Over the last few years, the skincare industry has made efforts to become more inclusive. Particularly, there's been increased representation of diverse skin types and condtions, including people with hyperpigmentation, stretch marks, and acne. Still, one market remains underserved: people with scars. The founders of ESTAS Beauty, the first luxury scar care line, want to fill that gap for good.
Like the hundreds of millions of people with scars worldwide, founders Cristina Beltran and Alejandra Thompson have unique stories about how they acquired theirs. At age 24, Beltran went into sudden cardiac arrest. Her heart stopped, she went into a coma, and she was left with a 7% survival rate. To stay alive, she underwent an open heart triple bypass surgery that left her with a large scar on her chest. Meanwhile, Thompson delivered two children via C-section, leaving her with an abdominal scar.
While Beltran developed a positive relationship with her scar, Thompson (a beauty veteran who has worked at L'Oreal and Chanel) struggled to do the same. "I engaged with it as little as possible," Thompson says. "I was scared of it, and I had such a negative outlook."
One day, while out to lunch with Beltran, a longtime friend, Thompson noticed Beltran was wearing a V-neck that showed off her scar. "She was like, 'I love my scar. It's so cool. You should love yours too,'" Thompson recalls. "For me, that was so foreign. I couldn't even understand what she was saying."
To help Beltran embrace her scar, Beltran sought to find a luxury scar care product to gift her. To her surprise, Beltran found nothing that fit the bill. "I was certain that I was able to find something," she says. "There's a product for everything now."
The next day, Beltran phoned her friend. Instead of a gift, she presented Thompson with the idea of launching a skincare brand tailored to scars. She dreamed of creating hydrating, luxurious products that would give people something to look forward to during their morning and evening skincare routine. "Scars can never go away," Beltran says. "But, they can feel good and become healthier with the right care."
From 2018 to 2020, Beltran and Thompson met with top dermatologists, cosmetic chemists, and plastic surgeons to identify not only the most beneficial ingredients for scars but the types of products that work best. With their help, they were able to formulate their luxury scar care line. By October 2020, ESTAS Beauty was ready to launch with three products.
The brand's product lineup includes the Morning Massage Vitamin E and Primrose Scar Cleansing Oil, Daily Dose Vitamin E and C Scar Cream Serum, and Sleep Salve Silicone and Vitamin E Scar Care Mask.
The cleanser, Beltran says, is massage-activated and oil-based, which can be helpful for dry scars. "When you massage your scar, you're telling your body that it's real skin and needs to have all the sensory receptors and nerve endings working," she explains. "It's a critical component for your skin to be 'told' that it's alive."
The serum—which contains dynamic ingredients like vitamin E and C, sea whip extract, and silicone–is recommended to be used twice daily. "It helps to lighten and brighten your scar," Beltran says. "It's also very soothing if your scar is red or angry."
On the other hand, the overnight mask can help boost radiance while also calming scars, especially if inflamed. All three products are available in the brand's best-selling kit, The Complete Scarcare Routine (valued at $165). However, Beltran says brand newcomers who only want to try one product should start with the serum.
Despite being the first luxury scar care line on the market, Beltran and Thompson agree there is still much work to be done to shift societal thinking toward embracing scars. "We had a photo shoot last summer, and we were trying to find models with scars," Thompson says. "[The agencies] couldn't find models with scars because [the models] wouldn't admit to having them since they think of scars as a detractor."
Ultimately, Beltran and Thompson dream of a future where scars aren't taboo. "Our overall dream is to propel this mission of including scars in the conversation," Beltran explains. She says they hope to one day walk into a major beauty retailer and see a section solely dedicated to scar care.
Beltran also envisions ESTAS Beauty tapping into other underserved skincare markets, such as pre-surgical skincare or stretch marks. "We are happy and proud to be the first of our kind," Beltran says, "But we hope that scars can become a part of the skin we all want to take care of and show off."