Meet the doctors sharing their skincare secrets

Entrepreneurs

The Secret is a growing online prescription skincare company helping patients save time and money and have better skin.
The Secret skincare founders, skin clinic owner Dr Clara Hurst (right) and GP Dr Deb Cohen-Jones (left)
The Secret skincare founders, GP Dr Deb Cohen-Jones (left) and skin clinic owner Dr Clara Hurst (right)

When skin clinic owner Dr Clara Hurst and GP Dr Deb Cohen-Jones met four years ago they were both dissatisfied women. They were seeing challenges that could be done better for people needing prescription-based skincare.

The formulas available that were easy to access were so low strength that they would take a long time to work, it they worked at all. Medical strength skincare needed a doctor’s appointment, a referral, then a specialist consultation, then a trip to the pharmacist to fill a prescription, and it could all take a very long time to get appropriate treatment.

“We wanted to change that. We wanted to make it more accessible to the general population in a responsible way,” says Hurst.

In March 2019 as Covid-19 led to lockdowns throughout Australia, the Perth-based doctors took what they were offering in clinic and created an online store that could give access to The Secret skincare, with an online consultation. The skincare issues they were seeing were anything from acne, to rosacea, pigmentation or sensitivity to products, or clients wondering what they might safely use during pregnancy.

Advised by the consultation information, the doctors personalise each treatment, have them compounded and ship to anywhere in Australia. The service has built incredible customer relationships, with education about skin conditions, and close supervision so each handmade product is suitable for the person’s condition.

“It’s actually for everyone who wants to have healthy skin, not just people with skin conditions,” says Hurst.

Cohen-Jones says it’s something for every stage in life whether it be pre-wedding, during and post pregnancy, people going through puberty, menopause, stress and anxiety and every other stage or event of life.

The Secret hit $1 million in sales within its first six months and net sales in 2021 of $2.65 million. Orders jumped to more than 9000 in 2021 and the doctors believe they are on track to grow the business to around $7 million in revenue in 2023.

“We want to educate the population to make good choices for their skin care. We are both genuinely doctors. Every person gets a personalised treatment plan that they can integrate with the products they are currently using. There’s an online chat and patients can contact us as part of the service. That’s our point of difference.”

Hurst agrees and says one of the biggest drivers of customer relationships for The Secret is educating people about their options and then seeing the results. “Our business is growing through education. We do a lot of online education to help people to understand their skin and what they need.”

In the next 12 months, the doctors want to build a non-prescription range that won’t require a consultation, but will solve everyday skin conditions and they want to build support products that are basic essentials that customers are asking for. They are looking at partnering with other clinics in the UK in 2023.

“The ingredients are tried and tested and personalised for each customer’s needs. We know they work,” says Hurst.