermiotic (pre and postbiotics: the microbiome balancers)
5. Zinc Oxide (physical sunscreen) in the form of a moisturiser or mineral makeup
I believe we need to cut through the marketing hype and look at the evidence. This involves customer education and supporting them to make informed choices when it comes to skincare.
Writing my book Skinformation, was a result of my passion to cut through all the fluff. This brand agnostic go-to skin reference takes a deep dive into your skin concerns and ingredients that truly make a difference to your skin and confidence.