A Chat With Dr Iona Weir

We consult with Dr Iona Weir, Atopis chief scientist, CEO, and co-founder, to learn what all the fuss is about Atopis skincare products.


Iona, tell us a little about your background, and what encouraged you to formulate your own skincare range.  

I have a PhD through Auckland Medical School and a strong knowledge base in human, plant and microbial sciences. Prior to developing Atopis skincare, I worked in the Government Research Sector for 12 years focusing on plant apoptosis – which is programmed cell death. This is everywhere with all organisms. In the plant world, it’s involved in defence, fruit ripening, and leaf fall; whilst in humans, it’s concerned with immune function and aging as well as diseases such as cancer, dementia and auto-immune. 


I was the first scientist in the world to demonstrate that plant programmed cell death is reversible and that I could use these plant bio-actives to manipulate human programmed cell death including immune function and aging.


After leaving the government research arena, I worked in several biotechnology companies with natural products and pharmaceuticals. After 17 years, I made the decision to set up my own company and use my knowledge to develop natural, effective skincare. So, 27 years of innovation, science and good old fashioned hard work has gone into every tube of Atopis skin cream.


Can you explain more about how Atopis harnesses the healing power of nature?

Traditional methods of making plant extracts involve harvesting the plant material and using solvents to extract the bio-actives within. Our patented process manipulates the plant cells to produce the bio-actives we wish to use and releases these into coconut water. We don’t use solvents. We then combine this with probiotics to produce our patented peptilipids. These are peptides from New Zealand bacteria and plants combined with lipids using the plants own cellular defence pathways (not a lab’s).  


Would you share what you took into consideration when creating your five different ranges: Acne, Eczema, Rosacea, Hormonal and Mature skin? 

All of these were skin issues that concerned myself or my family. At times I’ve experienced rosacea and there was nothing on the market that was both calm and gentle and reduced the redness. This was the impetus for Radiant Balance Cream, which is for hormonal acne as well as rosacea prone skin. 


I also found no solutions specifically designed for menopausal and post-menopause skin. What is available provides extra hydration but doesn’t target the underlying issues such as the feeling of tight dry irritated skin, loss of plumpness and a natural healthy glow. It’s almost like once you hit menopause you cease to exist. Based on my years of research on aging, I developed the Anti-aging cream specifically for skin that has lived and needs a little TLC.


I developed the eczema cream after years of working on pharmaceutical treatments for eczema and immune disorders. I wanted to create something that was safe and effective. The Atopis Dry Itchy Cream is designed to target each of the symptoms of eczema.


The Acne Prone skin cream was developed because I’d been involved in gut health and microbiome (at Phloe) and I felt it was important to develop a product that supported the skin microbiome. Atopis has been shown to inhibit acne-causing bacteria while restoring the good bacteria. 


All of the creams are about bringing back a healthy skin microflora with the added bonus of being so natural you could eat them.


What have been the biggest challenges in formulating a totally natural product?

Unlike other natural products which use traditional plant extracts, that are then mixed into a base cream, we use our patented process. This means that even during the manufacturing process our plant bio-actives fuse together in synergy. It took years of research to be able to do this without the use of chemicals or industrial enzymes.


We then had to upscale and develop that into a traditional manufacturing facility which has required a very creative number eight wire approach. The upshot is that it’s manufactured locally with native plants and natural microbes. NB: the term number 8 wire represents the ingenuity and resourcefulness of New Zealanders.


Atopis is sold online only – do you intend to expand into other forms of retail?

Yes, definitely. To date, our focus has been on the US market and the launch of our OTC (over the counter) Eczema Treatment Cream into US pharmacies. This is now underway so we’re free to explore New Zealand and Australian retail opportunities, which is exciting.


Visit atopis.com for more information

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Verve’s pick of the crop



All Atopis products work in synergy with one another to enhance skin cell repair and provide beautifully clear skin for you. They nourish and repair skin with nature’s botanical ingredients bringing cell strength and protection to your skin. 


Atopis Anti-Aging Cream has been scientifically developed for mature skin that needs some tender loving care while navigating the journey through hormonal fluctuation. Myriphytase has been scientifically shown to slow the cellular aging process, and to regenerate and retexturise the skin.  Atopis Anti-Aging Cream works to promote a healthy youthful glow by boosting cell renewal and improving skin elasticity. 


Atopis Thoroughly Gentle Cleanser is scientifically created by infusing anti-inflammatory kiwifruit seed oil with healing harakeke flax gel and anti-microbial kawakawa. Separately, a proprietary infusion blend of Kumerahou with its natural lathering properties, and orange peel with its exfoliating, calming and astringent properties, are saturated into avocado oil, before it is all brought together in a base to create a 100% natural calming, gentle cleanser. Perfect for hormonal, dehydrated and sensitive skin types.


Atopis Radiant Balance Cream has been scientifically invented for hormonal and rosacea prone skin. Our patented Myriphytase extract has been clinically shown to reduce redness and calm inflammation, and scientifically shown to rebalance the skin microbiome to reduce hormonal breakouts. Atopis Radiant Balance also regulates sebum oil production, is a potent antioxidant and reduces acne scarring.


1. Atopis Anti-Aging Cream

Restores hydration to the skin overnight and reprograms skin cells to revitalise collagen production, evening out fine lines and wrinkles. $99


2. Atopis Thoroughly Gentle Cleanser 

Gently removes dirt and bad bacteria from the skin with naturally powerful healing ingredients. $35


3. Atopis Radiant Balance Cream

The perfect moisturiser to wear during the day for protection from the environmental stressors and keeping the skin calm all while rebalancing the skin to achieve a healthier state. $65


Purchase your products from atopis.com