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Turn the pages of the Fall 1988 issue of Skin Inc. magazine, and the first column you’ll see is “Q & A” written by Marion Simms. She tackled questions about tretinoin, the topical form of vitamin A; sterilization and sanitation; and the risks of indoor tanning. She also served on the magazine’s advisory board through December 2001.
Inspired by her parents, who were both independent business people, she left a corporate job at an oil company to study for a career in skin care. After graduation in the late 1970s, Simms worked for Guinot in Europe and South Africa, until company owner Michael Thibiant offered her a new position in the United States. In 1982, she traveled from England with the desire and independent spirit to find opportunities that have kept her at the top of her game.
Once settled, she opened SkinSense in Los Angeles, and offered skin care and body services. She also was a member of the Society of Cosmetic Chemists (SCC) and, in the late 1980s, expressed concern about the lack of postgraduate esthetic training in this country. An SCC chemist she knew put her in touch with Jean Allured, a publisher who was launching Skin Inc. magazine to help fill the void and offer estheticians more technical information and procedure how-tos. That sparked the business relationship between Simms and Skin Inc. magazine.
“For the most part, in the 1980s, the training focus was on state-level licensing with no real postgraduate training,” Simms says. She will agree that education today has evolved, including information about cosmetic chemistry, but also will be the first to add that there’s still more work to be done.
According to Simms, the learning curve has risen because there’s a new breed of clients—they are savvier, more retail-oriented, and they know what services they want. “They have a better appreciation for their skin on a day-to-day basis. For example, in the 1980s you couldn’t get clients to use sunscreen; now they won’t leave without it,” she says.