Show Me The Woman - Hearst Magazine interviews Claudia Fallah
HEW: Hi Claudia! Tell us about Claudia Fallah Cosmeceuticals…
They’re products that help skin to heal. Made from all-natural organics ingredients in high concentrations, and with no harsh chemicals like steroids or preservatives, they accelerate healing of conditions like rosacea, burns, allergic reactions, infected acne and eczema. I always say ‘give me the worst skin and I’ll deal with it’.
HEW: What led you to launch your own product range?
When I moved from Berlin to London and opened my own skin clinic in Paddington Street I found it very difficult to access the natural organic products I was used to in Germany. These products were made from natural ingredients and produced in a biodynamic way, meaning they worked in a gentle but effective way to heal damaged skin. But importing them proved complicated. By this point I’d trained as a beauty therapist and had specialized in skin trauma – skin that needed extra help to heal. So getting the right products to do it was essential.
HEW: Why skin trauma in particular?
Growing up in Berlin, when I was 17 a man attacked me with a broken bottle. The attack left my face shredded and almost unrecognisable. I was in hospital for a month and although I’ve been left with some scarring, thanks to the natural products we use in Germany my skin healed incredibly well. So I had a very personal reason for wanting to help people with damaged skin.
HEW: What effect did the attack have on you emotionally?
It was completely terrifying and I was devastated when I saw the state of my face. But I’m a strong person. I grew up in West Berlin, separated from my dad’s family on the Eastern side, so I was used to having to be strong. My dad had escaped from East Berlin as a young man by lying in a water tunnel for three days. We’re made of tough stuff in my family. So I decided the attack wasn’t going to define me – it was just ‘wrong time, wrong place’ and my attacker was jailed for it. Instead I was going to do something to make my life matter.
HEW: How did you go about doing that?
I trained with dermatologists, homeopaths and cosmetic surgeons in a clinical environment to learn about natural ways to accelerate healing of scar tissue. Once I’d taken the exams and gained the knowledge to treat people myself I soon gained a good reputation from offering my services in a variety of London clinics, treating people with anything from burns and acne scars to skin damaged by chemical peels.
HEW: And now you have your own product range…
Yes, once I got fed up of the problems I was having with accessing the German products I was used to – this was back in the 90s remember! – I worked with a scientist to create my own organic Intensive Repair Cream that speeds up cell renewal. The results are incredible. At first it was for salon users only, but it got so popular that I made it available to retail. My whole range is now available from my website and on Amazon Luxury, and is excellent for anyone with very sensitive, inflamed, damaged or problematic skin.
HEW: What role does skincare play in empowerment?
I know first-hand how women feel when they have skin problems. You can’t hide your face, so if you have damaged, angry skin it can be quite debilitating and lead to major confidence issues. I’ve dedicated a great deal of time to developing products that cure some of the toughest skin conditions and I genuinely care about giving women skin confidence.
HEW: What have you learnt from becoming an entrepreneur?
There is no point doing it if you don’t love what you have chosen to do as a business. Because if you don’t love it you will not have the passion to overcome the daily challenges that will be thrown at you. But if you have the passion, knowledge, persistence you will have fulfilling moments that will charge your batteries to step up to the next task and future rewards – and these can be emotional rewards as well as financial ones. There will always be two things you will need more of and these are time and money, so make sure you keep these topped up when you can, not when you need to!
HEW: You’re an inspiration to anyone who’s ever been attacked. What advice would you give them?
You can never forget an attack like that. I still have scars on my face, but I’ve worked hard to erase the emotional ones. Just because someone else has treated you as a victim it does not mean you have to treat yourself as one from that moment on. You can rise above it and even draw strength from it. Also never be afraid of asking for help if you are feeling that you cannot overcome the trauma.