Having experienced a QMS Medicosmetics facial only recently, I had a fair idea about the brand and the products but when an opportunity to interview the brand’s founder, cosmetic surgeon and lecturer Dr. med. Erich Schulte, was presented to me, I was excited and very, very nervous in equal measure.
As a child I was a bit of a tomboy, preferring jeans to skirts and climbing the trees with the boys to dolly tea parties, so as a consequence I was familiar with the inside of my local A& E and the doctors had to stitch my face and head up a few times ( nothing drastic, don’t worry, if anything I was on the first name basis with them and bombarded them with questions while they did their job, much to the amusement and relief of my parents ). Since then I have also been in the hospital to give birth to my children but touch wood, I have never needed the help of trauma or plastic surgeon and getting an opportunity to meet one was a little daunting-would he be a little too full of himself, as some surgeons are, would he be very clinical and uninterested in the questions of a journalist-all those issues were buzzing in my head as I entered QMS Medicosmetics Spa, which is located in Chelsea, just off Sloane Square.
Dr. Schulte, a serious looking but handsome silver-haired gentleman, was sitting by the window, together withthe managing director of the PR agency and his right hand woman, Valentina, answering the questions of another journalist. I heard faintly him talking about QMS facials and the journalist saying that she recently had some kind of procedure-I opened my mouth to tell her how wonderful the medical facials at this Spa actually are, but decided against it-after all, it isn’t polite to infringe on someone else’s conversation, especially as I haven’t been officially introduced to Dr. Schulte as yet ( he later gently berated me for it, saying that I should have mentioned my own experience ).
The journalist left and the introductions were made. I felt a bit nervous but after a gentle exhale, I started with asking Dr. Schulte about himself, his professional background and how he ended up developing his own skincare line.
He was born and raised in Germany and studied medicine, becoming a traumatologist, specialising in head injuries. At the time ‘there were no safety belts’, some of the injuries were very significant and required reconstructive, as well as facial surgery, which in itself is very physically demanding on the person who performs it. In order to get to the bones, the surgeon needs to cut through the skin and sometimes patients ‘made requests to have this or that done to them’ at the same time, from the aesthetic point of view, so Dr. Schulte realised that he could do that and he started performing what is called ‘cosmetic or aesthetic surgery’. Our face in particular is like our identity card and by looking at us many people make almost an instant judgment, so a surgeon carries a bit responsibility in the surgery’s final result.
While doing his University studies, Dr. Schulte was involved in scientific research into wound healing and the most important thing that came out from that research was the realisation that without collagen, there would be no wound healing. A good surgeon always tries to make sure that the wounds aren’t visible, especially if they are on the face-in as much as they can really achieve that realistically, of course. Dr Schulte also realised that if collagen is essential for wound healing, it must also be good for skin in general. However, natural collagen molecules are too big to penetrate the skin, so he developed a technique to ‘condition’ collagen, so it can penetrate deeper into the skin layers. Collagens are the most important proteins in your skin ( 67% of our skin’s proteins are collagen ), which are responsible for maintaining moisture and elasticity. So from the age of 25-30, the quality and quantity of our collagen starts to decrease and that’s why ‘you start to get the wrinkles’. What in effect QMS Medicosmetics products do is act as the ‘replacement therapy’ by increasing skin’s ability to maintain moisture, so as you age you can give your skin a more ‘youthful look’. Or as Dr. Schulte put it to me ‘of course, you can’t turn biological clock back, but you can look younger’. It’s like being short-sighted-you put glasses on, and you can see. This is effectively what we do at QMS Medicosmetics’.
Out of his daily, clinical routine Dr. Schulte developed some treatments which are custom-made for spa beauticians, so they can achieve results by using the products on clients, which normally could only be achieved by having medical grade prescription only. QMS stands for ‘quick medical skin problem solver’ and it is a system of products that, if used correctly, according to the aesthetician’sadvice, will guarantee visible results, which are both clinically proven and are absolutely safe. The products are OTC ( over the counter ) products that anyone coming into QMS Medicosmetics Spa can buy, use it at home and get the results. Dr Schulte uses only the highest quality ingredients and preserving skin’s barrier function, the most important protective shield between inside and outside. You don’t want to have a detrimental impact on this barrier by sandblasting or needling because you want to keep ‘the bad out and the good in’, as Dr. Schulte puts it. This is done via nano technology or galvanic currents or using special stem cells, when you come to the Spa for the treatments.
There are two types of cosmetics-‘passive’ like a cream that you put on the skin to maintain its quality for as long as possible or, you have what Dr. Schulte calls ‘active cosmetics’ that help to change the structure of the skin for the better.
I wanted to know how long did it take to develop the products and whether they were initially tested on his own patients. Dr. Schulte started his answer by saying that when a woman has the facelift, the quality of her skin doesn’t get changed as the final result. If your skin is dry and blood supply is compromised, you are more likely to develop secondary wound healing than when you skin is kept in its optimal condition, whatever you age. All of doctor Schulte’s patients, three months prior to the operation, had to go on a special skincare maintenance programme, which included alpha fruit acids, as well as collagens. And very quickly patients started coming back, raving about the improvement in their skin condition and asking where they could purchase those products. The truthful answer was ‘nowhere’, as Dr Schulte custom-made those products for each of his patients. The demand in ‘Microcosmos’, Dr. Schulte’s clinic was becoming too high, as word spread and friends and relatives of the patients wanted those products for themselves too. So Dr. Schulte’s wife, who is Dutch and who is a very astute business woman, suggested that he starts making those products available for purchase (first batch was launched in 1986 ). Products started selling so well, that soon a factory in Germany needed to be found in order to satisfy the demand that quickly went from the initial order for a hundred creams to a production of thousands. Currently there are 450 outlets in Germany alone, as well as in Austria, Switzerland and BeneLux countries and the brand’s current fastest growing market is South Africa.
I ask Dr Schultewhether his products are sold in Russia and China and he says that Russians for example, are very critical, yet when you convince them with your work, they become very loyal clients. He was one of the keynote speakers during Moscow’s 750th anniversary celebrations and was planning to launch his products initially in Moscow but they got confiscated by customs and he was let down by his’ technical’ translator, who, didn’t know terms like ‘a dermal layer’ for example. So as things stand at the moment Russians tend to buy the products mostly in Berlin and actually a few of the QMS Medicosmetics Spas are run by Russian personnel-there are a lot of Russian expats in the country, so not all Russians are in London .) A lot of Russians are discovering QMS Medicsometics in Cyprus, in AnassaResort and then many of them, who live in the UK, come back armed with brochures to QMS Medicosmetics Spa in London and stock up there ( most of them don’t buy just one product, but try to buy the whole line of them ).
The first products that Dr. Schulte launched were the exfoliating fluid and the collagens ( now known as the ‘classic set’ : exfoliant fluid, day collagen and night collagen ).
When I ask Dr. Schulte from what age would he recommend using his products, he says that they have products catering to different skin needs. For example, the ‘Sport Active cream’ ( I have been using it since my meeting with Dr. Schulte and have to say that it is better than any BB cream that I looked at on the market ), which gives you a hint of colour, like a tinted moisturiser, protects your skin from free-radicals, as well as offers an SPF15 sun protection. This product can be used when you are as young as 16 or 17, when you don’t require to speed up your skin’s turnover process yet might want to hide some minor imperfections when you are out and about. It is also very important to cleanse and tone your skin from your 20s, hence you can use QMS Medicosmetics Deep cleansing emulsion or Freshening tonic ( I have used both and they definitely get my seal of approval. To be honest, until I sat down to talk to Dr. Schulte I was of two minds about the toner in general-another gimmicky product, what does it really do, apart from taking extra time from your speedy skincare routine – was my way of thinking about it. But it actually helps to clear the dirt, if any gets left post-cleanse, as well as keep the pores open, to allow for deeper products penetration. You should never use soap on your face, because as Dr. Schulte says ‘it clogs your pores rather than open them’. It really is a choice-Dr. Schultecompares it to ‘going to Harrods and buying the latest flat screen but not buying the TV antenna for it-so your end up with a blurry picture’. Toner increases the blood supply, opens the pores-it’s like ‘technical health’ if you like. ‘One size fits all doesn’t go in this category’ you do need separate products-a cleanser and a toner to suit your skin type and needs.
Scrubbing-how often? Dr Schulte’s answer? ‘You can do it mechanically or you can do it smart’. His Exfoliant Fluid can be used as often as once a day. You don’t keep it on for longer than five minutes maximum and obviously observe your skin’s reaction. He goes on to explain to me that the cradle of the skin is a…membrane. Then skin goes up to the top of the skin, as it loses nucleus and dies. Normally it takes 28 days from cradle to surface and then dead skin stays there for twelve days. So to start with, the life span of a skin cell is 42 days. The older we get, the thicker the ‘dead’ layer becomes, slowing down turnover of the skin. The inter-cellular glue binds those skin cells together and the older you get, the stickier the glue gets and the fruit and hydroxy acids and enzymes in ExfoliantFluid just dissolve this inter-cellular glue, making it easier for dead, unwanted skin cells to disappear-that’s why you have the ‘smart peeling’. So you don’t need the ‘mechanical’ i.e. the abrasive scrub particles to get rid of the dead skin cells skin and with 10% fruit acid you cannot do any harm to the skin.
Dr Schulte not only developed the skincare range he also created Intravital, a nutricosmetic supplement for the skin, which contains Collagen Hydrolysate, vitamins, micronutrients, Coenzyme Q10, as well as Resveratol, which is a very effective in fighting free-radicals that are very damaging for bothour skin and our bodies. He hold a firm believe that the doctor needs to be honest with the patient ( ‘we don’t sell dreams but we can guarantee visible results’ )and thus, the patient or client will set up a realistic, not too high a benchmark. The creams ‘aren’t going to get read of the wrinkles but they will make you look much better. Be honest and say what you can and can’t do-that is essential’, says Dr. Schulte.
Can you combine QMS Medicosmetics products with other ones, I put to the Doctor? Well, it’s always your choice how you use your skincare but if you mix different brands you can create inadverse reactions. QMS currently has 25 products in its range, so it is ‘overseable’ and the consultant will only recommend things that will work uniquely for you skin, depending on various factors. As I have written recently in the post about QMS Medicosmetics facial, what sets it apart from many others, is that your face is not just thoroughly examined but certain issues like milia are addressed, which your regular facialists might not be keen or trained to do. So the fact that the plastic surgeon is behind this range and he has years of practical, as well as research and lecturing experience on the subject, gives you as a client a much better understanding of the ageing process and the way that you need to look after you skin.
Retailers are always keen to make a profit and want a quick turnover but Dr Schulte tells his team ‘not to oversell’. If you use too many products or use the products not suited to your skin, your skin will react and there will be problems. The Spa uses the same products that you would at home, the difference is that they have the equipment and can do different things with them during the facials, the things that you won’t be able to replicate at home.
Raw ingredients are in general conserved with parabens, when creating skin and bodycare formulations, is it safe I ask Dr. Schulte? He says that there are quite stringent European regulations when it comes to cosmetic ingredients. There are different parabens and they do play a role, so of course you have a choice what you use on your skin and you have to remember that not all of them are harmful, as many sources will lead you to believe.
Nano technology, what does he think of it? ‘Nanozoneisa transport vehicle and it depends on you, as the formulator or product creator what you upload it with. If you have a good product, you will want it to get deeper into the skin, so it works more effectively but there is no way that it will penetrate the basal membrane between epidermal and dermal layers. The regulations control the fact that you don’t go beyond that’. Dr Schulte compares smart technology to the effect of you sitting in one room, knocking on the wall behind you and asking for the coffee-you haven’t moved yet the coffee is brought to you from the kitchen, which is located behind the wall on which you knocked. Nanoparticlesare neutral in themselves, so it all comes down to what it is loaded with-good or bad staff.
We move on the subject of whether the skin will get used to the product, if you use it again an again. Dr. Schultegivesme an example of a person who does drugs, like heroine-one starts with the dose and then the dose gets bigger and bigger, until one day the person takes a ‘golden shot’ and dies. The same can apply to alcohol-remember how giddy you felt the first time you drank a glass of beer or wine? Your level of alcohol tolerance is probably different now and you won’t get tipsy or drunk after one glass, would you? You don’t need to change your products monthly or even quarterly, but it’s a good idea to ‘review’ your skincare and the results that you are or aren’t achieving every six months or so.
What should skincare maintenance be like for women in their 30s or 40s? Dr. Schulte says that a regular facial is always beneficial. I put it to Dr. Schulte that science isn’t standing still, there is always something going on, will in time the need for facelifts disappear completely? His reply is very simple-skin’s epidermal layer is very fine and very thin and you work with product in the epidermal layer but you can never recreate the lifting forces-gravity will always remain gravity. And a facelift doesn’t and won’t eliminate wrinkles. So by the time you reach 55 or 60 ( the age depends on various factors, in big part on your family genetics, as well as your diet, lifestyle and sun exposure ) , you do need to consider a slightly more invasive options-but that of course depends on your own perceptions of beauty and what makes you feel good.
With treatments like red-light therapy, Fraxel, Botox-would Dr. Schulte recommend them? He nods in approval to Botox, saying that ‘ with correct use you can eliminate ten years off your face. Take the t-zone for example-you cannot cut it, as cuts will be noticeable. Hyaluronicinjectionsare known for its good effect. You do have to be careful with implants and products that don’t get dissolved by your body’. And do remember that our skin gets more atrophic as we age.
Dr. Schulte has turned patients away when he thought that they didn’t need any surgery but his skincare was developed with most women’s ages and skin concerns in mind. Of course, if you have severe acne for example, you will need to see the dermatologist first and foremost.
What makes Dr Schulteparticularlyendearing, in addition to his great charm and an almost naughty sense of humour ( he does like to joke and smiles a lot ), is that he genuinely thinks that women are special. He is happily married and has three grown-up daughters ( when we met he actually was in town because one of his daughters was due to give birth-so it wasn’t business led, it was very much a father coming over to make sure his daughter was safe and happy ). Dr. Schulte also considers himself very lucky because he is surrounded by women ( he has a wonderful female team and you can see a very easy, comfortable rapport when the conversation flows and the understanding of principles is the same ). He also gets his ideas often from talking to his clients or his family or team members- ‘Sport active cream’ was one of those products ( it was suggested to him that when a woman does active type of sports, like tennis or skiing, she wants to look groomed but not appear like a sweaty clown whose paint is running down the face ).
Another product, that was just launched this weekend in Berlin, was inspired by the skincare changes that one of Dr. Schulte’s daughter’s experienced during her first pregnancy-a Body Perfecting Duo, which is a two product set, with a Pro-body exfoliator and Revatalizing Lift-o-Firm Body. So in a way, his professional life is driven and enriched by female desire to look and feel great about herself, whatever the age.
I honestly raise my hand and say that one of the things that I notice, as I get older, is that your ‘youth glow’ isn’t as prominent and the skin starts to look a bit more uneven. Dr. Schulte laughs and suggests that I use QMS Medicosmetics and see the results for myself ( based on the wonderful experience that I had with my facial, it’s hard to contradict, as I am currently using the QMS cleanser and toner in the evenings and have to say that my skin wholeheartedly approves ).
Dr Schulte is a bon vivant, who loves his work and who is passionate about life in general.We talk about jet-lag ( he has retired from active surgical practice seven years ago but he travels extensively promoting his products / Spas, attending ingredient fares, where he selects ingredients for his skincare range. Add to that his world-wide lecture circuit and you get the picture of how busy his professional schedule still is ).
He also loves his food, particularly Italian cuisine and says that the best placers to eat are tiny ones where simplicity rules-‘pasta, pommodoro sauce, basilica, parmeggiano-you have a glass of Amaronne and you have the best life ! ‘ ). And when you look at Dr. Schulte, in his smart but casual clothes, his relaxed attitude and a twinkling in the eye, you really wouldn’t take him for a surgeon-he says people rarely guess his profession and he is more likely to be taken for a hot-shot lawyer or a disco owner.
Sugar is bad for the skin. Does one need to stay away? Dr. Schulte frowns for a second and then says that ‘if you want to drink your coffee with milk and sugar, than this it what you should do. You should enjoy life-moderation is key, you don’t have to stay away from everything you love’. If you eat a good diet, then all the nutrients should already be there for your body consumption and disposal. A good supplement does help-he takes two of QMS Medicosmetics Intravital daily.
Does Dr. Schulte have a favorite product, I ask him tentatively? ‘Hand cream is a life savier’, he says. As a a surgeon, he used to wash hands 30, 40, 50 times a day, so he developed a practical hand cream that is very easy to use. Once applied, you can touch your laptop or documents within 30 seconds-no residue, no problem, just sweet smelling, clean, soft hands.
If there is anything that I take away from my meeting with Dr. Schulte is that he is a very happy man who still feels passionate about his work and his products and what drives him is not the desire to prove himself or to make a profit for his business, but to help women look their best by using the properly chosen skincare products. We are more affected by our hormones than men, especially as we go from puberty to womanhood, from pregnancy to becoming mothers. We change and so does our skin and Dr. Schulte, with his practical and academic experience can help us navigate life, while becoming more self-assured and happy in our own skin.