Beautytap Founder Spotlight: Gerard Camme of Element Eight Skincare
Jun 13, 2023
The beauty industry vet on his new skincare brand Element Eight, his beauty philosophy and lessons learned.
Gerard Camme is no stranger to the world of beauty. A revered fixture in the industry, he’s recently embarked on a new journey. Enter luxury skincare line Element Eight. Developed alongside biomedical engineer Andy Carter and entrepreneur and PhD Brad Pratt, the brand is placing oxygen—which just so happens to be the eighth element on the period table— center stage.
That’s because “oxygen really creates a healthy cellular environment,” says Camme, and that translates to better, more youthful looking skin. And Camme, who is president and CEO of the brand, believes his trio of oxygenated face creams, O2 Peptide, O2 Squalane and O2 Hyaluronic Acid, each priced at $250, can do just that.
Element Eight may well be on its way to reaching cult status and everyone from high-end estheticians like Sofie Pavitt, to celebrities, including One Direction’s Niall Horan, Pink, Megan Fox, Sam Smith, and Mary J. Blige, are taking note.
Here Beautytap gets candid with the born and bred Queens, New Yorker about Element Eight and all things beauty.
What drew you to the beauty industry and what do you love about it?
I actually had no desire to be in beauty because I was a fashion junkie forever. I was working at Giorgio Armani at the time, and I got a call to work at Fresh and thought it was a mismatch at first. I met Lev [Glazman] and Alina [Roytberg] and it was interesting, and I liked why they were interested in me. With beauty, in an instant, you can see somebody's whole demeanor change. We do great things. I love this industry because of that.
Last November, you launched a new skincare line: Element Eight. Why this brand and why now?
Until I met Brad [Patt], one of the founders on the team who had this concept that was about to be put into skincare that came out of spine surgery, I thought “this is extremely scientific.” When I understood what they were doing for spine surgery, I thought if we can apply this to skin, we would [corner] that whitespace in the market, we would talk over the clutter and have a very distinct voice. That was about five years ago; it took a while to bring it to market.
Why is oxygen so important to the skin and how does Element Eight capitalize on this through its signature technology OATH—Oxygen Amplified Therapy?
Oxygen is carried to your skin cells through hemoglobin in the blood. Oxygen is a gas that likes to escape, and if you didn't have hemoglobin in your blood, oxygen wouldn't get to where it needs to be. Getting oxygen to your skin cells helps keeps your cells healthy. Without oxygen, you don't get cellular turnover. Unfortunately, by the time we're 25 years old, you're getting 25% less oxygen through your bloodstream.
OATH was developed for spine surgery because your bones, your skin, your ligaments are all made of the same tissue, just different densities. You go to the surgical site of the spine, you remove the bad part of the spine, and you reconnect it with bone fiber, with bone grafting materials. Eventually, that tissue grows capillaries to enhance the blood flow and make that environment healthier. But it takes a long time, about 12 weeks to get there. We realized that if we could saturate this bone fiber material, this demineralized bone - and we do that with our proprietary complex of PFCs (perfluorocarbons) which carry oxygen while disabling it from escaping at the surgical site - what typically took 12 weeks for healing, we get to that in two weeks thanks to our OATH saturated bone graphing material.
Fast forward to encapsulating it in skincare, if we could bring that oxygen that you're being deprived of to your skin cells we could [get over] a lot of hills. And because oxygen is a gas, if you're applying it topically, it has the ability to penetrate 700 microns deep. So, we're delivering 20 times more oxygen to your skin cells and that's creating the healthier cell environment and battling the signs of aging—elastin giving way, sagging skin, discoloration, and fine lines and wrinkles. Also, when you have a healthier cell, the other ingredients that are part of your skincare, whether it's hyaluronic acid or peptides, work more efficaciously.
Oxygenated skincare is not new to the market, though…
You’re right. [But] you can’t deliver the amount of concentrated oxygen that we deliver unless you have our proprietary ingredient which acts just like the hemoglobin does in your bones, which doesn’t allow oxygen to escape. So yes, there are other oxygenated products out there, but our delivery system and the way we encapsulate it and carry it is unique and patent pending for us.
Element Eight launched with three hero products— O2 Peptide, O2 Squalane and O2 Hyaluronic Acid— why lead with these three?
We started with face creams because we felt that was the most universal. We knew we wanted peptides to be number one because all of our formulas in the three face creams address your everyday aging concerns. The creams are going to hydrate, smooth and create even skin tone. The way you would choose from the three is if your major concerns are fine lines and wrinkles, then you would go to O2 Peptides. If hydration is a major concern, you would go directly to O2 Hyaluronic Acid. If you're someone who has aggressive face treatments, whether it's microneedling or you're exposed to extreme cold or heat or your skin tends to be a little bit inflamed, you go to O2 Squalane, because that formula is reparative, calming and soothing. And we recommend that you layer all three of the creams; they are all beautiful textures.
What is your ultimate dream for Element Eight?
I want to build Element Eight into a brand that people look up to and gets worked into many routines, while always remaining credible and authentic. I say keep it simple, keep it authentic, keep it real, and evolve.
You’re a self-proclaimed beauty junkie. Is there one product, besides your own, that you’ve come across that is an absolute game changer for you?
Because I've been pretty religious with a skincare routine, it would take a lot to have one product really change my life. [But] I do remember back in the late 2000s, when I was still at Fresh, we had a franchise that was called Ancienne and we launched, which to me was foreign at the time, an oil for your face. I was probably in my 30s or 40s and I had very oily skin and the thought of putting an oil on your face, I just didn't understand it. But this oil was amazing, and it had so few ingredients. It was filled with fatty acids, omega-3s and omega-6s. It was like a miracle. I still use it. The night before I have a big day, I'll put it around my eyes and those omega-6s just fill the lines. You wake up in the morning and your eyes look great.
Any lessons you’ve learned in this industry that have really stayed with you?
Just keep moving. Today's setback is a lesson, and you use it to your advantage, and you improve on it tomorrow.
Do you have an overall beautiful philosophy?
Keep it simple. Keep it natural. Use good products, don't distort your face. It's so upsetting to me when you see somebody who looks a certain way and then you see them a couple of years later and they're a completely different person. Everybody's natural beauty is there. Don't overdo it.
What beauty and self-care rituals do you regularly practice for optimal wellness?
Well, my skincare routine— morning and night— is critical. I never leave the house without sunscreen, which is not what I did as a kid because I just didn't know better. I exercise a lot. I drink a lot of water, and then on certain days I drink green tea, because I find it just helps get rid of the toxins for me.
What do you think it takes to be seen and succeed today in this industry?
You need to be extremely adept at communicating digitally. We need to have a compelling story to tell in our social feeds. We need to have an amazing site that continues to tell our story and evolves. Making a strong digital footprint is critical. In fact, five years ago, when we talked about bringing this brand to market, I thought I'd leverage my relationships in the industry and knock on their doors and say “hey, I've got a new brand let's do business together.” COVID taught me the opposite. I think the demands on brands and retailers today are greater than ever. You need to give them something really special.
Finish this statement: When I think of beauty I think of…
Rozalynn S. Frazier is an award-winning, multimedia journalist, and certified personal trainer living in New York City. She has created content for SELF, Health, Essence, Runner’s World, Men’s Health, Money, Reebok, Livestrong, and others.