Okiemute Tonye Pela: Promoting Skin Wellness
Words By – Yemisi Suleiman
The importance of good skincare cannot be over-emphasized and what better way to learn and achieve total wellness of the skin, than to speak with top celebrity skincare specialist Okiemute Tonye Pela. Founder of PELS International, a top-notch skincare brand currently making the buzz on and off social media, Pela understands the necessity of skincare maintenance and stands by a team-based approach towards wellness for all of his clients.
A graduate of International Business from Bells University of Technology, Ota, Ogun State, Pela realized early that his career aspirations centered on skin wellness, and on the dream of running his own skincare line. A few years ago, he made it happen with the launch of Pels International.
Over the years, Pela has perfected the art of dermatological care through inputs from professionals, scientists, skin enthusiasts, and chemists, in formulating products to meet and satisfy clients’ unique skin needs and desires.
He shares his beauty journey with Allure.
What was your inspiration for starting PELS International?
I have always been passionate about skincare products. As a young person, I found myself buying up skincare products whenever I went to beauty stores. I even bought things I didn’t need, and then when I saw a person with any skin disorder, I always itcheed to give them solutions. I was even doing all of this for free.
Do you have formal training in skincare?
After my university days, I traveled to Manila Philippines to further my research and knowledge in the skincare industry. I discovered various secrets, and found out that most products that work for Asians also work for African skin. I discovered certain advanced natural skincare components that can improve skin texture, pigmentation, and radiance, without negative side effects. Furthermore, I always attended trade and beauty shows across the globe to enhance my knowledge and creativity, meet with other experts in my field and exchange business ideas.
What is the philosophy behind the brand?
PELS international is an overall skincare brand that caters to all skin types, genders, complexions and people of all ages- young and old. Our aim is to offer top-notch skincare and beauty services that will provide ultimate transformation, by completely eradicating any pressing skin issues, using the best and most advanced skincare ingredients.
What sort of skin results can PELS deliver? What skin issues is it really great for?
With our life-changing products, Pels offers tremendous results for acne, post acne scars, hyperpigmentation, uneven skin tone and discoloration, stretch marks, loose skin, Rosacea, Eczema as well as dehydrated skin. Basically, we handle different skin issues.
We also offer personalized skincare products for individuals with special skin cases.
How do you prescribe your products to people to give a more holistic approach?
We mostly prescribe products after a skin consultation has been done. When a product is properly recommended and used correctly as advised, with the reveal of tremendous results, it brings a certain form of satisfaction both physically and mentally. We tend to have an excellent relationship with our clients, encourage them to use their products appropriately, and also, do a follow-up routine to make sure products are working as expected. This also motivates them to believe in the brand and it provides a level of comfort, confidence, and good customer-to-client relationships.
What are the big don’ts when it comes to skincare?
There are a lot of don’ts when it comes to skincare. They include: (A) do not overly expose yourself to harsh weather conditions especially the scorching sun at noon as ultraviolet rays can damage the skin, and cause premature aging.
(B)Do not use excessively hot water on your skin as this can lead to skin dryness by stripping your skin off its natural oils & moisture.
(C) Refrain from constantly touching your face. As we go about our daily activities, our hands are exposed to germs and bacteria, and this can contaminate our face when touched with unclean hands. (D)Products containing steroids are not for long-term use.
(E) Do not sleep with your makeup on.
(F) Don’t apply body creams on your face especially for individuals with sensitive or acne-prone faces.
(G) Lastly, I’d say there are what we call “Cosmetic claims”, don’t trust every tip you see on the internet as most beauty bloggers may not plan to hurt you, but may lack in-depth knowledge on certain topics. Also, don’t believe every home remedy or DIYs. Please deal with an experienced professional or aesthetician.
How has social media impacted your business and your clients?
Social media has really impacted positively on our brand by making it easy to showcase our products and services, and also made us accessible to individuals from different parts of the world. We also share some tips and tricks on how to maintain total wellness of the skin.
How do you perform a thorough skin analysis on a client?
One of the major ways is, we study your skin’s past, look into your present as well as your skincare regimen, and then guide you through having a future clean and clear skin. We also identify if you have dry, oily, normal or combination skin, and if you have acne-prone skin or stretch mark prone skin, etc. There are, also, certain skin analysis machines, but another helpful way is dealing with sincere clients that will honestly elaborate on what they do with their skin at home.
In your opinion, do you think internal health is a growing area in the beauty industry?
Oh, I’d say yes, because so far, we have various things dealing with internal health that relates to beauty. For example, we have dieticians, we have various immune boosters-both oral and intravenous, several anti-aging drinks and cocktails etc. I also feel there is more awareness and an increasing population presently focusing on their internal health, you go to pharmacies and you’d see several supplements that improve skin health. We have glutathione, we have collagen, we have stem cells, there are also different medical and cosmetic procedures that enhance beauty.
Is your product gender-based?
No, our products are not gender-based as we have both male and female clients.
Most men are really not bothered about skincare as they believe it is solely for women; as a man in the beauty industry, what is your view on this and on such men?
I’d implore men to also focus on skincare and self-care and also practice masculine hygiene: pay proper attention to themselves, use roll-ons and body spray that are antiperspirants, to prevent body odour as most men are more exposed to tougher, daily, physical activities. We also promote good aftercare products, to prevent bumps from shaving and also deal with acne.
These days a lot of women are interested in skin bleaching or lightening products. Is Pels producing for this set of clients?
Yes, there is a rise in the skin lightening practice, and we have products that can help improve the texture, clarity, and overall complexion of your skin, by properly exfoliating and polishing the surface of your skin without high-end products. These products will deal with hyper-pigmentations, uneven skin, discoloration and can gently tone the complexion without making your skin thin or looking bleached.
What do you think is the most challenging aspect of beauty therapy?
That is a broad question but for me, I feel cosmetic procedures that are done surgically are really a challenging aspect of beauty therapy as they can be life-threatening or lead to somebody’ deformation if thorough medical checkups and investigations are not carried out. Also, if there is no proper aftercare, and if the procedure wasn’t done by an experienced professional. Then in my field, a challenging aspect is when clients are not sincere about their regimen at home, also when they don’t have patience when using products, expecting an overnight result. You can also have a challenge when clients feel because a product worked for their friend, they go ahead to buy without consulting forgetting that skin differs.
What or who inspires you in life?
Many things inspire me especially when it comes to my brand; I love the smiles and satisfaction on my clients’ faces. It encourages me to do better. For me, my job is a gift from above. I operate in a mysterious way. It is really a God-given gift. Most times, I even fall into a state of trance when it comes to product and ingredient selection during my research and discovery.
What do you love most about what you do?
I love that I’m doing what I’m so passionate about, it gives me joy to create reliable skincare solutions. I’m always excited when I get a call and hear “Pels that product is magical,” it really gladdens my heart.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
None. I feel like I am doing great, and my timeline is also okay. I really didn’t think I’d do anything differently. I’m glad to be living my dream and doing a job that I am passionate about. I don’t hold myself back on anything.
So much has changed over the last year, in terms of COVID, the economy, and all. How did you cope and what lessons did you learn from the whole experience?
The COVID-19 pandemic was so unexpected; it taught us to be prepared for anything. While having positive expectations, we shouldn’t forget that anything can go wrong. The experience has taught me to really solidify the foundation of my company/brand as we have no idea what the future holds. It also made us create alternative platforms on how to run business smoothly, especially using our online website, and dispatch methods to easily deliver our products to clients. And then, we also had to improvise by engaging in video conferencing and consultations via telephone social media. Also, we upgraded our hygiene and safety measures in the office. Funny enough, COVID-19 didn’t affect our sales. Because most people spent time at home, they also paid more attention to their skin which means more sales.
You went through a dramatic change with your body, how were you able to achieve this?
It all boils down to discipline, consistency, diet, exercise and fitness. It was a whole mental thing, you really have to put in the work. Also, I got motivated once I saw it started paying off. I felt more confident and now, it’s a way of life for me.
What advice do you have for people who put in the work but get little results for their effort?
Most people experience difficulty due to lack of knowledge in this field. I used a dietician and I saw massive changes, and became more aware of what to eat, time to eat and also portion control.
Would you support them to go under the knife for cosmetic surgeries?
First, I would say before considering cosmetic surgery, you have to make sure you have exhausted all possible options to lose weight. Dieticians and nutritionists are highly recommended as they play a major role in advising on daily calorie intake. I am definitely not against surgery because there are people who may need surgery; for example, a gastric bypass or any other procedure to control eating disorders or for individuals who struggle with obesity. But it’s highly advisable to do a proper background check, make all your findings, and do a thorough health check-#up before undergoing any surgical procedure.
Where do you draw the line in search for the perfect look?
No one is perfect and as humans, we may have one imperfection or the other. I’d say, fix what you can and educate yourself properly when going skin deep. Try to be careful and avoid life- threatening procedures. If your life is on the line, please have a rethink especially if it’s cosmetic surgery. Adhere to your doctor’s instructions properly.
For the man, what should be the limit of beauty search for them?
I don’t think there is a limit with beauty but I strongly advise and urge men to take proper care of themselves, indulge in proper, personal hygiene and self care. Beauty, skincare or self care is not meant for women alone.