Dermalogica started in 1986, by Jane Wurwand, a tenured, United Kingdom-trained skin therapist new to the American "esthetician" industry, recognized that continuing skin and body therapy education was practically non-existent in the United States.

The vision was clear – a product line free of common irritants and ingredients that could cause breakouts (including lanolin, SD alcohol, mineral oil, artificial colors and fragrances) that would improve skin health, and were only available from qualified skin care professionals trained at The International Dermal Institute.