Behind-the-Scenes with The Spa Dr.

Coconut and leaves on background

This month marks The Spa Dr.’s fourth birthday. And as I look back on how far we have come, I feel grateful! You may not know this, but I created The Spa Dr.’s Daily Essentials Skin Care System out of necessity. During my first 14 years of seeing patients, I never dreamed of creating a skin care line. But when I couldn’t find skin care products to recommend that were both natural and effective, I felt I had no choice but to create my own. After all, I was known as “The Spa Dr.” at the Waldorf Astoria in Park City, and my patients were demanding products that not only were clean and natural but also worked to help keep their skin vibrant-looking. 

With all the work I was doing to help them clean up their diets and lifestyles, I definitely didn’t want them to reach for toxic skin care products. And, when I asked estheticians and dermatologists for recommendations, they replied, “you have to choose between natural or effective because you can’t have both.” 

Following a Dream

My father, who passed away last year, was my biggest advocate for following my dreams and never accepted “NO” as an answer without doing some research. So, I dug into the research, and that’s when I realized that many natural skin care lines on the market were missing certain keys to help support healthy skin.

First, I discovered skin care products claiming to be “natural” and “hypoallergenic” actually don’t have any regulations to follow. Because of this, these words technically have zero meaning. That means it’s up to the manufacturer to determine the definition. Unfortunately, most manufacturers are more concerned about how much profit they can make than if the products contain ingredients that are safe for your health. Even if the product says “natural,” it’s important to look at the ingredient label and check to see if all of the ingredients are safe for you and the planet.

Then, I realized that many skin care companies marketed as “natural” only included one or two ingredients that were nutrient or plant-based. When looking at the formulas, it was apparent that they were using one ingredient as a marketing feature, but there wasn’t enough of the natural active ingredients to actually lead to results. During my research, I learned how essential it is to have a formula containing the right combination of natural powerhouse ingredients that are in their active form and in high enough amounts to make a real difference.

As I continued to look at research on what makes topical products protect and enhance the health of our skin, I learned about the importance of maintaining the pH of healthy skin. With skin being on the surface of our bodies, one of its main roles is to protect us from the outside world. The acid mantle and skin microbiome help with this barrier function of the skin. And when the pH and microbiota of the skin are compromised, it can lead to “leaky skin.” (If you’ve heard of leaky gut, it’s similar.)

In this state, our skin is more prone to issues like eczema, acne, rosacea, and premature aging (accelerated fine lines, wrinkles and sagging skin). Simply put, our skin does not look as vibrant as it can be when the pH is not supported correctly. Many skin care products are formulated with a pH that is too high. Even water is too high for our skin’s acid mantle to thrive!

The Three Qualities of Natural, Effective Skin Care

What I learned along the way is that there are three key qualities that natural and effective skin care need to offer:

  1. They are free of hormone-disrupting chemicals and toxins, 
  2. They contain key nutrients in their pure, active form
  3. They are the perfect pH for healthy skin.

Most skin care products fail to meet even one of these criteria, much less all three, so I set out to find a formulator to help me create my own. Fortunately, one of the speakers who was in my online skin summit was able to help me out. When I told her what I was looking for, she was delighted to help me create The Spa Dr. Daily Essentials skin care system.

That was the easy part!!!

The next steps involved creating the logo and design, packaging, and deciding on the right essential oil blend for the scent. 

And then… I knew I wanted to sell my skin care online, but how

I had to hire people to help me set up an online store, find out how to get traffic there, write content, and help bring it all together for an online launch. With a team of just a few people, including one employee and a few independent contractors, we were able to get the products up and create an online store.

Launching The Spa Dr.

In 2015, we were finally ready to launch. When we introduced The Spa Dr. skin care products online, I must admit, we were blown away by the response. We knew the products met my stringent criteria, but it’s our customers who really let us know the results. The testimonials immediately started flowing in. First, they were from my friends and colleagues who were my early testers and then from our customers. 

The next year, my book, Clean Skin from Within, hit the shelves and became a USA Today bestseller and hit #1 on Amazon in two categories. That month, along with my PBS show tour around the country, The Spa Dr. website started to get more traffic and help more people find answers for their skin care questions. 

Since then, The Spa Dr. has continued to sell the same Daily Essentials skin care system with no changes to the formulas, only to the containers (which are now 100% recyclable). We also carry supplements to help address the root causes of skin issues. And, it’s our VIP customers who continue to be our biggest raving fans.

To accomplish all of this and ensure a successful launch, I was pulling money from my other business to set all of this up. To this day, I have never taken money from outside sources. I’ve completely self-funded The Spa Dr. as the sole owner. Even though I have received several inquiries from companies and individuals wanting to invest or even purchase The Spa Dr., I’ve turned them all down. I have a mission for this company and our products, and if I have anyone join me, they have to be aligned with my goals and vision. 

And, I know that many of you reading this believe in this vision. I have helped thousands of patients over the years, but I am still moved by the flood of positive emails and messages from our customers. When I hear, “Dr. Cates, you’ve changed my life!” I know that I am making a difference. One time, I even received a phone call from an actor who told me his makeup artist asked what he’d been doing because she didn’t need to put makeup on him for the TV commercial!

What I’ve learned from all of this is that you actually can have a simple skin care routine that’s easy, affordable, natural and gives you visible results, regardless of your skin type or age. You just need the right skin care routine. And, that’s exactly what we have at The Spa Dr.!

Finding Your Natural Beauty

As a woman in my mid-40s who has struggled with fickle skin, I realize having radiant skin doesn’t get any easier with age. But, that doesn’t mean you have to put up with skin challenges, such as uneven skin tone, redness, rashes, bumps, breakouts, and premature wrinkles. You just need some inner and outer nourishment to support graceful aging, a clear complexion, and your natural beauty. 

And, that’s what leads me to my real mission here at The Spa Dr…. My dream is to support you in falling in love with your skin so that you have the courage to step fully into your inner radiance. Because that’s when your real beauty shines brightly!

The Future of The Spa Dr.

So what’s next for The Spa Dr.? Well, I have some exciting news!

We are getting ready to release SIX NEW PRODUCTS! Wow, right? We’ve been busy surveying and connecting with our customers about what they need and want. And, we’re thrilled to offer three new skin care products and three new supplements. These will all complement our Daily and Deluxe Essentials skin care systems, as well as the principles, taught in my book, Clean Skin From Within, and our current line of award-winning supplements.

And, we continue to give back. Last year, after I took a visit to Uganda with my daughter, we started giving a portion of sales to Just Like My Child Foundation, and we will continue to give back to organizations helping women and girls in need of extra love and support.

Customer Testimonials

You’ve heard my story over the last four years, so now it’s time to hear from our customers…

This system is giving me the best results out of any other skin care system I have tried in the past and believe me, there have been many! Great quality products, I would definitely recommend them. – Ana H.
I love these products! My skin feels so much smoother and I’ve had more compliments at work commenting on how I glow, than with any other product. – Andrea D.
I can’t say enough about how this skin care system has changed the appearance, texture, & feel of my skin!! My daughter says my skin is glowing now!! – Elizabeth L.

Getting Started

Are you interested in The Spa Dr. line, but not sure where to start?

Your skin is a magic mirror that gives you valuable information about your overall health. What is it trying to tell you?

I created The Skin Quiz to help you! Find out if you’re an Amber, Sage, Olivia, Emmett or Heath skin type so you know where to start with your self-care routine. And when you do take the quiz, I hope you will explore the content we have to offer, whether it is on the podcast, blog, or in my book, Clean Skin from Within. After all, the next four years, and beyond, are starting right now! I hope that you will join us.

If you enjoyed this blog post, sign up for more helpful tips and special offers from The Spa Dr.


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Reader Interactions

  1. A FAN FROM DAY 1 IT IS A PLEASURE TO PASS ON THIS LITTLE BLOG TO A FRIEND THAT HAS A TEEN AGE DAUGHTER TAKING DRUGS TO CONTROL HER ACNE AND THUS GETS INSANE SUNBURNS,
    AKKKKKK THIS IS SOOO WRONG.
    THANK YOU OVER AND OVER FOR KEEPING YOUR FAITH IN YOURSELF AND ALL OF US OUT HERE CHEERING YOU ON!

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Free Gift!

pearl and rose petal exfoliant

The Spa Dr. Turns 4 this month! As our gift to you, a FREE Pearl and Rose Petal Exfoliant will be included in every order. No need to add it to your cart!

Free Gift!

The Spa Dr. Turns 4 this month! As our gift to you, a FREE Pearl and Rose Petal Exfoliant will be included in every order. No need to add it to your cart.

pearl and rose petal exfoliant