Interview with a Mustela professionalJune 2015

For 15 years or so, Dr Clarence de Belilovsky has been working as a consultant dermatologist with Laboratoires Expanscience and Mustela. She spends two days a week with them, and the remaining three seeing patients at her surgery. We talked to her about the experience and how much this collaboration has brought her.


What made you decide to work for Expanscience in addition to your medical practice?

Throughout my training, I couldn't decide between a hospital career or a career in the pharmaceutical industry. I did a postgraduate diploma in "cutaneous biology and cosmetology”, a research area that could quickly lead to practical applications. And then one day I was lucky enough to be asked to work with Expanscience. But I definitely did not want to give up my patients. It was not easy reconciling both, but over time I succeeded in striking a balance between my surgery work and the work I do for Expanscience.


What is your role with Expanscience… and more specifically with Mustela?

I report to the R&D division and I have three main roles. First of all, I keep up-to-date with what is happening in the industry: I read publications, I attend conferences and I make sure I know about all the latest research breakthroughs in children' skin, the safety of cosmetics products, etc. and I pass this on to Expanscience. So when a product is being developed, I can provide information if there are any questions about a particular molecule, a skin disorder or anything else.

I am also involved in maintaining relationships with outside doctors: I serve as an intermediary between the most well-known specialists in their particular fields and Expanscience, organising research programmes or joint scientific papers.

I also work with the marketing and R&D divisions, developing new products. I advise them on the levels of quality required in order to meet the needs of doctors and their patients, as well as on the clinical trial protocols that always have to be implemented when a new formula is introduced.


Could you remind us what the main specific features of babies' skin are?

At birth, a baby's skin is not yet mature. Various functions such as moisturisation, defense against infections, heat regulation and resistance to UV light take several months or even several years to develop. A baby's skin is also thinner, more sensitive and more permeable. Particular attention therefore needs to be paid to the active ingredients used in cosmetics for babies.

But in addition to being so fragile, Laboratoires Expanscience have also discovered that babies' skin contains a unique wealth of stem cells that are extremely active at birth and over the first few months of life. Research has demonstrated the need to preserve these cells by protecting the skin with the help of suitable cosmetics.


In your opinion, which are the most useful and innovative Mustela products?

I appreciate all of them, but one that is particularly worth mentioning is Diaper Cream 1 2 3 which is very useful and effective. It is the result of studies into the inflammatory potential of children's skin and the mechanisms of irritation, and contains a number of patented healing active ingredients.

As a dermatologist, I'm also particularly impressed by Stelatopia, a range of very effective products for treating eczema-prone skin. These are extraordinary products which contain a highly unusual active ingredient extracted from sunflowers.

Among Mustela’s other products, I also like nutri-protective Cold Cream and hygiene products that do not require rinsing which are very pleasant and very practical, leaving the skin soft and cleaning it without damaging it.


And which Mustela products are most appreciated by your patients?

As soon I mention Mustela, my patients all exclaim: "It reminds me of my childhood!” They particularly appreciate the very recognisable fragrance that products in the range have. And everybody is extremely satisfied with Stelatopia.


What are you most proud of as far as your collaboration with Expanscience is concerned?

First of all, I'm very pleased with just how long this collaboration has lasted. At the beginning, I would never have believed that I was going to spend 15 years working with this laboratory. Working with Expanscience and Mustela has forced me to broaden my knowledge in areas that I am certain I would never have looked into just by being a surgery doctor.

And I also like being part of a team. Medical practitioners are "loan wolves" – we are trained to have one-to-one relationships with our patients. Thanks to Expanscience, I have had to learn how to work as part of a team – and that has been very enriching for me. I greatly enjoy working with people who are not doctors… people from different areas.

And I'm very proud to have been able to make my little contribution to a number of ranges! And I love getting comments from my dermatologist colleagues about these products.


How has this collaboration contributed to the work you do with your patients?

You can be a good dermatologist without knowing exactly how skin works. But thanks to my work with Expanscience, I attend conferences and I read publications which have helped me gain knowledge in specialist fields such as microbiology and the skin's barrier function. I can then present these concepts to my patients in ways they can understand.

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Already half a year has passed since you gave birth to your little bundle of fun. Within just six months, your fragile newborn has been transformed into a happy and chatty baby who is curious about the world around them. Make the most of this cheerful, endearing period, when everything will make your baby want to smile, shout, discover and experiment.