She’s known as the “Guru of Glow” and her celebrity client roster includes Hollywood beauties known for their radiant skin: Jessica Alba, Debra Messing, Kate Walsh, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Paris Hilton…the list goes on and on. But Kate Somerville’s favorite success story isn’t about a Hollywood celebrity; it’s the story of a 16- year-old kid who was plagued with cystic acne and had no money to pay her.
So while her high-profile clients may be a built-in publicity machine for her business, that’s not what ultimately drives Kate Somerville: it’s her passion for helping people from all walks of life with their skin problems.
She says it’s her calling and she’s followed it faithfully for 20 years. Her medi-skin clinic in Los Angeles has become a skin care mecca for clients from around the world.
At the clinic, which to date is the only one, she and her team develop a treatment program tailored to each customer’s specific needs. From serious skin conditions, like ezcema and acne – to popular anti-aging treatments, the treatment protocols often combine high-tech laser services with Ms. Somerville’s signature line of skin care in pursuit of skin nirvana… a healthy, radiant glow.
In 2010, she wrote her first book: “Complexion Perfection ! Your Ultimate Guide to Beautiful Skin“ – a thorough, how-to guide, covering everything from how your diet affects your skin to the latest treatments available. It also provides detailed, current information on the mystical maze of products and ingredients on the market, and what they actually do. This section alone is worth the price of the book; as you know, keeping up with what’s out there is a full-time job most of us don’t have time for.
One of my favorite sections is “10 weeks to complexion perfection.” Here, Kate showcases 15 clients with a variety of issues, giving details about her prescribed treatment regimen over a 10-week period. The before and after photos tell the story at a glance; everyday people, with everyday issues with astonishing results.
It’s enough to give a girl hope !
I talked with the very charming and down-to-earth Ms. Somerville about her latest ground-breaking product, her plans for the future and her most famous celeb client ! Plus, how does she really feel about Botox ?!
SF: What made you decide to write this book ?
KS: After 20 years in this business, I’m confident that I can fix the skin problems that women and men have. But I can’t be everywhere, so I wanted to share everything I know and the things you can do to improve your skin in 10 weeks. With the book, it doesn’t matter where you live; if you live in Iowa and can’t come to my clinic, you can still make a big improvement in your skin if you know what to do.
I also wanted to document my life. I think people sometimes people have this preconceived notion about me; they think because I work with celebrities that I lead this very glamorous life. But I had to work hard to get here. It wasn’t handed to me. I had some pretty big personal challenges to overcome and I thought it was important for me to share my own experiences along the way. As a child I had terrible eczema myself, and not the easiest of childhoods to go along with it. I wanted people to know that about me.
SF: Your Hollywood clientele has been well documented. Who was the first big celebrity you worked with ? Were you nervous ?
KS: I started working with celebrities fairly early in my career, so yes, I remember being nervous. But when you’re working with someone famous, you kinda go into overdrive ! I mean, you know what you know, so you just have to remember that. Michael Jackson is probably the biggest celebrity I ever worked with; it was about 10-12 years ago.
SF: Was that when he was having issues with his skin condition ?
KS: Yes. He was such a kind, gentle person: just a really sweet man.
SF: What’s your favorite success story you’ve had with a client and why ?
KS: Oh, that was Andrew. He was a 16 year old kid: he saw me on VH1. He had the worst acne I’d ever seen. He had no money. But he came into the clinic and as soon as I saw him, I thought, “I’ve gotta move this kid out of the reception area and into a private room.” He was so self-conscious; and literally, his skin was just oozing. He was so young, with his whole life ahead of him. So, I told him, “We’re going to help you. And you’re not going to pay.” It took us a year. But he just came alive after that and started living up to his full potential. Once his skin was cleared up, he was free to just be who he was and he’s this very talented musician and singer. I loved helping Andrew and watching him come out of his shell; it was truly life-changing for him and inspiring for all of us.
SF: Do you have plans to open more clinics ?
KS: Yes, I do. I just have to get there ! In the past few years, I’ve been working really hard with the major retailers we sell through now: Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Sephora and QVC. In the future, I hope to have a concept to move forward with, nothing like what’s out there now. A place where you can go and have a face tune-up… maybe like a Starbucks for your face !
SF: What are some of the new and exciting treatments and products you’re working on now ?
KS: I think in the future what we’re going to see are advancements in stem cell growth and that’s going to have a very big impact on skin care. Our latest break-through product is the Cytocell Dermal Energizing Treatment . I had a doctor come to me with a peptide, called P-199. This doctor conducted a lot of research on this peptide; we used it to develop a revolutionary moisturizing product that’s great for all skin types. It refreshes and helps restore your skin’s radiance and it does so many things. It hydrates and smooths, it firms – it really helps with fine lines and wrinkles. Our clients are using it and really loving what it does for their skin’s radiance.
SF: In your book, you talk a lot about the foods we eat and the effect they have on our skin. So tell us, what are your guilty pleasures ?
KS: Bean and cheese burritos, chips and salsa. And a good margarita !
SF: I know you have a son, but if you had a daughter, at what age would you let her have a Botox treatment ?
KS: NEVER ! No one messes with my babies ! ( laughing ) You know, I’ve had Botox; I hope it’s safe. I’m 41, and I still want to look hip and cute just like everybody else. But with my own daughter ? I would just teach her how to take care of her skin at a young age, so she could avoid those kinds of things later !
My thanks to Kate Somerville and also to Neiman Marcus in Scottsdale. It was there that I first received samples and tester products from the Kate Somerville Skin Care line, which I have been using and love.
Here’s what I’ve tried with great results: Multi-Active Repair, Lifting and Lineless Cream Moisturizer, Exfolicate Intensive Exfoliating Treatment, Multi-active Lifting and Lineless Eye Cream. The eye cream is the bomb-diggity !
Here are a few photos from Kate’s personal appearance at Neiman’s.
If you would like to learn more about Kate’s skin care line, you can contact Lisa at 480-990-2100, for an appointment.