By Maura Kelly

Now that the epic snowstorms are over, people are finally emerging from a long winter’s hibernation and spring rituals are in the air. Druid celebrations and pyramid pilgrimages are some of the ways the world welcomes the first day of spring. For others, it’s gardening or organizing tax receipts. For Carmel O’Neill, owner of Renew Anti-Aging Center in New York City, spring is all about skin renewal.

 “Winter is very tough on the skin and spring is a great time to do damage control.  The skin’s outer layer doesn’t shed as much and becomes dry and rough,” explains Carmel. As head aesthetician of the boutique spa, Carlow born Carmel should know. Along with partner Mary Brady from Cavan, she has been building a solid business in the skin care industry since 2004. Estimated to be worth a healthy $43 billion dollars per year, the skincare sector has steadily grown in past years, and is expected to grow 6% more this year. Going a step further, a recent Reuter’s article stated that in 2010, cosmetic surgeries in the United States rose to their highest level since the start of the financial crisis, providing traders with another measure to gauge the economic recovery.

 The billion dollar skin sector is going very techie too. Fueled by innovations in science and technology, walk into any office and you’ll see lasers, sound waves systems and gadgets that work on skin rejuvenation and more. And don’t think beauty and vanity is reserved just for women. Today, more men are becoming conscious of appearances and have treatments on a regular basis.

 If you care about skin, you’ll be interested to learn what industry insiders and Carmel are predicting will be the top trends for 2011. At the top of the list is science and beauty. Lots of companies are investing in research and more products will contain the following ingredients: plant based stem cells, peptides, antioxidants and alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs). The latest buzz concerns Apple stem cells. Plant stem cells like human stem cells have the ability to regenerate new cells. There is a growing movement toward non-invasive, non-surgical anti-aging procedures. The organic trend will stay strong and manufacturers are paying more attention to green formulations. Overall, Carmel embraces a holistic approach to skincare and emphasizes the important role of proper nutrition, exercise, and stress management.

 It’s clear that fellow Irish Business Organization members Carmel and Mary are doing something right and the media is noticing. Recently the Huffington Post visited the center and videotaped a segment on stem cell therapy in action. Once it was uploaded to the site, readers tweeted about it more than 90 times in a few hours, and FOX 5 has expressed interest in an on-camera interview. On top of this, Carmel quietly mentioned that one of the ladies of the “Housewives of New York” TV series is a long time client. Of course, she didn’t mention which one.

 Reflecting on the recession, Carmel admitted to being lucky to have a very loyal clientele who appreciate what they offer at Renew.  “They are willing to sacrifice other activities to continue seeing us,” says Carmel. Their success might involve some luck but it’s also a combination of good business practices, passion and a commitment to ongoing education and peers consultations. “Through the IBO, we meet our Website designer and members have been very generous with marketing advice and sales ideas. Community is important and the support helps.” says Carmel. For more information on Renew, visit the website at

The IBO is planning a special spring event on April 13th.  The featured speaker is Diarmuid Hogan, Chief Executive Global Excess Partners, LLP. Check the website for more information. 

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