By Margaret Magner (Special to The Guardian)
Early in her career, Sharon Quann, a leading P.E.I. skincare aesthetician and natrotherapist, had a life-changing experience studying with Dr. Rudolph Hauschka in Germany.
His renowned company WALA Heilmittel, a pioneer in holistic pharmaceuticals and homeopathic medicines, launched a unique line of 100 per cent natural skincare products utilizing nature-based rhythmical processing and the highest-quality plant and mineral ingredients returning skin to a healthy, beautiful state.
Quann vowed one day to pursue these same principles, incorporating naturally sourced bioactive compounds at the peak of potency to promote skin health and overall well being through her own line of products — and to do it in P.E.I.
Ten years ago, Quann had the good fortune to encounter Reid Barnett, a Charlottetown-based consultant helping companies with the commercialization of innovative technologies and inventions. With a bachelor’s degree in biology and chemistry (University of New Brunswick) and an MBA in marketing and finance (St. Mary’s University), Barnett was also highly conversant with the skincare industry.
The happy result of their business partnership is BioSpa (Quann) Cosmeceuticals Inc. with Quann serving as company president and Barnett as CEO.
BioSpa’s Quannessence Skincare system, Atlantic Canada’s only line of professional skincare products developed, tested and manufactured here, is designed for both professional clinical treatments and home care use.
Its Skin Trilogy approach has a threefold strategy, addressing the breakdown of the skin barrier, moisture and nutrient loss, and the degradation of collagen and elastin. The deeply hydrating formulations help correct skin conditions, including superficial wrinkling, premature aging, blemishes, dry and oily complexions, blotchiness, and hyper pigmentation — and are highly absorbent.
All products originate at the company’s Summerside, P.E.I. site where Quann also provides professional skincare services through Mystical Touch Therapeutics.
BioSpa focuses on sourcing P.E.I. active and functional ingredients for its products. Crambe, an oilseed grown by Island famers and refined in Kensington by Technology Crops International, another P.E.I. bioscience company, is an essential element in Alchemist Revitalizing Cream, a hydrating moisturizer soothing redness and inflammation while promoting skin rejuvenation.
Canadian Willowherb, with an active ingredient combating acne bacteria, is an advanced emollient in Luminess Face Lotion. And Labrador Tea, a powerful skincare antioxidant, is found throughout Prince Edward Island.
“We work with the National Research Council and BioFood Tech in Charlottetown developing ingredients through extensive research and investigation,” says Barnett.
“That’s why our local bioactive compounds attract the interest of licensed aestheticians, dermatologists and other professional skin care providers in the region.”
The company, emblematic of the broad range of concepts and applications encompassed by the P.E.I. bioscience sector, also benefits from its association with the P.E.I. BioAlliance, ACOA and Innovation P.E.I., which have assisted with business planning, marketing, and packaging.
BioSpa is a proud Prince Edward Island company with “Fine P.E.I. Skincare” prominently featured on all its products.
“I want to brand P.E.I. and all its goodness, its soil, and everything we grow here,” says Quann, who has lived on the Island for 30 years. “We promote a natural, holistic approach no other competitor is pursuing.”
BioSpa is already generating sales outside the region, with dealers in Ontario and California, and overtures from European distributors. Its six serums, particularly the QTox Firming Serum, an innovative Botox alternative incorporating three advanced peptide technologies including synthetic Temple Viper venom, are in high demand.
“People are getting older and are looking for youthfulness,” says Barnett. “They crave natural ingredients that provide optimum benefit.”
The light, fragrance-free, vitamin-rich products are also popular with men, as Barnett can attest, who uses the formulations regularly.
For Quann, the creation of BioSpa Cosmeceuticals in Prince Edward Island is the culmination of a life-long dream.
“I want to do something exceptional and do it here in P.E.I.” says Quann. “We stand by the products we sell. They match up to anyone in the industry and we’re doing it in Summerside.”
Quann continues to be committed to the healing power of nature as it relates to humanity and the earth.
“I believe in beauty from the inside out. It’s not external or topical. Our natural ingredients help people nurture health and wellbeing — the essence of beauty — and put them in touch with the vitality of nature itself.”
Margaret Magner, Ph.D., is a freelance journalist in Charlottetown (www.magnerink.com). This is one in a series of articles on P.E.I.'s bioscience sector.