In Conversation with Osmia Organics (and a deluxe sample giveaway!)
Osmia Organics founder, Sarah Villafranco MD, has a serious passion for plants. In 2012, Sarah redirected her career in emergency medicine to start Osmia, which she sees as her own brand of medicine for your skin, your senses, and the earth. We sat down with Sarah to talk about her transition from medicine to skincare, her experience with perioral dermatitis, and what she's most looking forward to in 2019. Find out which Osmia products work best for perioral dermatitis, and which one will be featured in our deluxe sample giveaway while supplies last!
You used to work as an emergency room physician before starting Osmia. You clearly have a thing for guiding and nurturing people, whether through medicine or through thoughtfully crafted products. Does your old life in the ER feel a million miles away from Osmia, or do you still feel connected to that part of your life?
The ER feels far away, but I still feel quite connected to the practice of medicine - at least the kind of medicine that makes sense to me. I miss the madness of the ER, the amazing nurses and techs, and taking care of patients. But, I don’t miss leaving work drained and discouraged about the human condition, and feeling like I didn’t have time to empower people when it came to their health. Osmia allows me to talk about wellness in the context of preventative, daily practices, from diet to fitness to skincare. And it smells a whole lot better than the ER did.
Even though she died before Osmia was born, my mother has been a big influence throughout Osmia’s journey. She took up watercolor painting in the year before she passed, and I’ve tried to weave that watercolor feeling through our packaging. She was a shining example of an approachable, lovely blend of strength and elegance, which has inspired much of our branding. And the loss of my mom at age 64 made me acutely aware that aging is a privilege, thus influencing the kind of language we have chosen to use (and not use) in our marketing.
As for industry influences, core green beauty brands like Kahina Giving Beauty and Tata Harper have paved the way for the rest of us, and served as incredible inspiration to me over the years. Founders like Shirley (W3LL People), Tara (Meow Meow Tweet), Jana (Captain Blankenship), and Suzanne (One Love Organics) have become true friends and trusted consultants in the industry. Being part of the rising tide of green beauty and seeing how we support each other has been a steady point on the compass for me as we navigate growth, helping us all stay true to what is really important in the development of a conscious business.
What works best when trying to calm perioral dermatitis (PD)? Has your experience with PD inspired any specific products?
Less works best for PD, and it’s the hardest thing to do when your instinct is telling you to wash and tone and scrub the condition away for good. People with PD often have flaky skin in addition to the redness and bumpy texture, and the urge to scrub is overwhelming! But it’s not what inflamed, broken-down skin needs.
Oil is also a bad idea for PD. Instead, PD wants water soluble ingredients, a discovery that guided the development of our Active Gel Toner and Purely Simple Face Cream. They’re both aloe-based, and have a very soothing effect on dermatitis. The cream has a small oil component, but much less than an oil serum or a richer cream, both of which will exacerbate dermatitis.
Lastly, the Black Clay Facial Soap seems to be a superhero product for PD-afflicted skin. The mineral-rich Dead Sea mud and black clay have a calming effect for most people with PD, and for many people with breakout-prone or combination skin. I first noticed my own PD symptoms diminishing when I created the soap, and now have seen loads of others experience similar relief over the years. It’s truly a holy grail product for me.
We're very attached to our Osmia favourites, but we also love trying new things. Is there anything in the works at Osmia you can tell us about?
We have seasonal soaps and Craft Series Body Oils and Mousse releases happening all year long, which our customers love just as much as we enjoy making them. We are working on increasing the shelf life on a couple of core products, and we have one new product slated to launch in 2019, but I’m not quite ready to let you in on the secret! As soon as we’re finished testing the formulas, I’ll be sure to start dropping hints.
This time of year is brimming with potential, there's so much to look forward to! What are you most excited for this spring and in 2019?
Well, I just visited Toronto in March, so that was one spring thing I was jazzed about, of course! For 2019, I’m looking forward to lots of educational writing and speaking, more podcast interviews, and fun events with our retail partners. I love meeting our customers in person, and helping them tap more deeply into their own power to feel healthy and beautiful. If that’s not medicine, I’m not sure what is!
While supplies last, every order over $50 (before tax and promotional codes) will receive a deluxe sample of the Osmia Black Clay Facial Soap.