Episode 39: Dr. Carl Thornfeldt, a Leading Dermatologist and Researcher, Teaches us the Difference Between the Organic Products and Botanical Products and What His Line, Epionce, Can Do for All of us
Listen to this informative show so you can learn the difference about what products can help you and what can actually hurt you. Do you suffer from acne?
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Teri Hausman: I’m Teri [?], host of Beauty Now for PersonalLifeMedia.com. Beauty Now brings you the latest in plastic surgery, lasers, lifts, hormones, lashes, even vaginal rejuvenation. But today we’re going to talk about botanical products and we’re very lucky to have Dr. Carl Thornfeldt, a dermatologist, who’s going to share his wealth of knowledge with us.
Carl Thornfeldt: The reason we went to botanicals is because we found that these processes of inflammation and barrier abnormalities are complex. So we went to botanicals and knew what processes we needed to turn off. And we screened over 100 botanicals to find the ones that actually block the pathways that reverse the effects of these chronic inflammatory factors and repair the barrier.
Carl Thornfeldt: All acne is hormonal. Women mature just as when men mature, there’s a change in the hormone levels and the estrogen levels fall faster than the hormones in women called androgens. And so the body detects that, so that causes enlargement of the hormone-sensitive oil glands, production of abnormal oil, increased stickiness of the skin, and so on, and then we see acne. And in addition, we oftentimes see infections there because it changes the oil so it doesn’t fight off bad bacteria as well as it should.
Carl Thornfeldt: Organic products have a very specific set of criteria by the FDA where the field that they’re grown in cannot use any pesticides. There are very specific processes that after the material is cut they cannot use any ingredients to help preserve it. So it’s a very rigorous type of requirements they have to go through to get certified as organic.
The problem is that, to date, not a single organic line has proven that their product works. Not a single organic line has proven that their product is safe.
Teri Hausman: Welcome, Dr. Carl.
Carl Thornfeldt: Good morning.
Teri Hausman: So how did you get into inventing products from being a dermatologist?
Carl Thornfeldt: Well, I’m first and foremost a practicing dermatologist. And the reason I developed over-the-counter products and have really become a watchdog for this industry is because I realized when we see a rash or a condition including skin cancers, there was a whole series of processes over time that occurred in the body to get to that point.
And my question was, back in June of 1989 when I started the research, was if we could arrest that process – so in other words, if we could make the skin function at its optimum and stay in that optimum state, could we prevent all these diseases that we see later? Obviously that then meant that we needed to have products that were safe enough to use over the long term, could be used in all age groups, but that had multiple mechanisms of action because those processes that I’m talking about – dermatitis, psoriasis, sun-induces pre-cancers – all have multiple processes involved to produce what we see as an individual lesion.
Teri Hausman: So are you saying that your products…are they prescription or can anybody buy them over-the-counter?
Carl Thornfeldt: No, these are non-prescription products. The FDA is not interested in regulating products that have a significant concentration of botanicals, nor in products that prevent conditions. They’re interested only in treating active disease.
Teri Hausman: And the line of your products are, for our listeners, is Epionce. And do you say it Epionce?
Carl Thornfeldt: That’s correct.
Teri Hausman: E-P-I-O-N-C-E. How is it different from other products and then how did you come to test it and do all those things?
Carl Thornfeldt: Epionce is the first product that’s been developed to work on the underlying problems. In other words, not just treat the symptoms of what the skin conditions are, but rather, treat the underlying effect. We did basic research in understanding what drives these conditions and sun-induced pre-cancers and Epionce is the first product line that reverses the two underlying drivers, which are chronic inflammation and abnormal barrier function. We are the only product on the market that we know of that actually optimizes the barrier function of the skin and reverses and prevents chronic inflammation, which is destructive.
Teri Hausman: Is chronic inflammation…would you say that’s rosacea? Rosacea, the condition where you have those red circles on your cheeks.
Carl Thornfeldt: Well, rosacea is a condition, so is dermatitis, seborrheic dermatitis. Many of the problem skin conditions that people get, including these acne-type lesions. People who have aging skin – we know that the destruction that occurs in skin aging is because of chronic inflammation activating bad enzymes that actually destroy the skin. And then another process of aging is that it prevents the normal repair of the skin.
Teri Hausman: So let’s take one problem at a time. So let’s just say the first one is aging skin. What product do you have for that?
Carl Thornfeldt: We have the Renewal Facial products, which include a cream, a lotion, and a light lotion, depending on your skin type. And they contain a component that reverses the inflammatory factors, called EpiA, and a component that repairs and optimizes the barrier, called EpiB.
Now the reason we went to botanicals is because we found that these processes of inflammation and barrier abnormality are complex, that to produce that, for example the inflammation, there were six pathways involved that produced what we see as redness and irritation and inflammation, destruction of the skin.
So there was really no way we could find products that were non-prescription and combine them all to have that kind of benefit because they key with ingredients is not just “is the ingredient there?” The ingredient has to be there in a stable formulation. It has to be delivered through the skin at a high enough concentration to actually work. So we went to the natural arena, went to botanicals, and knew what processes we needed to turn off.
And we screened over a hundred botanicals to find the ones that actually block the pathways that reverse the effects of these chronic inflammatory factors and repair the barrier. So it’s a very specific selection process. We did not start out creating a product for wrinkles as such. We started out to prevent the disease states that people see then as aging and as pre-cancers and rosacea, et cetera. Now, so that our product, then, because it optimizes the barrier and reverses chronic inflammation, is designed that it can be used in treatment and prevention of all those conditions.
We have a second group of products called the Lytic, which actually clean out the pores and get rid of the clogging that occurs. So that product is very effective for conditions like rosacea and acne. And they’re designed so they don’t dry out the skin like the other acne products that are on the market. But that contains the EpiA to affect inflammatory factors and also clean out the pores with what’s called EpiK.
Teri Hausman: So you would recommend that for young adults and adult acne, as well? Because I see a lot of people that are getting acne as adults.
Carl Thornfeldt: You know what? Teri, it’s been interesting. In a recent study that’s been done…in one study showed that more than 50 percent of adult women of 40 years of age have some acne problems. They don’t call it acne, they just call it blemishes or problem skin. And another study showed that 82 percent had some skin problems, whether it be rosacea, dermatitis, acne, in middle age. So we actually designed this product for that type of skin and for people that have sensitive skin – this is the Lytic I’m talking about.
And then we did a clinical study where the study was conducted by researchers, a contract research organization, and compared our product with 10% Benzoyl Peroxide. Not only did we work better and faster than 10% Benzoyl Peroxide, but none of the women had any problems that resulted in them stopping the treatment.
And, most importantly, to confirm, we also showed that there was decrease in the number of sun-induced pre-cancers that these women had and also a decrease in the wrinkles and fine lines that had, as well, while we were treating the acne with this product that did not irritate.
Teri Hausman: So what type of botanicals would be in that that you could find?
Carl Thornfeldt: The EpiA technology, which blocks the inflammatory factors, consists of extracts of date, and meadowfoam, flax, apple, rosa masceta [sp?]. And, as I said, all of those have components in them that are very specific in knocking things out. So for example, the date effect has polythenols [sp?] and so on that were superior to grape seed extract in our human assays. The flax and meadowfoam, that combo, was more potent in reversing inflammation than olive oil and some of the other fish oils and so on.
Teri Hausman: That’s pretty huge because those are always touted as being the best. That’s great.
Carl Thornfeldt: Yeah, they’re the best if you only test a few things. But, as I said, we screened over a hundred of the botanicals and found that in fact the reasons we selected the ones that we did is because they were the most potent in our assays. And each of the ingredients in there has a very specific activity. We know what the activity is, we know how it functions.
Then in the barrier repairing side, the barrier repairing technology, consists of specific extracts of avocado and safflower and those optimize the barrier and speed up repairing the barrier.
Teri Hausman: So what would be your advice for women with acne? Is it hormonal with them? When they turn 40 is that [when] your hormones start to change and then you see so much more acne? And then you would just buy your product, Lytic?
Carl Thornfeldt: Yeah, all acne is hormonal. And it’s just that when women mature, just as when men mature, there’s a change in the hormone levels and the estrogen levels fall faster than the hormones in women called androgens. And so the body detects that, that the androgens are the major drivers, so that causes enlargement of the hormone-sensitive oil glands, production of abnormal oil, increased stickiness of the skin, and so on, and then we see acne.
And in addition, we oftentimes see infections there because it changes the oil so it doesn’t fight off bugs, you know, bad bacteria as well as it should. And so that results, then, in a combination.
And the problem is, is what we see with adult acne is that they have four different groups of bacteria and yeast that will produce the acne type of lesions. And so what we need is a product that will actually block all of those. So we found that there are actually ingredients that are over-the-counter technologies that are what we call anti-microbial - that means they kill microscopic organisms. A
nd we took the ones that blocked those four major groups, put them in one product, determined they were stable, and then developed a delivery system to open up the pores and deliver those ingredients down into the pore. And that’s what’s in the Lytic.
In addition, because those are inflammatory-acting – in other words, pro-inflammatory…but bacteria, and of course, as the bacteria are dying, you know, they don’t want to be killed so they start producing other compounds to try to protect themselves and destroy those ingredients. So we have the anti-inflammatory ingredients in there, as well, and those will help turn down the inflammatory response so that, basically, things just melt away.
Teri Hausman: Oh, this is really good news for acne sufferers and I would encourage any of our listeners that get to try the Lytic to please write us and tell us how it’s going at [email protected]. And then we’re going to give you a link to Epionce so that you can find where to buy these products. But right now we’re going to have to take a break to thank our sponsors. Stay with us and we’re going to be right back. We call him Dr. Carl, but he’s Dr. Carl Thornfeldt and he’s a dermatologist who’s invented a great line of products. Be right back.
Teri Hausman: I’m Teri [xx], host of Beauty Now, PersonalLifeMedia.com. We’re talking with Dr. Carl Thornfeldt and he has a great line of products. They’re botanicals that reverse aging, acne, and more. Welcome back, Dr. Carl.
Carl Thornfeldt: Thank you very much, Teri.
Teri Hausman: Well, we left off talking about acne. Did we cover everything there? I guess I had one more question about it. People that are doing light lasers for acne, can they use this product when they’re doing, let’s say, the blue light or something?
Carl Thornfeldt: Absolutely, absolutely.
Teri Hausman: That’s great.
Carl Thornfeldt: These products actually are synergistic with other products. In other words, because they’re the first products that actually work on the underlying problem, they make all the other products work better. They prevent the irritation from other types of products and they stimulate them to work better.
And we’ve actually done studies with retinoids showing that we could prevent the retinoid irritation and actually improve the benefit of the prescription retinoid by using the Epionce product. I keep referring to those studies and those studies that we’re talking about are the gold standard to determine if something is safe and effective.
Teri Hausman: So, many of the products you’re talking about, are you talking about the clinical testing?
Carl Thornfeldt: Absolutely, the clinical testing that’s done.
Teri Hausman: And so how can we know what’s true from what the testing’s done? Your own testing or other people’s testing? How do you decipher the results?
Carl Thornfeldt: The gold standard has been determined by FDA and regulatory bodies around the world as what’s called a “double blind” – in other words, the doctor and the patient don’t know what the product is. So double blind prospective – in other words, you take a group of patients and you start treating them. They’re not under any other kind of treatment. Controlled trial – in other words, they’re given a certain amount of material, they apply a certain amount, they’ve got a very specific protocol, they’re evaluated in the office to look for benefit.
And it’s important because there’s been products on the market…there are products on the market who claim to have great clinical results and when they actually went to those kinds of clinical studies and preformed those clinical studies, they didn’t do well at all.
One product was claiming 90 percent resolution of wrinkles in their products within 60 days of use. In the doctor’s office, when they did the clinical study, they actually stopped the clinical study early because none of the doctors saw any change over a six month period with the product line. So you have to be very skeptical when people are talking about clinical studies.
So what you want to ask for are double blind trials using the finished product. In other words, what they’re asking you to use on your skin, that that medical office, they know that that particular finished product has actually been studied. Very often, the vast majority of times – as a matter of fact, in the last screening that I did, 80 percent of the companies that were saying that they had clinical studies were using data generated by somebody else or just using data from a specific ingredient.
And yet, when you take an ingredient and put it in a formulation where there are things to make it feel nice and smell nice and deliver it into the skin, the vast majority of those active ingredients are turned off and they don’t work. They’re damaged and they’re ineffective. So the only clinical trials are those that are double blind using the finished product. If they don’t have that, be very skeptical.
Teri Hausman: That’s good to know because it’s really confusing for the average person. I mean, really, even myself, who’s grown up in pharmaceuticals. You know, you just want to trust your doctor. You want to trust word of mouth. You want to say, “Hey, this is a great product. This is what it has in it. It’s been tested. Try it.” And that’s actually what we’re trying to get to the bottom of today. And it sounds like your products are amazing. And I do want to hear from listeners. If you’re trying Epionce, write to me at [email protected]. And this sounds like a great skin care line and I have tried it and I loved it.
So let’s talk about the difference between organic products, which are very popular right now. In your opinion, is there a difference between organic, botanical ingredients and non-organic? And explain the difference for our listeners.
Carl Thornfeldt: Yes. The difference is that organic products have a very specific set of criteria by the FDA where the field that they’re grown in cannot use any pesticides. There are very specific processes that after the material is cut and taken to the processing place they cannot use any ingredients to help preserve it until the processing has occurred.
There are certain processing issues that have to be performed, many of which are very expensive. And they have to have a specific time frame from the time of manufacture. So it’s a very rigorous type of requirements that they have to go through to get certified as organic.
The problem is, Teri, that to date, not a single organic line has proven that their product works. Not a single organic line has proven that their product is safe. As a matter of fact, there’s data out there, multiple studies presented, showing that organic ingredients – many of them actually have a higher incidence of contact dermatitis than the products that have been processed because it’s not as simple as just taking a flower and grinding it up and putting it in a cream.
You go through stages. You have to extract the active ingredient. So for example, even like the essential oils that people hear about – and we actually have essential oils in our product that actually help its activity – those, the plant has to be obtained, in other words, cut in the field, within 24 hours has to undergo a steaming process that pulls the oils out after the plant has been washed. It goes through a washing phase, then a steaming process to extract the oil. In other words, my point is that any plant that is being used in a topical product – something you apply to the skin or something you ingest – goes through a processing of some sort, OK?
And it’s not true when people think, “Well, it’s taken right from the field and put in” and that’s not the case. They all go through a processing aspect. The problem is that also with organic products, they’re allowed to contain 2 percent by weight of contaminants, of adulterants. So they can have microbes in there, fungi in there, parts of plant materials in there. 2 percent by weight doesn’t sound like a lot, but Teri, when it comes to compounds that actually work in the skin, that’s a huge amount. For example, prescription cortisones, their concentration is 0.05. There are other products that their concentration is 0.01 that are non-prescription. So for example, retinol is 0.1 percent has activity in the skin.
So if you’re thinking that you can have an ingredient, a product, that has 2 percent concentration of unclean things in the product, you know that’s either going to inhibit activity or is going to be associated with increased complications. And my point is that if you make claims that a product is safe and effective, because, after all, when a client comes to a skin care professional, that’s what they expected the skin care professional to determine – what is safe and effective. And you have an obligation to have documentation that, in fact, that product has undergone some safety and some efficacy testing. And so far, we have that on no organic products. So there’s a lot of work that needs to be done in that arena.
Now for us, keep in mind plants have hundreds of ingredients that were very specific ingredients that we wanted because we knew they affected certain pathways. So we go through actually a triple extraction process so we know that we consistently have the same amount of active ingredient all the time and we know what it is and we know that it works and we know where it’s delivered, OK?
Because, you know, we’re all familiar with what happens in the plant. We’ll look at the variation that occurs in climates, the amount of rain, the amount of sunlight. All that effects how much active ingredient is in a plant. So you want to actually have a well-processed one so you can be assured that you are getting the right amount of active ingredient and that you’re going to have the safest product.
Teri Hausman: Wow, you know your stuff. That’s pretty amazing to think that you can have 2 percent full of bugs or whatever. Can you tell our listeners what is contact dermatitis? Because we’ve mentioned it several times and a lot of us don’t know what it is.
Carl Thornfeldt: Sure. That’s where you put a product on your skin and you start getting redness, an itchy rash, blisters, hives, pustules, crusting, things like that, depending on the individual. But it’s becoming a real problem, Teri. We now know that 50 percent of American women complain of having sensitive skin. We know that 30 percent of Americans suffer from dermatitis. So those patients, particularly, are susceptible. And that really has been the focus of Epionce. We developed product lines for the sensitive skin, for the patient who has problem skin and is susceptible to developing dermatitis. They’re formulated for that particular group.
I was told by major cosmetic companies that I consulted for in the past that, in fact, that that market was not big enough to design products for problem skin. Well, what happens in contact dermatitis, and there’s usually two types of reactions, one is where you put in on the skin – like if you use paint thinner or turpentine or work with a lot of soil and so on, you’ll start getting an irritation reaction, with certain foods like tomatoes and onions, you can get those kind of acid responses. It’s called a contact irritant reaction. So you have to be exposed to the ingredient for a long enough period of time to get that.
The other type of reaction, which is the dangerous type of reaction, is a contact allergy. There, there’s actually ingredients, usually proteins, that bind to the skin and produce an allergic reaction. Now why that’s so important, Teri, is because the amount of that bad ingredient only has to be one part per hundred thousand to one part per ten million to activate that process.
Teri Hausman: And if anyone would see these breakouts on their skin from a product, would you suggest they go right to their dermatologist?
Carl Thornfeldt: That would be best, yep. To find out what the cause is.
Teri Hausman: And stop using it and maybe bring the product in to the doctor?
Carl Thornfeldt: Exactly right. And many companies will work with you in trying to find out what the allergens are. There’s a group, the North American Contact Dermatitis Society, who actually monitors this so that the testing that is done in the doctors’ offices of up to about 45 compounds. Those cover about 90 percent of the 5,000 some odd ingredients that are used in industry today. But there’s still about 500 of those ingredients that we don’t have any way of testing for, so it can be a real problem as far as getting to the bottom of it.
But, like I said, we have a very simple test called the RIPT test, which is done before the product hits the market – it should be done before the product hits the market – that actually can predict what your chances are of developing those types of reactions. So I think that’s the one basic test that should be done for all non-prescription products. That’s basically one of the things that I think is my calling is to actually educate doctors about these. It’s surprising how few doctors really understand all this development.
Teri Hausman: I agree with you because we’ve seen a lot of women have sensitive skin in the office and a lot of doctors don’t know what to do with it.
Carl Thornfeldt: Right.
Teri Hausman: They just pass them off as “oh well, they’re just sensitive” instead of trying to really figure out why. But we want to thank you for being on our show today. You’ve given us so much good information. Your skin care line is Epionce. If you go to PersonalLifeMedia.com, we’re going to link Dr. Carl Thornfeldt’s products, Epionce, up and you’re going to find out how you can buy it. And write us: [email protected]. Start using the products and we’ll come back with Dr. Carl and have a follow up show and talk about it. So, thank you so much and we hope to talk to you again. You gave us a lot of great information. Again, your line is Epionce. Thanks for being with us today.
Carl Thornfeldt: Thank you so much, Teri, and I appreciate all the listeners listening in today.
Teri Hausman: That’s great. Thank you so much. And if anybody wants a transcript of today’s show, go to PersonalLifeMedia.com and we’ll send you a free transcript. Thank you.
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