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The truth about "Organic" Skincare

By Arthur W. Perry, MD October 20, 2016 No comments

“Organic” may be the most bastardized word in the English language.

The strict definition of “organic” chemicals are chemicals that are carbon based. Somewhere along the line, the term became associated with edible products that did not contain toxins such as pesticides, herbicides, or antibiotics. While the definition was not particularly good, the concept was a welcome one. And over the last two decades the “organic food” industry has been steadily growing.

In the last few years, the "organic" concept has become even more bastardized, with the introduction of “organic skincare”. Real chemists cringe when products containing substances like inorganic zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, talc, and iron oxide are described as “organic”.   We are entering a whole new world of obfuscation…. The FDA does not even have a legal definition for “organic” and so if a company calls their products “organic”, they must follow the US Dept. of Agriculture definition. This is particularly bizarre since inorganic minerals are not agricultural products.

But let’s go a step further and consider why a skincare product should even consider being “organic”. The concept comes from a desire for healthy, wholesome products, made with healthy ingredients. This is a reasonable goal, but consider a skincare product made from organically grown poison ivy. Legally it could be labeled “organic”, but you don’t need to be a physician to know that this is not something you would want on your body. It turns out that essential oils, which make up so many wonderful fragrances, may be organic but also may cause allergic reactions called “contact dermatitis”. In fact, 14% of the population are allergic to one essential oil or another. Synthetic fragrances, certainly not called “organic” but indeed may be created with organic chemicals (in the strictest sense of the word), are often less likely to cause allergies than the “natural” ones.

And that brings us to the definition and benefits of “natural” substances in skincare. Plutonium and cadmium are natural, but you sure would not want those chemicals near your body. On the other hand, phenoxyethanol is a synthetic preservative that is particularly nontoxic and helps keeps your products safe and fresh. But organic or natural? No. So we must all be skeptical of the cosmetics and skin care that describe themselves as “organic” or “natural”.

The truth is that a well formulated product that is carefully evaluated for toxicity and efficacy is what should be created... For my products, I try and keep as short an ingredient list as possible because I know that each and every ingredient, whether “natural”, “synthetic”, or “organic” has the potential to cause toxicity or allergy. I choose my ingredients for for their scientifically proven efficacy and I scour the toxicology database to eliminate anything that can potentially cause problems. That is not as easy as it may seem, because safe and effective ingredients, such as vitamin C, can cause a terrible corneal injury if splashed in the eye. And because of that concept, simple table salt or vitamins are often considered “mildly toxic”.

Skincare is not as simple as it seems, and that is the precise reason I, as a plastic surgeon and biologist, have enjoyed creating safe and effective products for you.

It's sunscreen season

By Arthur Perry MD July 18, 2016 No comments

It's the middle of summer. The time when the sun is at its most intense. And that means you need to protect your skin - no matter what color it is. Sunshine contains visible light and invislble ultraviolet light (UV). You know that visible light contains all of the colors of the rainbow, but you may not know that UV light also contains a rainbow of colors. But you can't see the colors of UV light (did you know that some animals can?). The two main "colors" of UV light are called "A" and "B" (those scientists know how to name them, don't they?). The SPF designation deals with UVB. If your sunscreen covers UVA, it is called "broad spectrum". Sounds simple...but it isn't. In fact, there are many "colors" within UVA (85 to be exact), and to earn the "broad spectrum" designation by the FDA, a product only has to block exactly 1 of the 85 colors of UVA. Most broad spectrum sunscreens only block a few of the UVA colors. And that's the problem. So what's the solution? Zinc oxide - it blocks ALL of the UVA and UVB colors. It's a complete sunscreen. And now you know one of the reasons I use zinc oxide in my DayThyme product. (For the other reasons, check out my blog on the Dr. Oz website http://www.doctoroz.com/article/your-sunscreen-might-be-poisoning-you)

How do you determine whether a product really works?

By Arthur Perry MD November 26, 2015 No comments
There are tens of thousands of skin care products in the USA. So many make absolutely ridiculous claims and so many contain ingredients that can't possibly work. But how can you, the consumer, determine whether a product or ingredient is useful...or useless. It's actually nearly impossible, unless you have degrees in both chemistry and medicine. I've spent years looking at ingredients and I do believe that some work...they do what they say they do. But the vast majority of products don't work. They either contain ingredients that are too big to penetrate the skin, or they don't have enough of an active ingredient, or they have ingredients that are destroyed by sunlight....the list goes on. I spend hours reading labels of products. Sometimes I snicker and then I wonder if the clerk thinks there's something wrong with me. When I design my products, I only use ingredients with proven effectiveness. I use enough of the ingredient to make a difference, and I use the types that are biologically active. That's why my slogan is..."with my products, you don't have to read the labels...I do it for you." Have a great Thanksgiving!

New NightThyme is Ready!~

By Arthur Perry MD July 8, 2015 No comments

Greetings from Dr. Arthur Perry.  

I've got great news to share with all of you.  Beginning at midnight tonight, we'll be selling the new NightThyme. Here's the good news:  the actual product hasn't changed a bit.  Here's the better news - the pump bottle that was so, so finicky, has been replaced with a glass bottle with a dropper.  I guarantee you won't have issues with this bottle.  

If you've used NightThyme, you know what an incredible product it is.  It combines the real form of Vitamin C, high amounts of Vitamin A, 2 fruit acids in proper concentrations, 5 antioxidants including milk thistle, and 4 skin brighteners.  It's in a serum form because serums leave less useless residue on the skin than creams.  You know that your skin feels smoother the next morning after using NightThyme and that after a month or two, brown spots begin to fade and after several months, you notice less wrinkles.  But...that old pump was driving you crazy.  In the hot weather it could leak or stop working...despite the fact that it was the best and most expensive pump in the world (produced for me in France by Lablabo).  So, I set out to find a better pump.  None would work, because my product contains 20% acid and has a very low pH.  Ultimately, the solution was to package NightThyme in glass with a special type of cap.  I replace the air in the bottle with Nitrogen to preserve the product for as long as possible and refrigerate it from the moment of creation.  The glass is amber, to block light.

When you receive your new NightThyme, don't remove the cap until you are ready to use it for the first time.  Then replace the cap with the glass dropper cap.  I've tested the dropper cap and I know that the product does just fine, without refrigeration, with the dropper in place, for at least 5 months.  If you purchase extra bottles, you'll prolong their life by refrigerating them. 

I am confident that the new bottle will solve the problem of occasional leaks and pump issues.  Of course, glass bottles can break if dropped, so you'll notice that the new carton is a beautiful rigid box that can be dropped from 4 feet without the bottle breaking.  All of these changes cost quite a bit of money and the product cost is almost twice the original cost, but I have decided not to raise the retail price of NightThyme.  My goal is to provide the highest quality products at fair prices.  

I am so excited to offer this new NightThyme to you and welcome your feedback.  If you like my products, please tell your friends.  This is a "grass roots" company that I am trying to grow.

Arthur W. Perry, MD, FACS 

Tags: NightThyme

CleanThyme awarded a patent!

By Arthur W. Perry, MD, FACS February 22, 2015 No comments

I recently received a patent for my CleanThyme soap. "So what" you may say. Let me tell you why this is important.

It is pretty difficult to patent a product, no less a soap. The US patent office only grants patents for unique products - you've got to prove to them that your product is different from everything else on the market. I knew right from the start that CleanThyme was the most unique product that I've created. It is the only soap on the market that has the correct pH - it's acidic like the skin should be - and has no toxic sulfates, no preservatives, no petrolatum, and no dyes. The lather comes from the plant that makes root beer frothy. The bar is held together with edible beeswax. Even the fragrances are naturally occurring aromatherapy agents. They're proven to improve mood and decrease blood pressure. But since lemon oil sets you up for sunburn, I removed the part of lemon oil that does that.

It's one thing to make a scientifically perfect product. It's another thing to make a product that the public likes to use.  With CleanThyme, I hit a home run - it's a perfect product that cleans your skin without stripping it of your important natural oils.  It "performs" well with just the right balance of "slip" created with glycerin and oatmeal and..you'll love the tons of lather.  On top of that, it smells good enough to eat.

Traditional soap is one of the most toxic skin care products. It messes up the pH balance of your skin and allows bacteria to proliferate. The SLS in most soap destroys the barrier function of the skin, allowing toxins to penetrate and creating irritation and a syndrome of rough, oily, slightly red and swollen skin. Many of you have that and have always thought that that's how your skin always is. I addressed each and every problem with traditional soap and created CleanThyme.  

Now, you might be wondering why I made a bar soap, instead of a liquid soap, which looks so much fancier.  The simple fact is that bar soaps do not require preservatives.  And 14% of you are allergic to preservatives.  

Try my soap and many of you will see a difference in the appearance of your skin within a few days. (You've also got to start using an SLS free shampoo).

Now you can understand why the US Patent Office has decided that my CleanThyme is unique enough to warrant a patent. The only problem with CleanThyme? You'll never be able to use your old soap again.

Preservatives in skin care

By Arthur W. Perry, MD, FACS June 24, 2014 No comments
Preservatives are one of those things we don't want, but we can't live without. That's because we are surrounded by germs. They're everywhere - on our skin, on the table, on the floor, on your pet, in the garden. Bacteria, viruses, and fungi live (usually) in harmony with us. And they serve a useful purpose in the environment, helping organic matter decay. Anytime there is water, there will be bacteria. Just look at that piece of cheese way back in your refrigerator to see bacteria in action. The warmer and wetter it is, the more bacteria. That's why food grows bacteria. Refrigeration stalls the growth of bacteria and a so do preservatives. If you want something with water to stay fresh for more than a few days, it must have preservatives. That's why all cosmetics contain preservatives. The trick is to choose the safest ones. My CleanThyme does not contain preservatives because it's a solid. And the thyme and lemon naturally kill germs. My other products do require preservatives, but I purposely stay away from parabens and triclosan, notorious for their "endocrine disruption". In fact Minnesota just banned triclosan. I wish I did not have to use any preservatives at all, but then the products would not be able to sold commercially. So, I use the safest of all preservatives.

Pricing in skin care

By Arthur W. Perry, MD, FACS January 2, 2014 2 comments

You might call me an "outsider" in the skin care industry (not like those Washington outsiders who have been in government for 30 years!).  I'm a doctor.  A real doctor - I see patients in my 2 offices, do procedures, and perform surgery.  But I have a strong interest in skin care and love designing products that really do work.  My attitude  is that I have an obligation to create honest, fairly priced products.  When you purchase from a doctor, your expectations are different than when you purchase from a nameless, faceless, giant corporation.  You expect that a doctor will personally create products that are safe and effective...and fairly priced.  

When I go to stores and look at all those skin care product advertisements, I often cringe.  That's because so many products are not honest.  The ingredients are often unproven.  Or there isn't a high enough concentration to make a difference.  Or the active ingredients are unusable by the body...or the molecules are too high to penetrate the skin.  The list goes on.  

And then there's the pricing.  I know precisely what various companies pay for raw ingredients.  And I wonder how companies can charge hundreds of dollars for products that cost them just a few dollars.  And when those products are sold by physicians, I am embarrassed for my profession.

My products actually work.  They have the appropriate active ingredients.  In the right concentrations and in the correct form.  Interestingly, many industry analysts and buyers for large retail outlets have told me that my prices are too low - they say that people will have "more respect" for my products if they cost more!  I abhor that type of thinking.  Ripping people off is not my idea of a fair business practice that any company, no less one run by a doctor should do.

So, my friends, fans, and customers...My products will enter 2014 staying true to my mission.  Honest.  Effective.  Fairly priced.  Happy New Year!

Plant stem cells in skin creams

By Arthur W. Perry, MD, FACS December 12, 2013 2 comments

As you are deluged with advertisements for various skin care products, you might come across those that advertise "plant stem cells".  What the heck are these, you might ask...and why are they in my skin care products?

The companies that say they use these ingredients make all sorts of claims that these provide miraculous changes to the skin.  Here's the truth...

It is impossible to put plant stem cells in skin care products.  Stem cells are living material and if they could be isolated and added to your product, they would certainly die during processing.  But no company is really trying to add live cells...or any cells at all.  

Here's the science behind this scam....

Plants are powerhouses that make all sorts of chemicals to protect themselves from the environment.  Since they can not walk out of the blistering sunshine and find the shade of a neighboring tree, they need to produce their own sunblock.  That's why plants have such deep and rich colors.  Those colors are the sunblocks and antioxidants that protect plants from UV damage.  Plants also have evolved protections against heavy metals that might be in the soil.  

Many of those chemicals are concentrated in the "stem cells" of those plants...(no stem cells are NOT the cells in plant stems, but some companies seem to have forgotten that one, too...).  So, if stem cells are isolated from the remainder of the plant cells and the chemicals they produce are concentrated and collected, this concoction is called the "stem cell extract".  That is what many of these companies allegedly put into their skin care products.

Now, when we look at these extracts, three questions come up...  First - what is the concentration of the extract in the product and second - what is the mix of chemicals in the extract, and third - do those chemicals actually do something for your skin...

Since stem cell extracts are a virtually nebulous concept and since no company will divulge how much of these they actually put into their products, you, the consumer, are left with many questions...and empty wallets if you purchase.

I prefer to use real ingredients with many scientific papers documenting that they actually do work...in real clinical situations.  That means that when you squirt that stuff onto your hands and rub it into your face, you can expect real results.  

I'm all for the advancement of science, but consumers need to beware that fraud lurks on many shelves...even in the fanciest of stores...

(C) 2013 Arthur W. Perry, MD

Winter Skin

By Arthur W. Perry, MD, FACS November 16, 2013 No comments

It's getting cold outside.  I wonder why I live in the Northeast and not in Southern California.  And my skin asks me the same question.  The change of seasons is the time that your skin really begins to suffer.  The low humidity and low temperatures cause drying and cracking, particularly around the mouth and on your hands.  If you let this continue, you'll be miserable right around New Years Eve, when temperatures are at their lowest.  My products can help you fight these winter blues.  My CleanThyme will not irritate your skin and should be used twice a day.  And ths is the time of the year that I recommend my SoftThyme moisturizer.  SoftThyme contains those all important ceramides, which improve the skin's integrity and barrier function.  SoftThyme should be used after washing your face in the morning and after washing your hands.  Don't forget to put a little around your lips and on the outside of your nostrils.  This is particularly important if you develop a cold, since Kleenex can be very abrasive on your skin.  

Niacin in skin products

By Arthur W. Perry, MD, FACS August 1, 2013 2 comments

Vitamin B3 - that's niacinamide - is a wonderful skin care ingredient. When I created my former product, called Dr. Perry's DaySkinR, I was one of the first in the country to include niacinamide. Now, with my DayThymeTM, I kept this as a key ingredient. Here's why...

Niacinamide is a nonirritating skin rejuvenator. It's key function is to bolster the barrier function of the skin. That means it lowers water loss and makes the skin more resistant to things that destroy its barrier - mainly soaps. With niacinamide, the skin looks less red.

Niacinamide also brightens the skin in a way that is very different from most skin brighteners. Along with other brighteners like vitamin C and licorice extract (in my NightThymeTM product), it's the "One-Two Punch" to make the skin look better.

Niacinamide is particularly useful for diabetics, because it is the only substance that can reduce the yellowing of skin that plagues diabetics. This unique function is apparent as early as 4 weeks and peaks at 12 weeks of use.

Niacinamide's benefits continue with improvement of photo aging - texture improves, oil production decreases, pore size decreases and wrinkles are improved as early as 4 weeks, with a 5% improvement at 12 weeks.

Niacinamide is not destroyed by UV light, making it a great ingredient to use in the morning. And as a final bonus, niacinamide reduces irritation caused by vitamin A products.

So now you have it - and you understand why I included this wonderful vitamin in my skin care....

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