From Donaghadee to Harley Street - Dr Sam Bunting on ‘the Apple of skincare’

Dermatologist and entrepreneur Dr Sam Bunting chats to Sophie Clarke about her no nonsense approach to skincare

Dr Sam Bunting
Dermatologist Dr Sam Bunting grew up in Donaghadee and today has a Harley Street clinic and her Dr Sam's Skincare range

Most of us have struggled with our skin at one time or another whether it’s breakouts, blemishes, dryness or rosacea. I know I have tried all kinds of products and home remedies (including toothpaste...) in the hope that it will solve my skin related problems.

However, it can often prove difficult to know which treatments to trust and which ones are simply gimmicks - this is where Dr Sam Bunting comes in.

Originally from Donaghadee, Bunting studied medicine at Cambridge University and University College London. She went on to practise medical dermatology for six years before establishing her own clinic at 41 Harley Street in London. She now has her own skincare line – Dr Sam’s Skincare.

“I quite quickly realised that I wanted a career that was a little bit unconventional,” she says.

“In addition to treating acne, rosacea, melasma – which are the bread and butter of dermatology – I was interested in what goes beyond that.

“I didn’t want to just solve problems but also give my patients really beautiful skin because I’ve always believed that when you have beautiful skin a lot of other stuff doesn’t matter so much because it’s just this powerful thing that projects how healthy and well you are.

The Absolutely Flawless Roadshow kicked off in Belfast on February 22
The Absolutely Flawless Roadshow opened in Belfast last month, as Dr Sam Bunting seeks to widen recognition of her Dr Sam's Skincare line outside London

“We set up the Harley Street practice around 2010 and the intention was to provide longer appointments and a more complete solution rather than just prescribing something.”

Through her skincare clinic Bunting realised that a common problem facing many women was the stress of combating the first signs of ageing whilst also treating problem skin.

“It was something that didn’t seem to be being acknowledged. The solution I was offering was working really well for my patients so, I started to wonder if there was a way of creating a brand that helped people on a bigger scale.

“By this point I’d done a bit of TV and worked with other brands, and I could see that despite the skincare industry being oversubscribed there was still a problem because I was seeing people come into the clinic who were struggling to put together an effective skincare solution.”

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Dr Sam’s Skincare was launched in 2018. Since then, the brand has sold more than 160,000 units of flawless cleanser and received over 20,000 five-star reviews.

“I got approached quite early on about doing a brand for a well-known pharmacy chain and in the end it’s probably a blessing that didn’t quite work out as it really helped me hone the idea of what I wanted to create,” Bunting says.

“In a nutshell I liken it to being the Apple of skincare - it is this end-to-end solution with no unnecessary choice that gives you the complete answer to your skin problem.

Dr Sam describes her range as the Apple of Skin Care as it is an end to end solution with no unnecessary choice
Dr Sam Bunting describes her range as 'the Apple of skin care' because it is an 'end to end solution with no unnecessary choice'

“Then I make good quality videos that explain how to use everything effectively and we also provide additional advice on our social media pages and that’s getting you pretty close to what I offer in the clinic. Therefore, that should be successful for a lot more customers at a really affordable price point.”

Bunting has built up a significant online presence since she began posting her ‘how to’ videos amassing over 200,000 followers across her social media platforms. However, prior to creating her own content she worked on reality TV show Extreme Beauty Disasters which first aired in 2014 providing advice to those struggling with their appearance.

“I did TV for a couple of series where I was co presenting a show for TLC and I’ve also done live television a few times which I think is how I’ve managed to get used to a camera.


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“As a teenager I was really quite shy, so it was one of those funny things where you learn how to do something almost through sheer grit and tenacity and I actually quite enjoy it now.

“The explainer videos are a little bit different because the content almost requires a bare face so you can do a full routine and like anyone, I can be self-conscious.

“But as long as I’m convinced that I’m doing something for the right reasons I can sort of get past the weird part of having to look at my face online,” she laughs.

In addition to sharing videos online Bunting has also decided to take her brand on tour. The Absolutely Flawless Roadshow kicked off in Belfast last month, offering those in attendance the opportunity to hear from Bunting as well as receive a personalised skincare routine whilst also enjoying a few drinks and canapes.

“We know from market research that we’re very well known in London but less so outside of it, so the idea behind the tour was to create an opportunity to meet potential customers from different places and raising awareness of our line.

Dr Sam Bunting
Dr Sam Bunting

“I believe in what we’re doing, and I think all we have to do is to get it into people’s hands.

“We have incredible retention on the brand people come back time and time again and they tell their friends and that’s the kind of advocacy I want.

“The best kind of advertisement is when you’ve had a great experience as a customer, and you can’t wait to tell your girlfriends about it.”

So far Dr Sam’s Skincare has been a DTC (direct to consumer) brand however Bunting has big plans in relation to the line’s trajectory.

“Things are probably going to change this year,” she teases.

“Skin is skin and I didn’t do this because I really fancied having my name on a bottle - I’m not doing this for vanity reasons I’m doing it because I genuinely believe we have something to offer with the way we approach solving skin with problems.

“I think that there’s really nothing better than having somebody compliment your skin and for me it’s about working out how to give that to as many people as possible.”