Dr Spiller Timeline

In memory of Dr Horst Spiller, Paul Fister of OmniDerm, takes a look back at how Dr Spiller Biomimetic Skincare came to be.

1959: In his late thirties, Dr. Spiller decided on a career change from industrial chemistry to cosmetics. One of his first steps was to connect with a beauty college near Munich to learn about the needs and wants of teachers and students. Their main concern was the lack of available information on the products, ingredients and formulations they were using.

Dr. Spiller realised an important requirement to producing good skin care was not only a thorough understanding of the structure and functions of human skin, but also an understanding of the formulations and ingredients being used to treat it. In one of his early papers he wrote, “We should be gentle with our skin – our creams and treatments do not interfere with its natural functions.”

Dr. Spiller founded his company. Initially, like most of his competitors, he focussed on the production of OIW (oil-in-water/water-based) skin care creams. His studies soon proved that the opposite emulsion type WIO (water-in-oil/oil based) was not only a better match for the skin's acid mantle, but it offered a number of significant advantages over OIW creams. He started to experiment and pioneer with new formulation techniques in an effort to overcome the heavy texture of commonly available WIO creams.

1964: Dr. Spiller had a massive breakthrough by discovering a method to produce WIO creams with an oil content as low as 19 per cent (oil contents of 40 per cent or higher are common for WIO creams produced with traditional technology, even today). To avoid problems of occlusivity he further refined his creams to form a gas-permeable lipid layer on the skin — closely mimicking the skin's acid mantle, its naturally protective barrier.

1965: Dr. Spiller released a cream which he labelled 'preservative free'. In fact, anti-oxidant vitamins C and E served a dual purpose as anti-oxidants on the skin and to prevent the oils in the cream from going rancid (contrary to Australian regulations, in Germany the second purpose of the ingredient does not need to be declared). After an investigation lasting several weeks, the Bavarian Health Authorities approved not only the sale of the product but allowed his claim of 'preservative free'.

Dr. Spiller was always on the lookout for new ideas and travelled widely to investigate new ingredients. During a trip to South America, he discovered the healing properties of Aloe Vera. This lead him to enter into cooperation with a farm in Brazil. The agreement was a 'fair trade' arrangement where Dr. Spiller agreed to purchase much of the farm's production on the basis that no chemical fertilizer or pesticides were used in the farming process.

1971: Dr. Spiller introduced an innovation which, at the time, aroused great suspicion — one of the first day creams with SPF. He was widely criticised for this revolutionary step which has since become common practice in the cosmetic industry.

1973: Dr. Spiller had not forgotten the early concerns raised by students and teachers at the Munich beauty college. He developed what he called the 'Kosmetikus', a box filled with 19kg of raw materials and ingredients used in the formulation of his products. He made this box available freely to beauty colleges for teaching purposes. Students now had the opportunity to learn basic cosmetic chemistry.

1979: Dr. Spiller further revolutionised the industry by removing most synthetic colourants from his products. The vibrant hues within the Dr Spiller range are all indicative of active botanical extracts. Azulene sourced from German Chamomile is indicated by the deep blue tones in Azulen Cream and Collagen Cream; Green Tea in the green-hued Sanvita Cream and Beta Carotene providing dual gold tones and potent antioxidant qualities. This method is still in use today with some exceptions to avoid significant variances.

1988: In a clear sign of 'product integrity' over 'marketing exploitation', the first export activities of Dr. Spiller products finally were undertaken, some 30 years after the company was founded.

1990: The reunification of Germany presented a great opportunity for the company; many highly educated East German beauty therapists who had been starved of good skin care products soon realised the benefits of Dr. Spiller's super-light WIO emulsions, resulting in rapid turnover growth for the company.

1993: In a further development to the 'Kosmetikus', Dr. Spiller released the first edition of his Woerterbuch der Kosmetik (Dictionary of Cosmetic Terms). His book quickly became a prescribed text for students of beauty therapy in Austria and Germany. The fourth and last edition was released in 2007, the year of Dr. Spiller's retirement.

1994: Export activities started in earnest with USA, Hong Kong and Portugal. From 29 export markets in the year 2000, Dr. Spiller Biomimetic Skin Care grew to 44 countries in 2007.

2007: Dr. Horst Spiller, now aged 87, decided to withdraw from daily participation in his business. He passed the reins into the capable hands of his son, Manuel Spiller MBA, who has since introduced a modern corporate image and a number of innovations whilst maintaining the values, heritage and qualities he inherited from his father.

Visit OmniDerm.com for further information about Dr Spiller Biomimetic Skincare.

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