Harnessing the bioactive properties of plants to protect and repair your skin

Our natural skincare range was 27 years in the making…and our clinical trials show it works.

The healing properties of the biologically unique plant life of New Zealand combined with a scientific understanding of how the human immune system works at a cellular level lead Atopis’ Chief Scientist, co- Founder and CEO Dr Iona Weir to undertake ground-breaking research and discover the unprecedented cutting edge formulas used in our patented skincare range.

The Atopis range of skincare products are the culmination of Dr Weir’s life’s work as an award winning scientist.

Dr Weir – she prefers to be called Iona – worked out the underlying causes of eczema, hormonal acne and premature aging, then used her skills and knowledge as a scientist to create a synergistic product that targets every one of those causes.

The key to the success of Atopis skin creams are in their scientific formulation.

Here’s how the science behind Atopis works…


We use the secrets of plants’ natural self-defence system to protect and repair your skin.

Plants obviously can’t run away to defend themselves from threats. Instead they have evolved a unique defence against environmental and biological threats which can program the death of individual cells.

This means a handful of cells get sacrificed in order to protect the whole organism from dying.

Dr Weir’s research proved that this programmed cell death process – known by the scientific community as ‘Apoptosis’ – can actually be reversed in plants.

Human cells on the other hand, once programmed to die via Apoptosis have no option but to die.

She discovered that plants also produce defence bioactives that reverse or inhibit the Apoptosis process in human cells.

Too little or too much Apoptosis plays a role in many skin disorders and affects your skins aging.

What if these defensive mechanisms in plants could be used to effectively protect damaged  human skin?” – Dr. Iona Weir

Almost 20 years after asking this question Dr Weir developed “Myriphytase extract”, which comes from these natural bioactive defence mechanisms in plants.

Myriphytase extract became the proprietary ingredient in the Atopis skin care products when clinical trials showed that Iona had successfully applied it to controlling the cell death rate in human skin.

While we can’t reverse cell death in skin cells, we can effectively control it by using the plant extracts to protect against the damage that causes a skin cell to die.

Iona’s discovery means that manipulating these plant defense pathways produces bioactive plant extracts able to be transferred and applied to humans for our own health needs.

They play a crucial role in maintaining healthy human skin by eliminating unhealthy damaged cells, protecting cells from environmental damage and helping to regenerate new cells.

This scientific breakthrough is a natural yet cutting edge way to protect against premature aging, skin stress, eczema and acne and is the basis of our entire skin care range.

Learn more about the creation of Myriphytase

Dr Iona Weir conducted literally thousands of invitro assays (controlled scientific tests performed outside an organism) over 27 years making a series of scientific breakthroughs which have led to the production of Atopis skin creams.

Primarily Iona’s background in and understanding of the biological process of apoptosis has underpinned the technology behind Atopis’ key ingredients.

Apoptosis is defined as programmed cell death, a natural function of aging and Iona was the first person in the world to prove this process could actually be reversed in plants.

Conversely apoptosis cannot be reversed in humans and too much or too little of it plays a huge role in skin disorders and premature aging.

Once apoptosis is triggered in human cells the cell is committed to death, whereas a plant cells defence mechanisms protect against then reverse the early stages of the apoptosis pathway.

Iona figured out these mechanisms of plants could be used to control the cell death rate and modulate immune responses in human skin.

Iona’s scientific experimentation that proves the effectiveness of Atopis organic skin creams – all without testing on animals…

Step 1

Identify which plants contain bio-active substances beneficial to human skin cells.

Iona primarily used a technique called flow cytometry (which involves using laser technology to look inside cells and see how they respond) to analyse the effect of a variety of botanical extracts on human cells.

Flow cytometry was used by Iona to identify botanical extracts which:

  • enhanced Mitochondrial respiration (increased cells ability to convert energy into fuel)
  • gave DNA protection (protection against DNA damage caused by UV, free radicals or pollution)
  • enhanced immune function
  • protected against oxidative stress by getting rid of free radicals and also turning on human cells own defence systems

These experiments were designed to stress human cells and test plant extracts.  The results led Iona to identify the most bioactive plant extracts which protected human cells. These extracts have been used in the formulation of Atopis skin creams.

Step 2

Discover probiotic bacteria that could potentially help skin and study their interaction with human cells.

Iona also used flow cytometry to discover probiotic bacteria that could potentially help skin and study their interaction with human cells.

She then went on to use the scientific technique of Confocal Fluorescence microscopy (viewing cells with a microscope treated to fluoresce under UV light) to investigate the interaction between skin cells and this bacteria.  Using this technique she proved the cells were affected positively by the probiotic bacteria.

Once suitable probiotic bacteria had been identified and observed to help human cells, Iona made a world-first scientific breakthrough when she discovered how to join these probiotic bacterial peptides to skin lipids (this is naturally occurring fats in human skin).

This innovation has led to producing the proprietary Peptilipids ™, the magic ingredient of our FDA approved skincare formulas.

Step 3

Infect skin cells with
Staph. Aureus and observe interaction.

Iona infected skin cells with Staph. Aureus – the potent bacteria which causes pimples – and found that when using her proprietary probiotic bacteria and natural extracts, the bacteria was unable to live on the skin cells.

Step 4

Prove extracts enhance skin cell repair and regeneration.

Iona also conducted wound healing assays – these were tests where she damaged skin cells and then measured the time it took to heal. She measured the healing time of the cells alone, versus the cells combined with her natural extracts which prove the extracts enhanced skin cell repair and regeneration.

All of this work in steps 1-4 was the precursor to the real invention which was manipulating the plant cells to produce what was needed for the human cells.

Step 5

Screen thousands of New Zealand’s unique botanical extracts to find the most bioactive and skin cell enhancing.

After Iona had screened thousands of New Zealand’s unique botanical extracts her results pointed her to the most bioactive ones with the potential to help human skin.


Next came the real challenge: figuring out how to manipulate these plant cells to produce exactly what compounds were needed to protect human cells!


This was a very involved process – for example: to protect skin against UV light, Iona had to figure out how to turn on the UV defence pathway in the plant cells, then capture the protective bioactive molecules produced.

Step 6

Spend 5 years manipulating plant cell pathways to find the most powerful in modulating human skin apoptosis.

Iona spent 5 years manipulating the plant cell pathways of apoptosis, plant defence and cell differentiation to find the valuable molecules that she used to invent her patented “Myriphytase” extract – which has the power to modulate human apoptosis.

Step 7

Test and refine Myriphytase to ensure the formulation is the best it can be.

After creating Myriphytase Iona then spent years perfecting her skin cream formulation then tested it against competitor’s products to make sure Atopis worked as well as or better than them.


Myriphytase, and all the other extracts in Atopis are completely new – created by us to be the most potent, to provide as much benefit to human skin as possible. That is the real difference between Atopis and other brands – we don’t settle for some diluted plant extract made the usual way, instead we use ground breaking science to literally harness the power of nature.

Atopis was 27 years in the making and our experimentation, testing and clinical trials shows our formulas work.