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Street Level

Business — not usual: OY-L 'beauty without secrets'


Before launching her OY-L skincare business,  Andrea Pierce-Naymon learned all she could about what ingredients went into the cosmetics women use daily. What she discovered was disturbing to say the least.
 
Many of the products Pierce-Naymon and millions of other women use contain synthetic preservatives called parabens, typically found in foods as well as personal care items such as deodorants, moisturizers and shampoos. Parabens mimic estrogen and disrupt the body's hormone system, which has been linked to an increased risk of breast cancer and reproductive problems.  
Andrea Pierce-Naymon 
Harnessing this knowledge, Pierce-Naymon now sells a line of moisturizes, exfoliates, lip balms and face washes made with natural ingredients. Her lip balm, for example, contains bioactive medical-grade manuka honey from New Zealand. Abyssinian oil, lecithin and pink Himalayan salt are some of the other exotic elements that help Pierce-Naymon achieve her mission of "beauty without secrets."
 
"I've been experimenting with these formulas for a couple of years," says Pierce-Naymon, who works with a cosmetic chemist out of a lab at the Akron Global Business Accelerator. "I come up with formulas and the chemist looks them over."
 
OY-L has nine skin-soothing products available, with another three rolling out this summer. Customers can order on the company website, while the skincare entrepreneur hopes to have a retail presence at Saks Fifth Avenue in the near future.
 
Pierce-Naymon's inspiration for OY-L is her daughter, Betsy, who began experiencing unexplained weakness, pain and discomfort while in high school. A neurology consult revealed Betsy was suffering from Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS), a chronic condition that impacts an estimated one to three million Americans. POTS is thought to be a form of dysautonomia, an umbrella term describing several different ailments that cause a malfunction of the autonomous nervous system.
 
Although there is no direct link between POTS and traditional skincare products, Pierce-Naymon is motivated to educate others on natural solutions to potentially harmful cosmetics. OY-L is already gaining traction in magazines like Allure and Vogue, a trend the newbie proprietor expects to spread alongside awareness of her company's purpose.
 
"I never would have thought to look at labels when I was younger," says Pierce-Naymon. "Now I have a chance to teach people what's in their products and why it may not be good for them."  

Read more articles by Douglas J. Guth.

Douglas J. Guth is a Cleveland Heights-based freelance writer and journalist. In addition to Fresh Water, his work has been published by Midwest Energy News, Kaleidoscope Magazine and Think, the alumni publication of Case Western Reserve University. A die-hard Cleveland sports fan, he also writes for the cynically named (yet humorously written) blog Cleveland Sports Torture.   
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