Rodan + Fields / Blog / Doctor's Notes

Multi-Med Therapy: Dermatology-Inspired Regimens That Deliver Transformative Results


When Stanford-trained dermatologists, Dr. Katie Rodan and Dr. Kathy Fields, launched Rodan + Fields in 2000, they had already achieved monumental success with this kind of comprehensive approach to acne with the founding of their three-step system. But, as they saw in their own dermatologist offices, they knew there were more skin concerns and conditions beyond acne that consumers sought to address. Through the utilization of their “Derm to Doorstep” approach, Dr. Katie Rodan and Dr. Kathy Fields built the science-backed brand focused on delivering products that provide professional level results to everyone.

What sets Rodan + Fields skincare apart?

Dr. Kathy Fields: Skin conditions are common, complicated, and therefore, difficult to create a product that does it all. It is important to break out skin concerns, because of their complexities. You have to focus on the ingredients that work together as a collaboration to get efficacious, reproducible results.

The uniqueness is in our science and Multi Med Therapy approach. We believe there is no miracle in a jar or single agent. We do not believe in magic that would allow you use a product now and get forever results. What you need is a Regimen that you stick to you can see the long-term benefits for healthy, successful aging. We don’t release a product unless we truly believe in its superiority in formulation, as well as clinical and visible results. Not only do we clinically test each of our products for performance, we also clinically test it within the Regimen it’s part of to ensure there’s a synergy between the products

Dr. Katie Rodan: As dermatologists and as product developers, we’ve always had our pulse on both the skincare and pharmaceutical markets. We believe that a Regimen-based approach is the best way of solving skin issues. We look at the underlying problem, the pathophysiology, in order to understand what is going wrong inside of the skin to cause the condition in the first place. Using that information, we build a comprehensive skincare Regimen, making sure that every step counts and treats the problem most effectively. It’s holistic and allows our products to give people the best skin of their lives.

What led you to create the Multi-Med Therapy approach? Did you see a gap in the market?

Dr. Katie Rodan: I always ask my patients what products they’re using. One woman told me about her elaborate 6-step ritual made up of a number of very expensive products. When asked whether she was seeing a difference and receiving compliments, she hemmed and hawed. It was clear to me, and at that point obvious to her, that given the time and money invested, she should expect more; a real improvement in the quality of her complexion. With Multi-Med Therapy, each ingredient is carefully chosen to be the right quantity and quality to enhance the impact of all the ingredients within the formula. Once formulated, every product contained in a Regimen prepares the skin for the next step and addresses a specific aspect of the cause underlying a skincare issue. Using over-the-counter medicines and cosmetic ingredients which are elegantly formulated, the synergy of our products delivers powerful results.

Dr. Kathy Fields: The vast majority of people self-treat their skin problems because access to dermatologists is limited. We felt compelled to create more products to treat other skin challenges beyond acne. No one has perfect skin. Everyone is dealing with some kind of complexion hurdle, and as dermatologists, Katie and I know that it’s never just one thing causing the problem that you see. There’s a multitude of issues going on beneath the surface that need to be addressed in order to take hold of the problem and create noticeable changes in your skin. The synergy in using all products in a Regimen is the key to success.

Dr. Katie Rodan: Each product undergoes its own rigorous testing to prove it can stand on its own two feet, but it is the sum of all the products working together that creates the best results. Look at it this way, the benefits of every step allow the following step to work to its maximal potential. 

Ingredients: It’s easy to get sucked into cherry-picking products based on of-the-moment ingredients, but they often don’t deliver visible results they claim to provide. Why is that?

Dr. Kathy Fields: When you shop for skincare based on ingredients and you are looking for certain buzzworthy terms, you may end up with miscellaneous products that aren’t designed to be used together and are not one unified system working together to produce results. You may have selected two products with efficacious formulas, but when paired together, they may cancel the other out and fall apart – leaving you with no benefits and inadequate means to get the visible results you’re after. The origin of all skin conditions is complicated. We understood that neither a “miracle molecule” nor spot treatment product could adequately attack the underlying causation of a skin issue. The activity of each ingredient we use is important, but equally important is getting the ingredients to work together, both within a single product and within a multi-step Regimen.

Dr. Katie Rodan: You cannot assess the efficacy of a product based on a list of ingredients. For example, take eggs, butter, flour and sugar, mix them together in a bowl, and you make a pancake. Take the same ingredients, but use higher quality versions, in different proportions, carefully combine them, bake in a ramekin, and voila, you have a souffle. Same main ingredients producing completely different results. So, in a way resembling a recipe, it’s the formulas that determine the activity of key ingredients and performance of a product. We use the best of tried and true ingredients along with newly discovered ingredients setting a high bar for performance.

Formula: When building a skincare routine, is the type of formula just as important as the ingredients used? Or should we mainly be looking for ingredient names?

Dr. Katie Rodan: Understanding the molecular and chemical nature of each ingredient, we know what type of formula or vehicle optimizes it, such as, an oil in water or water in oil base. We don’t use ingredients for label copy or “fairy-dusting”. Using key actives in the right dose, in an optimal delivery system allows them to perform at peak level.

Dr. Kathy Fields: We’re doctors, but we’re also women, so we understand how important texture, scent and feel is to getting people to stick with a product routine. We put as much work into perfecting the aesthetics of our formulas as we do into their efficacy. The quality of the ingredients matters and how they are mixed together makes huge differences in the ultimate performance of that formula. We focus not only on ingredients but also on their delivery systems. For example, with Retinal-MD Technology in REDEFINE Intensive Renewing Serum, we were determined to find a delivery system that would eliminate the potential for the skin irritation that comes from Retinal, a more potent form of Vitamin A. The material in Retinal-MD Technology is called Hydroxysomes Retinaldehyde. It utilizes a calcium buffer system to encapsulate the Retinal molecule to minimize the potential for irritation, making it gentle enough for almost all skin types, including sensitive skin. This specific delivery system also stabilizes retinal since it is inherently unstable.

Regimen Order: How important is it to use a skincare routine consistently use when targeting skin concerns? Does it really make a difference?

Dr. Katie Rodan: Compliance is key to achieving results. If you make something too complicated with too many steps, especially if a consumer is not quickly seeing results, it ends up being dumped into a product graveyard in their bathroom drawer. By numbering all our products, we make it easy and straightforward to use a Regimen. All you do is follow the order. You can rely on us to do the job of figuring out the products, the ingredients and the sequence of use. Because each step is essential to achieving the overall beneficial results, don’t skip steps or use the products from other lines in piecemeal fashion. Through making Regimens that are easy and a joy to use, people will stick to it as a daily ritual and experience the benefits. As dermatologists, we have close relationships with our patients, and we want to build that same type of relationship with our customers. At different points in your life, you may be dealing with a skin problem. We want you to know that we’ll always be there for you, with the right products, to give you the best skin of your life.

Dr. Kathy Fields: Our Multi-Med Therapy approach takes the guesswork out of selecting a skincare routine by providing a complex set of ingredients and technologies that work in a simple step-by-step way for the problem customized to you. Ingredients are purposefully combined, given the perfect vehicle to deliver their benefits (liquid, cream, gel, etc.), and applied in the right order to produce maximum effectiveness and results. We wanted to design a Regimen that consumers will really commit to and enjoy using without skipping any step as their daily (twice a day) routine. A simple three-step regimen ensures compliance, meaning you stay on it, to get visible results. If you don’t see a change in your complexion after using our products for the suggested amount of time to see results, we ask that you return them so we can get you on the right Regimen.

Dr. Katie Rodan: We know from an evolutionary standpoint is that the most important factor of attraction between people is the quality of your skin. How you take care of your skin every day makes a bigger difference in your appearance today and how your skin looks in the future than any procedure we do in our practices.  And when it comes to your skin and your appearance, only natural beauty counts. I have learned over the years as a dermatologist, no one has perfect skin. At some point in our lives, we all have a skin issue that that prevents us from feeling and looking our best. And to deal with these common skin concerns from aging to acne, most women use foundation to hide and camouflage these problems. It is my belief and experience that using the right skincare program, will help get your skin in such great shape that you don’t have to wear the mask of makeup.

Dr. Kathy Fields: Now, it’s the ritual. Some people drive across town to get that cappuccino. Others don’t care where it comes from and will settle for it from a machine. Be that person that drives across town. When it comes to your skin health, the quality of the ingredients and how they are working together matters.

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