Nurse expands medical skin care startup

Pellé Medical Skin Care products aren’t prescription strength, but neither are they drugstore pick-up items. They have a higher level of active ingredients than drugstore brands, and must be sold from a physician’s office, but no prescription is required.

Chris Klueh, who co-founded the business with partner (and fellow nurse) Debbi Gittinger, says Pellé’s products cost roughly the same amount as department store cosmetics, but are formulated to penetrate deeply into the skin, addressing issues like dryness, acne, premature aging, rosacea and even skin damage caused by chemotherapy and radiation treatments.

Klueh says she always recommends three core products: a vitamin-C serum to protect skin, a sunblock to moisturize and prevent sun damage and a retin-A cream for nighttime use. She also offers treatments, sometimes called “peels,” though she warns the term is misleading; most of her treatments require little time away from the sun or normal activities.

“We have a microexfoliation treatment that can be done every five to six weeks, and that’s what patients mostly come in for,” she says.

Nurses at Pellé schedule consultations for patients, keep track of appointments and recommendations on medical charts, and often refer those in need of additional help to local dermatologists. Because her services are cosmetic, they are not covered by standard health insurance plans, but the staff treat consultations like any other medical appointment and maintain charts to track patients’ progress.

“We see so many people get frustrated with the way their skin looks. It looks dull or they don’t like the crepe-y skin around their eyes,” Klueh says. “The beauty of medical skincare is that we can correct the premature aging process. Everyone’s going to go through the natural aging process, but we can correct some of the early onset wrinkles and damage.”
 
By Robin Donovan
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