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Alternative Skin Health for Me

Alternative Skin: My Annual Plea

Alternative Skin
Wendy Steele, Melanoma Survivor & Keys® CEO

The meaning of alternative skin health for me is me taking responsibility for my skin health. Being responsible for me as the manager of me. Yes, I consult with doctors and experts, but I am ultimately responsible for my well-being and my skin health.  So are you.

Keys’ quest for skin health began in 1996 when I was diagnosed and treated for Melanoma skin cancer. A successful Mohs surgery found me afflicted with all sorts of skin disorders from the chemicals in the prescription skincare that was my post-surgery regimen. I said to my boyfriend, “I want to feel good about myself and solve my skin problems. It is no surprise that our mission statement for Keys when it became a real products company was that, “We solve skin problems and make people feel good.” That was nearly 24 years ago.

I was shocked when I eliminated a specific list of chemicals called the “Dirty Dozen” that my skin disorders disappeared. We used the phrase “Chemical-Free Skin Health,” which riled even our friends in the industry. They said, “Everything is a chemical.” Not wanting to piss off their supporters, we understood that the phrase meant free of manufactured chemicals. Even then, they fired back, so we did the honorable thing and trademarked the phrase, Chemical-Free Skin Health®. It is a US federally registered mark that belongs to us forever, as does the Keys® trademark. Ours to defend, we realized that alternative skincare is very different from the conventional western medicine skin philosophy or the unregulated massive big-box skincare juggernaut.

Keys is a customer-inspired company that designs and makes our natural products in the USA.  Over the years, our customers have told us so many stories of their ordeals. Skin health to them has meant something as simple as blotchy skin or dry spots to people who have survived all forms of cancer that altered their lives and skin. Making people feel good and solving their problems has been and will remain our purpose.   

The hard reality is that people come to my company and me because they have skin issues. We have customers as young a three and some pushing 100. The fact for us is that all have had some form of problem. Again, they are as simple as wanting to look good to simple anti-aging needs. Being natural is not a remedy but a choice.

🥰 Maria Shriver ❤️

The skincare industry is embarrassing to me. Every celebrity seems to be getting into the game with the same products as the next big name in music or screen. Covid made this worse because their revenue streams dried up, and all they had to do was lend their names to a canned set of products and were in the game. Shamefully, those that touted natural and skin health were leveraging a prominent market, but their solutions often contributed to the problems people were experiencing. Over the years, we have had numerous celebrities endorse us, but with integrity and authenticity. For me, the highlight of Keys was when Maria Shriver as the first lady of Califonia, invited Keys multiple years to be at her California Women’s conference and asked us to put Keys products in the celebrity gift bag for speakers and presenters. These included Oprah, Jane Fonda, Caroline Kenndy, and many others. Maria herself helped to differentiate Keys when I received a voicemail from her proclaiming, “Keys as so Pure.” I will forever cherish her for her help and her belief in me and my company.

So, Alternative Skin Health is a synonym for Chemical-Free Skin Health®. It is what drives us with the results our customers get as our reward. Going forward, our mission remains the same, but our discoveries are all new. Our engineering team searches for natural solutions and not rehashing old chemistry with a different scent. Yes, our solutions are simple and effective. A big part of our success is ancient remedies employing modern natural ingredients that are pure and purposeful. Skincare is skincare, and your discomfort might be as simple as skin texture or tone to being intolerant to any chemical after your chemotherapy and cancer recovery. Feeling good is something we all want, and buying something from a celebrity with no basis or experience is simply stupid. Have you ever wondered why all you see are paid advertorials of which skincare products are “the Best of?” Why are there no efficacy articles?

I have to smile when we get customer service comments that we have too much information on our website, while the following note we receive that us for helping a person look better or feel better about themselves. Skin shaming is probably the most heard in the shaming world, but we seem to discount that it is nonetheless shaming. I truly believe that 80%+ of all skin disorders and skin changes are caused by chemicals in conventional skincare and personal care products. Although the Dirty Dozen chemical list has grown to the Dirty 100, the core 12 are still in most skincare and personal care products. The influx of celebrity products has not added to skin health but has taken away youthful skin years. Yes, it is my opinion, and I have “credentials” as a melanoma survivor who gutted out starting a controversial natural skin health company nearly 20 years ago.

My point is simple. Everyday chemical-free skincare is alternative skincare. Honestly, I am appalled at how little the industry has advanced in the last 20 years. Some knowing harm, and some unknowing harm. The critical realization is both harm.

Why now? It is not now; every year since I began, I beat the drum until someone listens. Every year, some do, and some do not make it this far in the article. Neuro-Linguistic master practitioners call it, “The messenger never rests until the message is delivered.” I hope there will be many more that listen I try to get chemical-free.

Start simple and get off those chemical-laden laundry detergents and dryer sheets. Notice the changes in your skin? Just imagine what your skin will be like stoping using all those parabens and other chemicals directly on your skin.

So, start simple:

  1. If there are no ingredients on a label of that skincare or cosmetic product you are looking at, don’t buy it.
  2. If you cannot pronounce the ingredients on a label, don’t buy it
  3. If the claims are double-speak meaningless marketing terms, don’t trust it.

Time to Get Wise!

Wendy Steele, Melanoma Survivor, and Keys Founder.