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Marya Khalil-Otto

Marya Khalil-Otto

You were patient #1 with VI Peel and are now the CEO. Being put in that position at a young 25, how did you prepare for that level of responsibility? 

Nothing can prepare you for that kind of responsibility, and sometimes being thrown into the fire is the best way to learn how to survive. At 25 most of my friends were most worried about their Saturday night plans, and could barely take care of themselves.

Resilience isn’t something you're born with, it’s something you build. Because I was patient 1, I also closely knew the power of the VI Peel, and I knew that If I could help other people transform the way that I did, this battle would be worth it. That kept me going through all the sleepless nights. 


What does a typical day look like? How has that changed in the 10 years since you took over the company?  

When I took over the company I was 25, unmarried, and didn’t have kids or dogs. I lived in West Hollywood. I mostly just worked. Since then my life has been flipped upside down. 

If I’m not being lazy, I get my butt out of bed by 5:15 am and head downstairs to workout. Building a gym in our house is the best investment I’ve ever made, and the truth is a gym can just be space in any room. After working out the mad dash to school drop off begins. It feels like the scene in home alone when the family is getting ready for the airport (and inadvertently leaves a child behind). The kids get fed and dressed, and dropped off 10 mins late. I’m not going to lie- I still haven’t figured out how to get them both to school on time. Typically I’m in the office by 9 am. I believe in separation between church and state, so I’m not a huge fan of WFH for myself. I thrive in an office surrounded by my team. I’m basically in meetings all day- whether it’s a team meeting or one to ones, We are nothing without the amazing people on the VI team. I make it home by 5:30 and spend the rest of the evening relaxing with my kids. I’m usually in bed by 8:30. My how times have changed!!!!


Since your leadership began, you’ve increased product innovation. Can you tell us why you felt that was needed and how they differ from one another?

Our brand would be nothing without our main product the VI PEEL. It may be 18 years old, but it has stood the test of time. Everything we create is an ode to that formula and the results it provides. We have a thing for acids, and today we have 6 different chemical peel formulations so that we can properly treat every skin disorder, every skin color and every skin type. If it doesn’t hit those three marks we don’t make it. I’m thrilled that we just launched a Peel Treatment for the body that is giving people the confidence to wear things they never could before! Our practitioners can now treat the skin of the body the same way they treat people’s faces. October 1st our newest baby comes out- Our VI Derm Dark Spot Lifting Serum. Its formulated with our proprietary TRI- ER8ASE complex which contains 5% tranexamic (the highest professionally available), lactic acid and kojic acid.  


What makes VI Peel the best product in the industry? 

The VI Peel is just such a breakthrough formula and treatment. Everything about it was first of its kind- The combination of those 5 acids, the fact that its painless, the fact you can use it on ALL skin colors, and the consistency we created for practitioners through the specialized kits that standardized a once complicated procedure. We are the only chemical peel company with an at home APP that allows for a seamless patient experience, and that’s why we are experts when it comes to treating  hyperpigmentation and skin of color.


Your work has the ability to inspire confidence with your patients. What’s one of your favorite stories to share? 

 When my father passed away 10 years ago, I was scared out of mind. I was an introvert with terrible skin. I could barely make eye contact with people because I was so ashamed of my acne. How the heck was I going to run a skincare company?! It’s taken me years of hardwork, struggling, and therapy to get where I am. I made all my decisions from a place of fear for years. I’m in such a healthier place now, but it wasn’t some meteoric rise. If I can do it you can too. We have to believe in ourselves and we have to put in the work. Don’t give up on yourself.


You’ve talked about balance in other interviews. How does organization work into your day to help with the daily juggle? 

I am so type A, and chock full of anxiety, it actually drives me a little crazy. I live and die by my calendar, whether it’s an actual meeting or just to block time out to get something done. If it’s not in my calendar it isn’t getting done. If it’s not in my calendar it doesn’t exist. I even invite my husband to things he has to get done by calendar invite. I’m also a huge proponent of the zero email inbox. I always have less than 50 emails in my inbox. If its garbage I mark as spam and delete it, if it’s something I’m just copied on to be in the loop I read it and file it away, and finally if it’s something I need to get done it stays in there until I do it. Sometimes that’s 5 mins and sometimes that’s 5 months. I also love to boomerang or snooze myself emails that I don’t need to worry about right now. They exit my inbox and return when the time comes.


Do you have any tips on prioritization and how a woman trying to do it all can actually have it all?

I used to say we can have it all but I changed my mind. Life is about sacrifice. That’s one of the parts of American culture I don’t like- over consumerism and excessiveness. To be healthy and mentally stable people we have to come to realize we can’t have it all and THAT’S OKAY. We don’t need it all. You can’t do it all, be it all and have it all, and still be sane. PLUS, What you can do might not be perfect. Things will get messy. It’s not easy to have children, a husband, career and a social life. Everyday is different, sometimes things may suffer as a result of priorities.


What’s the best part of your day?

This is controversial- but I sleep with my kids (they’re 4 and 5). I know it’s not the healthiest setup for my marriage, but my favorite part of the day is cuddling with them in bed. I could stare at their little faces for hours. I guess I allow it because of the mom guilt I have from having a career and not getting to spend as much time with them as I think I should.


When you attend events, what are your must have items in your handbag?  

Blotting powder because I’m an oil slick, My YSL lipstick because its super hydrating and gives a nice spark of color, and VI Derm SPF because I never know when ill have more sun exposure than expected.


Is there a special skincare routine we should follow pre and post event? 

If you’re thinking about doing treatments before a special event you need to plan ahead!! Do not show up at a practitioners office a week before your wedding expecting miracles. For peels, lasers, microneedling, I would start a regimen 6 months before a big event. Combination therapies are the way to go. I always recommend a HydraFacial a week before the event. It’s never too early, or late, to start good skincare at home. Retinols, SPF, and Medical Grade ingredients are your BFFS.


If we had to use one product only for anti-aging what would that be? Is there any food that helps that we should include in our diets?

VITAMIN A!!!! If you are not using a tretinoin product, what are you doing?! Retinol is great too, but if you can get your hands on the prescription stuff do it immediately. Nothing will change your skin like tretinoin. Drinking plenty of water, a low carb/sugar diet, and a diet high in omegas will always give you glowing skin. There’s very little scientific research to back it up, but I do use collagen powder in my coffee and I really enjoy it. Personally, I have noticed a difference in the quality of my skin since using it.


How do hormones affect the aging process and is there anything we can do to turn back the clock?

 Well if you’re like me hormones will continue to torture you until you die. I’ve had hormonal acne since I was 14. There’s really only so much we can really control in life. 

 As we get older, our estrogen production decreases, at that can take a toll on our skin. It can make our skin thinner, and less elastic causing sagging and wrinkles. Less estrogen also means less collagen production. If this is a concern for you, there are options, and my number one recommendation is to see a dermatologist!


What are your future goals for the company? 

What aren’t my goals!! We plan to grow our VI Peel portfolio (hint hint think V EYE Peel) and VI Derm portfolio. I would love to  be available in 100 countries, and visit them all. We will always continue to innovate and partner with our Professional accounts to deliver the best treatments to consumers worldwide.


How can we all get the VI Peel? 

You can head to our website and type in your zip code to find an incredible practitioner near you. We work with over 7k of the best derms, plastic surgeons and medical spas across the country. I am so proud of that.