Suffering from chronic eczema her whole life, Kerry Benjamin decided to leave her career in tech, become an esthetician, and develop a groundbreaking skincare line called StackedSkincare to help other women with their skin issues and concerns. I had the pleasure of receiving a deeply cleansing facial from Kerry Benjamin herself in her gorgeous spa in Los Angeles.
MR: How did you get into the skincare industry? How did you start your practice and skincare line?
KB: I felt like skincare was always a part of my life because of my eczema. I tried everything to fix it. When I was working in tech in Silicon Valley, I started experimenting with my own formulations—mostly just homemade oil blends—to see if I could create something to soothe my skin. That was around the time that I started to realize I didn’t really know anything about skin, and decided that I needed to learn how to help myself and others. I moved to Los Angeles and threw myself into esthetic studies. After I got my license, I opened my spa in 2011. The first thing I did was buy a Silk peel micro-derm abrasion machine, which simultaneously exfoliates and infuses corrective serums while treating skin at the cellular level. I started combining the use of that machine with other procedures and soon my clients were seeing unbelievable results—a more effective reduction in hyper pigmentation, dryness and fine lines thanks to the layered treatments. After seeing these results, I knew I wanted to create a line that could give people the same improvements at home. I launched my product line, StackedSkincare, in 2015.
MR: How was Stacked Skincare born?
KB: Stacked is all about combining different techniques and products or “stacking” them. When formulating the products, I experimented with different ways of exfoliating and using tools to drive active ingredients deeper into the skin. A good example of my process is our Derma planing Tool. In the office, estheticians use a scalpel to gently remove dead skin, peach fuzz and debris. Obviously, that’s not exactly safe for a person to do themselves, so I worked with a product designer to create a tool that gives you the same results without the safety concerns. It’s a much better way to exfoliate than using a scrub because scrubs can cause tiny micro-tears in the skin that increase inflammation.
MR: What types of formulas, serums, and techniques did you develop first?
KB: I developed three different serums all for unique purposes. For acne, aging, and skin healing, I created our EGF Activating Serum. It contains epidermal growth factors that stimulate collagen and speed up healing and cell turnover. When you speed up that turnover, you also lift hyperpigmentation. People with acne can safely layer it with salicylic acid without totally drying out and sensitizing the skin like a lot of acne treatments. For aging and loss of firmness, I developed the PSC Peptide Serum, which has plant stem cells that help plump and firm up your skin. Finally, I needed something for really dehydrated skin, which people of all skin types can have. Our HA Hydrating Serum is packed with hyaluronic acid, which pulls moisture into the epidermis. We have two versions—one with Balinese champaca oil and one with eucalyptus oil. I like to use eucalyptus in the morning and champaca in the evening.
Our Collagen Boosting Micro-Roller is another holy grail product that has gotten us a lot of really amazing attention in the press. It has tiny stainless-steel needles that help stimulate collagen production, lift hyperpigmentation, and drive serums deeper into your skin. Despite the intimidation factor, it’s totally painless and easy to use. It’s a great way to make your regimen more effective.
MR: Besides your staple serums and tools, what other treatments does Stacked Skincare offer?
KB: We have three great peels that I think are really the cornerstone in any healthy skin regimen. Peels are so important to me as a person with eczema because I really can’t use scrubs. First, there’s our TCA Multi-Acid Peel which is a gentle, self-neutralizing peel with a five-acid complex that dissolves that dry surface layer of skin without leaving you red and irritated. We also have an organic Deep Sea Mineral Peel which has salicylic acid and seaweed in it. Perfect for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding who can be dealing with acne and dryness. Finally, we have a body peel, which comes with a larger fan brush. It’s great for back acne, bumpy arms from keratosis pilaris, and hyperpigmentation. It’s simple to use; you just get out of the shower, dry off and put it on. It makes you super soft from head to toe.
MR: Do you see Stacked Skincare expanding into different countries?
KB: Our website is global and we ship all over the world. We are also on Amazon UK and Amazon CA and we have have distribution in Kuwait and Lebanon. The Dermaplaning Tool has been really popular with our Middle Eastern customers because women over there are more familiar with the in-office treatment. I expect us to expand further internationally in 2018.
MR: Besides creating effect treatments that genuinely help people with their skin conditions, what makes Stacked Skincare so successful and what do you expect for the future?
KB: Ultimately, I am proud of the business we've built. We have a really valuable direct and personal relationship with our customers. We get amazing feedback; it’s a committed community and they always tell us what they want. Most importantly, I’m not reliant on any retailer. My business isn’t fluctuating because of a third party. I am glad we built it this way from the ground up. I see us continuing to expand in 2018 into boutique spas and high-end hotel spas and med spas. Possibly going into larger stores like Sephora and then greater international expansion.