More Than Meets the Eye: Memphis-based Silicone Arts Labs finds an alternative to plastic surgery with a product to conceal imperfections
One hot day in June, Sarah, our magazine editorial intern, and I drove the two blocks (it was that hot) from our office over to the Silicone Arts Laboratories to hear about a new product they invented and manufacture right here in the Bluff City called Dermaflage. Expecting a stereotypical “lab” setting, we were both a little shocked to walk into what was more akin to a haunted house.
No, it wasn't covered in cobwebs or spiders, and there were no witches or pumpkins, but there were silicone-made body parts such as ears, eyes, noses etc. on display. Clearly, we hadn't done our research. Once the creepy factor subsided, we sat down with Oscar Atkinson, CEO of SA labs, and Matt Singer, inventor of the Dermaflage product, anaplastologist, and former Hollywood special effects makeup artist to learn more about what SA Labs is doing with their new product.
Q: Tell me about Silicone Arts Labs and your business partnership:
Atkinson: “SA labs formed in 2001 to commercialize the Dermaflage product. He's [Singer] the creative and artistic genius behind the inventions and I'm the business side of the equation to commercialize his inventions.”
Q: What is Dermaflage and how did it come about?:
Atkinson: “After working in Hollywood [on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, and Robin William's Bicentennial Man among others], [Singer] realized he could use the same skills that he was using to make monsters, and bullet wounds, and vampires to make people feel whole again after being in an accident or having skin cancer or what have you. He came to Memphis about six years ago to work with cancer doctors who were doing reconstructive surgery, and he would build ears, eyes, noses of silicone. This is something that's so realistic I could be wearing one and you wouldn't know the difference. Through this work he came up with Dermaflage which is between a full prosthetic but better than what traditional make-up can do. Its a very advanced way to cover a scar or wrinkle but in a format that any consumer can use at home, essentially using silicone to replicate skin.”
Singer: “Dan Rather from CBS at the time had a cancer removed from his nose, and the makeup artist had contacted a company that I owned and asked if we could come up with something to help him. So, that was the inspiration. It wasn't in its final form 'til about 2006 when I recognized the texture pad. Dermaflage is made of medical grade silicone and is 100% safe to use [on the body]. It can be used in situations where the patient isn't a candidate for a skin graft either because of an issue with smoking or they're on blood thinners. It's like the most advanced band aid available.”
Atkinson: “Once set it can last for 36 hours. You can go swimming, you can exercise, you can walk outside in Memphis and not have it come off. It's kind of like a band aid in that it only comes off when you want it too. The product has really changed lives since we launched it in 2011.”
Utilizing Memphis College of Art graduates to color match one of their 11 swatches for specific skin tones, and their patented texturizing pad leaves a matte finish taking the realistic look one step farther. With simple, easy to follow steps, anyone can use Dermaflage to conceal any skin imperfection from wrinkles to scars. Using e-commerce as its main method of marketing, the now a 7-person team handles customer service and distribution all over globe, and they are about to have their second showing on QVC. Atkinson and Singer have found that there isn't a real reason to be in a retail store since word of mouth marketing has been doing so well. The word gets out through consumers sharing their own personal experiences with their peers. Atkinson does say that eventually he'd like to be in a brick and mortar store and potentially partner with Ulta, Sephora and the like to showcase the benefits of Dermaflage first hand rather than a video. But for now, they are letting the results speak for themselves.
For more information about Silicone Arts Laboratories or Dermaflage please visit siliconeartslabs.com or call 901-654-3499.