Dermatologist Naana Boakye Launches Namesake Skincare Brand

After starting body care brand Karité with her sisters and working with celebrity brand incubator A-Frame Brands as chief medical officer, dermatologist Naana Boakye is stepping out on her own.

Her new brand, Dr. Naana Beauty, is designed to avoid contact allergens and incorporate evidence-backed ingredients from Ghana, Boakye’s home country, chosen specifically to support the skin barrier, the outermost layer of the skin that wards off environmental stressors and protects against damage. According to market research firm Mintel, 70% of consumers were paying more attention to their skin barrier last year compared to the year before.

“One of the key things that I’ve realized when I’m treating all of these inflammatory conditions such as acne and eczema is that we want to maintain barrier health,” says Boakye, who’s seen 18,000-plus patients over the course of more than 15 years as a dermatologist and is in private practice at Bergen Dermatology in Englewood Cliffs, N.J.

Launching today with the tagline, “Your skin health comes first,” Dr. Naana Beauty’s products are $45 Fresh Face Cleanser, $75 Cocoa Barrier Cream and $60 Cocoa Brightening Gel Mask. Out of the gate, Boakye believes Cocoa Brightening Gel Mask will be the brand’s hero product. Of the cocoa in the product she says, “It’s a fantastic antioxidant, but it also has ceramides. It has resveratrol, green tea extract, all of these yummy ingredients that maintain the health of the skin.”

Dr. Naana Beauty founder and dermatologist Naana Boakye

Dr. Naana Beauty joins an increasingly crowded field of dermatologist-founded brands. Dr. Idriss, Lightsaver, Btwn, Brownkind, Trnr Skin, Vetted Dermlab and Remedy are a few of the newest ones. Boakye poured $100,000 into getting Dr. Naana Beauty off the ground. In an Instagram post, she thanks the many companies and people integral to that process. Among them are manufacturer PhytogenX, design firm Dorothy Oge Design, creative agency White Honey, digital marketing agency Vox and branding agency JM Creative.

Dr. Naana Beauty partnered with cosmetic chemist AJ Addae, founder of research and development house Sula Labs, who’s of Ghanaian descent like Boakye, on formula creation and product testing. In the testing, the brand included a diverse group of subjects across the Fitzpatrick scale of skin classifications from the lightest to the darkest skin. It predicts women between the ages of 25 and 60 years old will be its core customers.

Boakye says, “I was really intentional about who they were testing on, making sure it was female and male, just because I wanted to make sure that, when I’m selling these products, yes, you can use this because it has been tested for your skin and also for your age group.”

For launch, Dr. Naana Beauty will be available on its own website. Retail is definitely in the plans, and it could follow in the distribution footsteps of Karité. Eight years ago, Boakye and her siblings Akua Okunseinde and Abena Slowe introduced Karité. Today, the brand is sold at The Detox Market, Saks Fifth Avenue, Anthropologie, Thirteen Lune and Amazon.

Along with her dermatology practice, Boakye, author of the book, “Inside Out Beauty, Your Prescription for Healthy, Radiant, Acne Controlled Skin,” is active on social media, which she hopped on initially to educate patients. She has over 17,000 followers on Instagram and another 1,425 on TikTok. The bulk of Boakye’s current content is dedicated to debunking skin and skincare myths.

“I just like going on there and just saying, listen, this is what you should do, this is what I’m seeing in clinic, these are some tips,” she says. “But also because I’m a lifestyle dermatologist, I love doing more of a holistic approach, just making sure that we’re talking about exercise and sleep and food and how that impacts your skin. I think that’s really important.”

Boakye is keeping Dr. Naana Beauty and her dermatology practice separate. The brand expects to partner with aestheticians and makeup artists in the near future to raise awareness.

“When you see anybody remove their makeup, I always see the health of their skin and I’m like, hmm, we could be doing a little bit better,” says Boakye. “I hate to be judgy, but, as a dermatologist, that’s just what I see. So, my approach is to get in front of a lot more aestheticians and makeup artists and say, let’s maintain the health of the skin. These are really good products that can help do that, and then you could go ahead and camouflage whatever.”

This article was updated on June 22 to include companies and people that helped develop Dr. Naana Beauty.