Dermstore Chats with Kate Somerville

BY Annie Ryu · November 9, 2016


Renowned for treating some of Hollywood’s most flawless faces, Kate Somerville has made it her mission to heal and transform people through skin care. Since 2004, she has been committed to helping clients at Kate Somerville Skin Health Experts Clinic achieve a healthier complexion by working alongside dermatologists and cosmetic surgeons.

After years of treating patrons at the clinic, Kate wanted to share her passion for esthetics with the rest of the world by launching her very own line of clinically formulated skin care products. Made with only the highest quality ingredients, Kate has been combining science and nature to develop her signature formula. Dedicated to providing solutions for all skin types, Kate continues to refine, innovate and develop effective products for real people.

To help you get to know this skin care maven better, we sat down with Kate to discuss the inspiration behind her famous line, some helpful tips to elevate your skin care routine, along with details on an up-coming product!

Dermstore: What made you decide to create the Kate Somerville line?
Kate Somerville: Skin care is more than just my job, it’s my calling. Growing up, I had horrible eczema and I looked for different remedies to solve my own skin issues. I got into skin care because I knew what it was like to feel uncomfortable in your own skin and I wanted to help people.

I created my skin care collection in direct response to the challenges I see on a daily basis in my clinic–the same skin health issues men and women of all ages and ethnicities face everywhere. All of my products are developed, tested and proven in my clinic. They’re created to address real skin concerns and deliver real results. 

D: What was missing in the beauty market that you wanted to fill it with?
When I began my education in the field of esthetics over 20 years ago, I knew I wanted to focus on skin health, so I decided to work side by side with doctors and plastic surgeons to complement their services. I helped pioneer paramedical esthetics when I opened my own Skin Health Experts™ Clinic in Los Angeles. I wanted to create something new, where clients could experience a one-stop shop for cutting-edge technology and advanced facial treatments.

D: What are the hero ingredients in your beauty line? What do they do?
I don’t believe in following trends. I strive to formulate products with ingredients that improve your skin’s appearance. There are so many incredibly efficacious ingredients I love to use, including:

  • Hyaluronic Acid is one of the skin’s most important components for hydration and moisture retention. It maintains the water balance in skin and supports collagen and elastic. Since it’s not oil based, this ingredient is safe enough for all skin types and even beneficial for people with acne or oily skin. Serums and creams with hyaluronic acid seal moisture on the skin and plump up fine lines and wrinkles, giving skin a smooth, youthful glow.
  • Retinol is one of my favorite ingredients. I have all of my clients over the age of 30 use retinol 2-3 times per week. Retinol stimulates collagen, removes environmental damage, aids in wrinkle reduction, helps with breakouts, reduces scaring, minimizes pore size, helps skin texture, helps to remove brown spots…it does it all! It can be harsh on skin, so I developed all of my retinol products to be time released and  formulated with hydrating properties so you get the benefits without the irritation.
  • Goat’s Milk is great for soothing and calming skin, treating redness and inflammation and mildly exfoliating with natural lactic acid. I suffered from eczema as a child and my parents would add goat’s milk to my bath water to calm my skin. That was the inspiration for my cult-favorite Goat Milk Cream. Goat’s milk is gentle enough for anyone to use, but ideal for dry and/or sensitive skin. It’s also great for treating chapped skin from extreme weather.  Active surfers and skiers love it too!

D: What do you think are the main components of an effective and healthy skin care routine?
Follow these five steps:

  1. Proper cleansing. The first step to beautiful skin is thorough, effective cleansing. I do a double cleanse to penetrate deeper and  fully remove dirt and makeup.
  2. Exfoliation. Exfoliation is such an important step in maintaining healthy skin and should be a part of every skin care regimen. Oils and impurities become trapped under the skin and exfoliation is key. I recommend exfoliating 2-3 times per week to keep skin fresh and glowing.
  3. Hydration. Hydration is so important and many of my clients confuse hydration with moisturization. Look for products with hyaluronic acid, which holds 1000x its weight in water, to draw moisture into cells and keep skin plump and youthful looking.
  4. Moisturization. Moisturization seals in hydration and keeps skin’s moisture levels balanced. You should hydrate and moisturize both morning and night.
  5. Daily SPF Protection. SPF protection is the most important element for healthy skin. You should never leave the house without applying sunscreen with at least an SPF of 30, even on cloudy days. I recommend looking for sunscreens with ingredients that contain either physical or chemical blocks and always look for broad spectrum protection–which means protection from all UV rays.

D: In your experience, what are the biggest skin care mistakes or worst skin care habits most women make? What would you advise them to do instead?

  • Not exfoliating enough. To get glowing skin you need to exfoliate regularly (2-3 times per week depending on skin type). If you’re not exfoliating, skin looks dull and dry, causing wrinkles to look deeper and pores to look larger. As we age, our skin metabolism slows and exfoliation keeps that metabolism going, giving you a healthier glow long-term.
  • Using the same products all over your face. Your face has different eco-systems. You may have break outs on your chin but your eyes and cheeks need moisturization. Don’t apply an acne product to the entire face, only apply where you need it. Get to know your skin and apply the products where you need to.
  • Age and seasons matter. Our skin changes as we age and with the seasons, so change your product accordingly! Use more protection in the summer and lots of anti-aging serums to fight free radicals. Nourish your skin in the winter with lipids and moisturizers and do the repair work from summer by increasing retinols, peels, etc.


D: Your best (quick) tips to deal with:

  • Fine lines and wrinkles? Use products containing retinol and hyaluronic acid. Retinol is one of the most important ingredients for anti-aging because it promotes healthy cell turnover and turns back the clock. Hyaluronic acid is great for instantly plumping fine lines and wrinkles.
  • Acne? There are many effective ingredients to target acne, like sulfur, benzoyl peroxide, tea tree oil and salicylic acid. Test these different active ingredients on your skin and see what works best for you. Look for products that deliver these active ingredients without over drying skin. It’s so important not to strip skin of oil, because it will over-compensate and become off balanced by producing excess oil.
  • Dark spots? Ingredients like vitamin C, licorice root extract and kojic acid can help even the appearance of dark spots, but the most effective ingredient for treating pigment is hydroquinone. Hydroquinone bleaches the skin by stopping melanin production. Prevention is also key! The best thing you can do at home is wear a broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 DAILY!
  • Blackheads? Regular exfoliation and facials. Exfoliating with a Foreo device provides a deeper level of cleansing, really getting into the pores and keeping them clean.
  • Excessive dryness? Exfoliate! Sensitive or dry skin types are often under the impression that they can’t exfoliate because it’s going to cause more dryness or irritation. That’s not true. Dead skin is dry skin! For eczema, don’t use soaps or anything with sulfate. I also recommend warm baths and showers. Take one bath a day – it puts hydration back into skin and remember to immediately put on moisturizer afterwards.
  • To mimic that red-carpet glow? Exfoliate 2-3 x per week, hydrate with a product containing hyaluronic acid and lock in your hydration with a moisturizer.

D: For someone who’s new to Kate Somerville, which products should they try first?

1. ExfoliKate Intensive Exfoliating Treatment

This is my #1 bestselling product. ExfoliKate provides both physical and chemical exfoliation. Physical exfoliation lifts dead skin cells and chemical exfoliation gently dissolves dead skin.

2. DermalQuench Liquid Lift Advanced Wrinkle Treatment

I developed this product after my most popular treatment at the Clinic, the DermalQuench Oxygen Facial. It contains hyaluronic acid and oxygen to give skin an instant boost of hydration and plumps fine lines and wrinkles for a smooth, refreshed look. I never leave the house without it, especially when I’m traveling!

3. Goat Milk Cream

For dry or sensitive skin types, you must try my ultra-nourishing Goat Milk Cream. It’s developed a cult following among celebrities and makeup artists.

4. EradiKate Treatment

This is a sulfur based spot treatment that helps reduce the appearance of blemishes and works overnight to calm flare-ups. It’s my go-to for emergency situations!

D: Lastly, what can we look forward to seeing from the brand in 2017?
I’m so excited about this new product, Wrinkle Warrior 2-in-1 Plumping Moisturizer + Serum (coming Jan 2017) – it’s a serum and moisturizer in one! It contains 3 different sizes of hyaluronic acid to deliver immediate plumping results. It hydrates while targeting crow’s feet, fine lines and wrinkles.

Annie Ryu

Annie is a Content & SEO Analyst at Dermstore. Equipped with a background in digital content strategy, she has worked across various categories including, health & wellness, consumer packaged goods, and enterta... Read More >

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