In our Lab Talk series on topics like health, skincare, and beauty Tomorrowlabs regularly invites experts and scientists from all around the world to provide insights into their daily work and the latest industry trends.
Today, we introduce someone who may already be familiar to you: Dominik Thor, CEO and co-founder of Tomorrowlabs who gives us insights on the beginning of Tomorrowlabs, his favorite Tomorrowlabs products and more!
Tomorrowlabs: As CEO of Tomorrowlabs you deal with a lot of business decisions, but could you tell us a little bit about your background as a scientist and researcher?
Dominik: My mother is a doctor with a specialization in internal medicine, a medical specialty which deals with the complex prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of internal diseases. I remember visiting her at her place of work frequently when I was still a young child and hearing fascinating stories from the hospital, which played a significant role in my wish to become a doctor. Later, during my medical studies at the University of Vienna, I discovered my interests lay more in the development than the clinical application of new technologies and I ultimately studied pharmaceutical sciences with a concentration in pharmaceutical chemistry - which focuses on the discovery and development of new drugs - at the University of Florida. Impressed by people with an entrepreneurial mindset, I also studied business administration and economic sciences. This turned out to be a great decision, as now a large part of my day-to-day responsibilities is linked to managing our company. As a researcher my main concern is the application of new scientific findings from a broad range of medical and pharmaceutical fields, such as longevity research, to product development.
Tomorrowlabs: How did you meet your co-founder Dominik Duscher and why did the two of you decide to start Tomorrowlabs?
Dominik: When we first met through a common friend, Dominik Duscher was still working at Stanford University in California but was already considering his return to Austria. What he shared about his research, the way cellular signaling can be optimized to achieve improved wound healing and in turn skin quality, was utterly fascinating. I instantly saw the many possibilities of the application of such mechanistics not for medical but rather aesthetic purposes. Also, Dominik is a fun guy and very enthusiastic about his work and I liked that. When we met again after his return to Austria, we soon started brainstorming about other use-cases this concept be used for. But at this point we were considering a lot of options and did not realize we would soon immerse ourselves in the fascinating world of cosmetics.
Tomorrowlabs: So you did not always plan to build a cosmetics company?
Dominik: Actually, we only knew that we had a fantastic idea at hand– namely focusing on the innate cellular regenerative capabilities of our body to achieve optimal aesthetic looks. Marketing experts sometimes make people think, their body is less important than the products they want to sell you, but it is always the other way round. All healing and regeneration is done by our body’s complex biophysiological functions and always starts in our cells as the smallest building blocks of our body. Only if you can promote cellular regeneration, you will achieve the greatest visible effect. When we started developing what later became our HSF technology we had many use cases in mind, some medical some cosmetic. So Tomorrowlabs truly started as a biotech company. Our decision to make cosmetic products was influenced by the great study results we achieved already with our first formulations. We feel very lucky that we can work in this fantastic industry.
Tomorrowlabs: What were the biggest obstacles Tomorrowlabs had to overcome?
Dominik: In regard to the research and development of our cosmetic products, we were faced with a number of challenges. Influence on regenerative pathways has only been shown via pharmaceutical means aka the use of drugs. For a commercial cosmetic product this option was not available. Therefore, we first had to identify suitable active agents that fulfill all important characteristics of what people nowadays call “clean beauty” – cosmetic ingredients that are not harmful to you or the environment and if possible are also vegan, gluten free etc. Then we had to devise formulations that show maximum effect, penetrate into the skin and the cells of that outer layer of our body while also fulfilling the consumers’ wishes for fast absorption, a silky texture and a great smell. I can tell you that our first prototype worked just great in terms of visible results but was not what you would an ideal cream. It felt and smelled more like a medical salve back then. We are very proud of our success in overcoming these challenges and ultimately creating great cosmetic products with a luxurious touch and visible effects.
Tomorrowlabs: Do you have favourites among the Tomorrowlabs products line?
Dominik: I always say that I love all my children the same. Each product has a very specific use it has been designed for. Still, I personally use some products more often than others. Having a naturally oily skin I tend to use our lighter serums, which I often combine. The Vitamin C Essence for instance has become a regular part of my evening routine especially in summer, as the combination of HSF and vitamin C is a great way to regenerate the skin and combat the oxidative effects of solar radiation.