When Barb Paldus’ 10-year-old son developed a skin allergy to a common preservative found in most skin care products, she took matters into her own hands.
She used her background as a biotech innovator and entrepreneur to develop the first skincare line to offer “nutrition labels” on their products, challenging the industry to be more transparent and accountable for their products.
Codex Labs, a science-based biotech company focused on creating effective, plant-based skincare, was born out of Paldus’ frustration with the lack of affordable, effective products to treat common skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, acne, and rosacea.
Dr. Paldus, fluent in five languages with a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University and 40 patents to her name, has built successful companies that do everything from detecting greenhouse gases to creating equipment that makes vaccines and cancer treatments.
But it was her motivation to help her son and the “many moms like me with kids who have skin conditions that are genetic” that led Codex Labs to develop over-the-counter products that are clinically tested for efficacy and have even earned seals from the National Eczema Association and the National Psoriasis Foundation.
The company did so by devising a patented preservative system and focused on protecting the skin’s microbiome, which often gets disrupted by the use of conventional skin care and topical treatments.
Codex’s first-of-a-kind “nutrition labels” set its products apart from traditional formulas.
“Customers deserve to know,” Dr. Paldus told The Cool Down of what exactly goes into skincare products. “I wish the whole industry would start doing this.”
After solving her son’s skin allergy when he was 10, Dr. Paldus decided to tackle his next skin issue when he turned 13: acne.
“To some extent, he drives our product roadmap,” Paldus said with a smile. “My dream is to take on Accutane and get the same results with plant-based biotech ingredients.”
Next up, she says, will be fungal infections and jock itch (not kidding), as well as tackling other challenging skin conditions like rosacea.
“We’re looking at the whole over-the-counter skincare space, because these products haven’t changed for a very long time,” she said.
Codex has also developed a full line devoted to protecting skin from pollution, as studies show that increasing pollution is making our skin worse.
Particulates in the air land on your face and can cause irritation and inflammatory responses, which can worsen skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis.
When it comes to sustainability, aside from using plant-based ingredients, Codex doesn’t provide frivolous samples because, as Dr. Palus says, “I don’t want to crap up the planet.”
All of the company’s packaging is recyclable and sourced sustainably in North America, and all tubes are made from sugar cane.
So what advice does she have about where to start with clean, sustainable skincare? Get sleep, drink enough water, get outside, and get exercise.
When it comes to products, Dr. Palus advises that most people just need a good cleanser and a good moisturizer.
“Less is more,” she said.
Follow The Cool Down on Instagram and subscribe to our newsletter.