A.P. CHEM Skincare: Inspired by Psychedelic Therapy

Launched this past October by founder and CEO, Sandra Statz and Dr. Sherwin Parikh, who is a Board-Certified Dermatologist and founder of Tribeca Skin Center, A.P. CHEM is a new skincare brand that has the goal to open peoples’ minds to psychedelic medicine for mental, physical, and spiritual health—a mission inspired by Statz’s personal journey following a life-changing medical diagnosis that led her to discover the vast benefits of psychedelic therapy.

The brand launched with its hero product introduced, microDOSE Magical Moisturizer, that delivers antioxidative, age-decelerating benefits that lead to brighter, smoother skin. The moisturizer features adaptoGEN8™, a magical blend of 8 adaptogenic mushroom extracts, and the brand’s proprietary hero product, KETAmino Acid Complex that is made up of naturally occurring neuropeptides and amino acids. A.P. CHEM is also a proud partner of The Ketamine Fund, a non-profit organization that provides free treatment to veterans suffering from PTSD and Women in Psychedelics.

I recently caught up with the duo to learn more about them, and their brand, and to understand the science behind it.

"We started our brand to address a white space in the market. We make age-decelerating skincare for Gen X and Xennials that doesn’t cost the equivalent of college tuition. We’re also self-proclaimed “cool nerds” who are always looking into innovation in skin science, shares Statz. “That’s one of the reasons why we formulate with a combination of classic and clinically proven Alt-Pharma™ ingredients. Another reason is inspired by my autoimmune and inflammatory disease. As I was being diagnosed, I looked to classic and alternative treatments, specifically psychedelic medicine, to help me cope with my new reality of chronic pain and the mental challenges that come with it."

"That is why our mission is to advocate for psychedelic medicine," continues Statz. "We understand that it’s not for everyone. We respect that everyone’s path to wellness is unique and deeply personal. We simply want to illuminate options. After years of formulation, we launched A.P. CHEM® to bring this concept to life - a science-forward, age-decelerating, skincare brand formulated with curated combinations of classic and proven Alt-Pharma™ ingredients for optimal skin renewal."

While the brand uses a blend of magical mushrooms, none of them will make anyone who uses the product hallucinate. "Our adaptoGEN8™ blend is indeed magical! It contains not one or two mushroom extracts, but eight! While we refer to magic mushrooms in the name microDOSE Magical Moisturizer™, none of them are psychoactive. The names of our products and our proprietary complexes are an homage to my experience with psychedelic medicine. Our eight mushroom extracts have a variety of topical benefits from hydrating, to calming, to smoothing,” explains Statz.

"Our proprietary KETAmino Acid Complex® is a reference to psychedelic medicine as well, specifically to Sandra’s experience with ketamine treatment. It’s also a game changer for age-deceleration through topicals. It features a curated combination of naturally occurring neuropeptides and amino acids. Our hero neuropeptide is Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid (GABA), also known as Nature’s Botox®. It helps relax tense facial muscles, reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and improve elasticity so facial contours appear more defined," adds Parikh. Statz goes on to tell me that she believes that A.P. CHEM is the first and only beauty brand advocating for psychedelic medicine. "We don’t include psychoactives in our formulas as we haven’t discovered topical benefits,” she tells me. To which, Parikh quips back, "Well, not yet!"

Since the brand uses ingredients that have Alt-Pharma properties, I wanted to know what that term meant since I was unfamiliar.

"When it comes to skincare, Alt-Pharma™ to us means ingredients that have clinically proven topical applications but are not commonly found in skincare. To be candid, typically because of cost,” responds Statz. “We work with reputable labs and ingredient suppliers to achieve numerous, high standards for our formulas. Among these standards include ethical sourcing as well as adhering to our commitment to be vegan, cruelty-free, gluten-free, fragrance-free, and dye-free. We would never use an ingredient that wasn’t already clinically tested and proven to be safe and efficacious."

Parikh adds that the brand’s approach to age deceleration is centered around inflammation. “I believe inflammation is a core component to virtually every skin condition if not health condition. This is why we include anti-inflammatory ingredients in all of our formulas. Our hero is Baicalin, which helps to strengthen the dermal barrier and neutralize free radicals, leading to lower levels of oxidative stress in the skin—creating a more optimal environment for skin renewal."

A.P.CHEM currently only has one product, microDOSE Magical Moisturizer, however that will soon change.
"We are very excited to announce we will be launching an eye cream and serum in March. All products have a curated combination of classic and clinically proven Alt-Pharma™ ingredients for optimal skin renewal, shares Parikh."

The brand sells direct through the website but is in talks with retail partners.

Statz tells me, "We initially launched exclusively on our site because we felt it was the best way to manage the verbal and visual communication of our unique mission, our tone, which is scientific yet witty (not sterile), and our values around diversity, equity, and inclusion." When I ask Statz if she considers A.P. CHEM to be professional grade skincare she explains, "We are very science-forward. We formulate with the most potent concentrations of key actives that make sense based on delivery method and skin concern, type, and tone. We don’t position A.P. CHEM® as professional grade, however I can’t think of a pro with more integrity, insight, and innovation than Sherwin, who is a pro in his field."

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