This Harvard-Trained Dermatologist Has Created Skin-Caring Luxury Hair Care by Forbes – Entrepreneurs

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Dr. Iris Rubin, CEO and founder of Seen.Courtesy of Seen.

Dr. Iris Rubin, M.D., has created a skin-caring luxury hair care line. Dr. Rubin is a board certified dermatologist with laser and cosmetic fellowship training, a graduate of Harvard Medical School and former pediatric laser surgeon at Children’s National Medical Center. As a dermatologist, she saw numerous patients with breakouts, including the anxiety and insecurities that come with them. It became personal problem for Dr. Rubin when she experienced breakouts after salon visits. After doing some research, she traced the breakouts back to a surprising source: the hair products the salon would use. Additionally, hair products end up rinsing down the face and body in the shower, coming into contact with the face, neck, chest, and back. They can also leave a residue on towels and pillow cases that can transfer to your face and body.

Dr. Rubin decided that she nor her patients should have to choose between beautiful hair and beautiful skin, thus Seen was born.  Seen’s breakthrough innovative patented formulas are a game-changer for hair care and skin care. Seen uses a carefully curated collection of skin-caring ingredients.The core technology in the Seen collection is based on ingredient selection, concentration, and interaction – optimized and balanced to minimize comedogenic (pore-clogging) propensity. Seen products use many natural ingredients, and safe synthetics when necessary to maintain proper function and minimize skin irritation. They are formulated

without parabens, sulfates, phthalates, silicones, or dyes and are gluten free. Great hair, healthy skin – no compromises. Seen formulations are clinically

proven to be non-comedogenic and non-irritating. The secret to great skin may be better hair care. Dr. Rubin shares why she left her dermatology career to pursue making products for better skin and hair.

Seen Hair Care Line.Courtesy of Seen.

Yola Robert: What differentiates SEEN from other hair care? Any why did you choose not to go the all natural or organic route?

Dr. Iris Rubin: Most hair care products are not formulated with the skin in mind. SEEN is distinct from other hair care lines because it is specifically formulated to be both hair and skin friendly. What’s on your hair is on your skin. Nobody wants breakouts and acne, yet hair care products can cause breakouts, with ingredients you would never choose to put on your skin. Our mission is to be more than just a beauty company; it’s about building people’s confidence. Acne can have a big psychological impact and erode a person’s confidence. Research shows that acne can increase depression risk by over 60%. That’s why our brand is called Seen: because we want to empower people to feel comfortable being Seen for their best self. And acne is not just a teenage issue. Adult acne in women is so widespread that The New York Times published an article recently stating that “the rare woman without acne is notable.” I think most people would not knowingly put products on their skin that can clog their pores and lead to breakouts, though many do so every day with their hair care products.

Seen products are clinically proven to be non-comedogenic (won’t clog pores), and non-irritating. We’re so excited by the transformations we have already heard from customers who say Seen has changed their lives for the better. We’ve heard from women who say they feel more confident and no longer need to hide behind their makeup to cover their skin. Other women have shared that they can finally wear tank tops and bathing suits without being embarrassed about how their back looks. These are just a few of many positive stories. Why choose between beautiful hair and healthy-looking skin when you can have both?

We’re committed to making products that are effective, luxurious, and safe.  I think people often think of natural and organic as always being good for you, and they usually are. But natural and organic are not always skin friendly. For example, poison ivy is 100% natural, and I don’t think you would want that on your skin. Some botanicals can cause irritation, and some oils often found in organic products can clog the pores and lead to breakouts. Our philosophy is to use the optimal mix of natural when possible, and safe synthetics when necessary, to get products that are amazing for the hair and the skin. Seen products are formulated without sulfates, silicones, phthalates, parabens, dyes, and gluten. Our philosophy is out with the bad, and in with the good. Our good-for-skin additives include a skin-soothing chamomile derivative, a plant sugar derived silicone substitute, and a shea butter derivative for moisture.

Robert: You left your career in dermatology to dedicate time to Seen. When did you know it was time to leave the successful career you had built to pursue your entrepreneurial endeavor?

Dr. Rubin: I made the really tough decision to resign from Children’s National in the DC area to launch Seen. I was the medical director of the dermatologic and vascular laser surgery program when I resigned and was treating babies and kids with disfiguring birthmarks and scars with lasers. The experience was incredibly gratifying. I resigned because I knew I had to make a choice. I just could not show up in the way I wanted for my husband and three kids, and be a pediatric laser surgeon, and launch Seen. I had tried to be superwoman. The outside world saw me keeping it together pretty well, but in reality, I felt like I was not doing anything the way I wanted to. As physicians, we are trained to minimize risk, so this was a big leap for me as there is so much risk being an entrepreneur. I have always believed, though, that if my mission is pure, and what I am doing can help other people, it will succeed as long as I stick with it. What’s most gratifying is hearing about how Seen has already impacted our customers lives. At Seen we believe in attainable beauty, and the freedom to focus your time and attention on things that are important to you.

Robert: What advice do you have for women who have invested so much into their career but are thinking about starting something on their own?

Dr. Rubin: I remember when I applied to dermatology residency, which is super competitive, a mentor of mine at Harvard looked at my resume and commented that my path had not been very linear, and that some may question my commitment to wanting to be a dermatologist. I had graduated from Stanford in three years, worked at Nature publishing company to launch a journal for undergraduates and made a stop at the management consulting firm McKinsey & Company after seeing my twin sister thriving there.

I think often we are expected to follow a linear path. That works for some people, though not for everyone. Starting something on your own is certainly a risk. I happen to love the creativity and challenge of doing something on my own. And I love raising the bar and challenging the status quo. I enjoy doing something different every day. I would say if what you want to start has a mission you believe in 100%, you are willing to take some risk, and you can get the resources and support to get it going, then go for it! Be ready for the challenges. And then stick with it and ignore the nay-sayers! There were definitely nay-sayers in the beginning who did not see the vision for Seen. You just have to act on your own conviction. As a Harvard-trained dermatologist, I had learned surprisingly little about the impact of hair care products on the skin. But it just made so much sense to me: why put pore-clogging ingredients on your skin if you are prone to acne and breakouts? SeenN has already started changing people’s lives for the better.

Robert: What advice do you have for entrepreneurial moms who are trying to balance their work and home life?

Dr. Rubin: I love being an entrepreneur. I am busy all the time, though for the most part can make my own schedule. I have three kids and I value that flexibility tremendously. I missed my daughter’s violin concert for two years (she still reminds me!) when I was working at Children’s, since it always seemed to be scheduled at the same time as my fully-booked operating room schedule that had been set for months. My advice is to follow your heart, set high goals and standards, get up when you fall down, and do you. There is no one size fits all solution for how to balance work and home. And you can’t do it all yourself, at least I can’t. I have tried to be a full-time mom and full-time entrepreneur at the same time, thinking I could just get all my work done while the kids are in school. Well, what about everything else? Like managing the kids’ schedules, and the house, and finding time to spend with my husband. I had to learn to get the child care in place that worked for me and to ask friends and family for help when I need it.

I think knowing when to stop working is also important. I put my phone away during dinnertime and when I am with the kids so I can really focus on them. And I value my me time. I think as women we often talk about balancing career and family. The self-care piece is not discussed as much. I try not to do too much work after 8 pm, so I can wind down, catch up with my husband, and maybe read a book or watch TV or a movie or go for a walk if the weather is nice. I also meditate twice a day.

Robert: You are business partners with your brother-in-law and your sister works with your husband. How do you feel about mixing business with family?

Dr. Rubin:  It makes life and work so much more fun and fulfilling! I get that is a real luxury, and it’s one I did not always have. While many people caution not to work with family, which I can understand, the benefits in our case far outweigh the risks. We can be open and honest with each other because we have shared values and a strong foundation of trust. It is an amazing feeling to go to work everyday working with people you genuinely like and respect. 

Robert: Now knowing everything you know, what advice would you give your 21-year-old self

Dr. Rubin: I would love to have coffee with my 21-year-old self! Love this question. My advice would be that sometimes career decisions are tough. Just pick a path, it does not have to be the right one. You will learn from it and can change paths if you need to. And listen to yourself more, and your feelings. What do you like? What don’t you like? Be honest with yourself, just because you feel like you should like something you may not and that is ok. I would also say to not view anxiety and fear as stop signs. New experiences can create anxiety and fear and that’s ok. And don’t fear failure, it’s just a learning experience. I would actually say, if you don’t fail at something you are not trying enough things. Don’t focus on pleasing others. Be kind to yourself.

January 3, 2019 at 04:00PM
Forbes – Entrepreneurs