“Everything starts with your skin,” says Yen Reis, a co-founder of Skin Laundry. The elegant executive should know as her skin is flawless. But that was not the case when she first moved to the U.S. from Asia in 2010. Reis began having skin issues that became more severe. While living in Asia for over a decade, she had found a safe laser and light therapy that greatly improved her skin– but could not find a similar treatment in the States. Reis wanted to make state-of-the-art laser technology more accessible and affordable, thus born Skin Laundry in 2013. Since then, the company has become the largest laser facial treatment clinic in the world, with more than 20 locations in the U.S., and globally, including Hong Kong, London and the Middle East.
We arranged to meet and she suggested the W Hotel in Westwood, near her home. The first thing I noticed were her expressive eyes and youthful, glowing skin. We laughed and bonded over shared experiences growing up in Asian families and the values impressed upon us by immigrant parents. Born Yen Ngoc Tran, her family fled Vietnam by boat in 1979 and made it to Thailand. They stayed a year in a refugee camp before immigrating to Sydney, Australia. Reis began her career in San Francisco at a start-up dot-com, Rocket8, and later moved to Singapore where she worked as a derivatives broker for Tullets & Tokyo. Asked if it was daunting to start a new business in skincare; Reis did not waver.
“As Asian immigrants many of us experienced hardships when we had to start over in a new country. I saw my parents working many long hours. I learned early on that I had to work hard for every opportunity,” Reis said. “I never backed down because I know (laser treatment) works. I use it all the time
A working mother with three sons, ages eight to 12, she understood the needs of women who have limited time outside of work and family for self-pampering. Reis met with medical and laser experts to design a treatment that would be quick, affordable, effective and with no downtime. Skin Laundry uses a 2-step proprietary Yttrium Aluminum Garnet (YAG) Laser and Intense Pulse Light (IPL) system. The service promises to deep clean the pores, brighten skin texture, treat acne and stimulate collagen to deliver healthy skin.
Inspired by Reis, I tried my very first laser treatment at a local clinic on Montana Avenue in Brentwood, California. A nurse named Claire, administered the treatment by sweeping a laser wand across my skin, which gave me a slightly tingly feeling, but no pain. Within 10 minutes, the laser treatment was done. My skin felt clean and it looked refreshed, healthy and glowing.