Marisa Vara Arredondo ’97 pursued her lifelong passion to create the pH optimized skin care line “Phace Bioactive,” which is being sold at retail outlets across the nation, including the Stanford Bookstore and Saks 5th Avenue.
Arredondo’s personal struggle with acne has fueled her search to solve the issue of adult acne.
“The reason I started the line is that when I was a teenager and when I was graduating from Stanford, I had really bad acne,” Arredondo said. “I tried everything. Accutane worked temporarily when 17. But the acne came back my senior year of Stanford. That’s when I really resolved to take care of my skin care issue. That’s when I spent the last 12 years as an analyst, investing in biotech and skincare companies and developing my own line.”
Arredondo, who graduated as an STS major, credits the interdisciplinary education she received with helping her both as the CEO of her own company and as an analyst on Wall Street for 12 years.
“The skills that I learned about critical analysis and integrating science and technology have directly translated into all the jobs that I’ve had,” Arredondo said.
Arredondo emphasized the importance of understanding all aspects of her business.
“As a leader that wants to run a business, you really have to have your hand in everything so you can tell how it all works,” Arredondo said. “That’s what I learned in my major at Stanford. In learning different trades, you get a base of knowledge to be able to do much bigger things.”
As an analyst, Arredondo had to condense complicated chemical and biological data from medical abstracts and clinical trials and refine it for portfolio managers to understand.
“What I did in Wall Street is also what I’m doing at Phace Bioactive: taking a dense topic and explaining it simply to men and women so they are using proper skin care,” Arredondo said.
In making her line available at the Stanford Bookstore, Arredondo hopes to expose the college market suffering from acne to the importance of pH balance. According to Arredondo, “Phace Bioactive” is the first line of pH optimized skincare for men and women.
“We are doing things like using bathroom soaps, shampoos with sulfates and washing our faces with water at extreme temperatures that are stripping our skin of its natural acid layer,” Arredondo said. “I want to explain to men and women how to best protect skin’s naturally acidic pH. This is something I’ve wanted to do since I was 16, and today I am 40. It’s really a dream come true, a real labor of love.”
Arredondo approached the Stanford Bookstore to host her product over Homecoming weekend. At an event at the Bookstore, Arredondo launched her product, available in two lines: one for anti-aging and the other for anti-adult acne.
“We like to showcase great things that our alumni have done, so we thought it would be a great opportunity to get something new into the Bookstore, especially during Alumni Weekend,” said Alishia Natiello, marketing specialist at the Stanford Bookstore.
As of now, the products were just available for reunion weekend at the Bookstore.
“We are still working out the legal stuff to see if we are going to have them out all the time,” Natiello said. “People seemed definitely interested in having an option that was new and different from the skincare routine they normally do.”
Looking to the future, Arredondo hopes to increase distribution of her product to other department stores and to television. Her long term goals include making Phace Bioactive a lifestyle brand.
“pH balance is bigger than producing a product of the natural pH basis of skin,” Arredondo said. “It’s things that I do in my own life that contribute to my own pH balance: eat, exercise, sleep, think.
Contact Pallavi Krishnarao at pallavik ‘at’ stanford.edu.