For someone who had no intention of creating a skin care line, Francesco Clark sure did get it right. Unfortunately, it took a tragedy to tap into the healing power of nature to unveil a truly extraordinary vision and passion for skin care.
June 1, 2002 marks a day of great tribulation for Francesco Clark. It was on that day that he suffered a crippling spinal cord injury in a swimming pool diving accident. Francesco lost the ability to walk. He also lost the ability to sweat, resulting in clogged pores and chronic breakouts.

Physical therapy and the never-ending quest to find the right skin care regimen soon became everyday occurrences for Francesco. Discovering his new life on wheels, with acne-prone skin to boot, was devastating. He lost all personal interest in his appearance.

Francesco shares,
I wore the same ratty t-shirt every day. I just didn't care anymore. It was my way of hiding and denying what had happened.
There is always a moment of truth. And the crux for Francesco was facing his adversary head on. For the first time in two years, Francesco looked in the mirror. It was then that he made the conscious decision to do something. He knew there was more to life than what he was allowing himself to experience. Francesco wanted to tap into his creative side. However, he realized that, in order to be an active member of society, he had to be present and social.

After every over-the-counter and prescription product on the market failed him, Francesco turned to his father, Dr. Harold Clark, a physician trained in both traditional Western medicine and homeopathy. Aiming for an organic solution to his skin affliction, he and his father tried 78 different botanical extracts. They landed on something remarkable — Jasmine Absolute. Jasmine, a nocturnally blooming flower, is very exact. And its essential oil is 15x more expensive than any other essential oil. Jasmine Absolute was the start of something new for Francesco in 2005 ... the skin care line he said he would never create.

clarks_botanicals_groupThe Clark's Botanicals skin care line grew to nine fantastic and paraben-free products over the last four years, ranging from cleansers, scrubs and masks to serums, moisturizers and lip treatments. You can find Clark's Botanicals online and in over 30 different retail locations, including C.O. Bigelow, Henri Bendel, Studio Mix, Stanley Korshak, Saks Fifth Avenue and more.

cellular_lifting_serumMy favorite product, Clark's Botanicals Cellular Lifting Serum, utilizes the highest allowable level of Jasmine Absolute, 5%, while most companies utilize only 1%. Another incredible ingredient is Swiss apple stem cells. Anti-aging at its best ... Swiss apple stem cells fight off external environmental stresses and give skin the ability to self-renew. The serum also contains Centella Asiatica, known to boost collagen production, and Algae Extract, to help lock in moisture. This serum is a phenomenal antioxidant that provides skin with 60% more protection from the sun's harmful rays even before SPF application.

Francesco says of his journey:
Clark's Botanicals is an organic part of me and my recovery. Everything about this line has a purpose and reason for being, from the ingredients to the packaging to the contribution to medical research. It's an expression of who I am in its purest form.
Francesco is an advocate for others with disabilities. Not only is he asked to speak at various events and store promotions, he is also a National Ambassador for the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, which is dedicated to curing spinal cord injury and improving the quality of life for people living with paralysis. A percentage of the profits from the sale of Clark's Botanicals products goes to The Reeve Foundation.

What's next for Francesco? While there are no plans to increase Clark's Botanicals much past its current product line up, he is currently writing a book, due out May 2010. No doubt, it will be an inspiration to us all.

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