Haddonfield, NJ—Reviva Labs, known for its innovative skincare products, celebrated its 40th anniversary this year.

The company, located here, was founded by Stephen Strassler in 1973 when skincare in America was so young, the term “exfoliation” was unknown. But Strassler, who began his career in marketing, saw opportunities in the blossoming skincare industry: “I was working in a New York ad agency on a cosmetic account when America’s first aesthetician school opened, with European-oriented training. I knew Europe was far ahead of America in skincare in those days, so I saw a marketing niche and opportunity.”

Now hailed as one of America’s first aestheticians, Strassler began Reviva Labs with the goal of bringing “truly effective skin products to consumers.” And for Strassler, those early years with the company were the most exciting. When Reviva Labs began, he says, “the average health food store didn’t pay much attention to skincare; I believe we were deeper into skincare than most competitive brands.”

Strassler’s dedication to the industry led Reviva Labs to develop several skincare “firsts,” including the introduction of exfoliation to America. “I’m most proud of introducing Exfoliation with Reviva’s ‘Light Skin Peel,’ our very first product,” Strassler says. “I’ve always felt that exfoliation was one of the best things you could do for your skin—any skin type.” It is mostly because of Reviva Labs that exfoliation is now a staple in skincare all over the United States. Reviva Labs is also credited with developing vitamin P for spider veins and the use of elastin.

When asked what made Reviva Labs so successful, Strassler had one word in mind: “Innovation. I feel that Reviva’s hands-on skincare experience, research and knowledge of skin physiology enabled Reviva to develop answers to individual skin problems and, thus, innovative skin products.” Strassler, who was a contributing author for CHOICES, a collection of stories from successful entrepreneurs published by Cathi Watson in October 2012, gives this advice to newcomers in the skincare industry: “Be first or be different.”

Even with all the achievements Reviva Labs has under its belt, Strassler knows there is more to learn. “It seems that skin care has become a science,” Strassler notes, “and, as a science, there are always new developments.”

Published in WholeFoods Magazine, December 2013