Ep 96 – The Rogue Pharmacist: There is No Such Thing as Sensitive Skin

Woman's face is getting pricked by a cactus.

Associated Skin Care Professionals (ASCP) presents The Rogue Pharmacist with Benjamin Knight Fuchs, R.Ph. This podcast takes an enlightening approach to supporting licensed estheticians in their pursuit to achieve results-driven skin care treatments for their clients.  You can always count on us to share professional skin care education, innovative techniques, and the latest in skin science.  

To learn more about treating clients with sensitive skin, read about this Gentle Giant, Mirabilis Jalapa extract, in ASCP’s Skin Deep magazine. This tropical flowering herb can offer big relief for sensitive skin.


About Benjamin Knight Fuchs, R.Ph.:

Benjamin Knight Fuchs is a registered pharmacist, nutritionist, and skin care chemist with 35 years of experience developing pharmacy-potent skin health products for estheticians, dermatologists, and plastic surgeons. Ben’s expert advice gives licensed estheticians the education and skin science to better support the skin care services performed in the treatment room while sharing insights to enhance clients’ at-home skin care routines.

Connect with Benjamin Knight Fuchs, R.Ph.:

Website: www.brightsideben.com

Phone: 844-236-6010

Facebook: www.facebook.com/The-Bright-Side-with-Pharmacist-Ben-Fuchs-101162801334696/


About Associated Skin Care Professionals (ASCP):

Associated Skin Care Professionals (ASCP) is the nation’s largest association for skin care professionals and your ONLY all-inclusive source for professional liability insurance, education, community, and career support. For estheticians at every stage of the journey, ASCP is your essential partner. Get in touch with us today if you have any questions or would like to join and become an ASCP member.

Connect with ASCP:

Website: www.ascpskincare.com

Email: getconnected@ascpskincare.com

Phone: 800-789-0411

Facebook: www.facebook.com/ASCPskincare

Instagram: www.instagram.com/ascpskincare





0:00:04.2 Tracy Donley: Welcome, everybody, to The Rogue Pharmacist with Benjamin Knight Fuchs presented by Associated Skin Care Professionals, otherwise known as ASCP. And I am Tracy Donley, Executive Director of ASCP. And joining me today and co-hosting is Maggie Staszcuk, our ASCP Education Specialist. Hey, Maggie. 


0:00:26.2 Maggie Staszcuk: Hi, Tracy. 


0:00:27.5 TD: So I have a question for you. 


0:00:29.4 MS: Of course. 


0:00:31.7 TD: Have you ever been told that you have sensitive skin?  


0:00:34.0 MS: I have. I feel like a lot of people think they have sensitive skin or they've been told they have sensitive skin. 


0:00:39.9 TD: Ah, yes. Well, good news. Guess what, guys? Today, Ben is going to share with us why no one should have sensitive skin. Welcome, Ben. 


0:00:50.3 Benjamin Knight Fuchs: Thank you. Nice to see you guys again. 


0:00:52.2 TD: Yeah, you too. 


0:00:53.6 BF: And that's kind of a bold statement. 


0:00:55.6 TD: It is?  


0:00:56.5 BF: Did I really say that?  


0:00:57.5 TD: You said that. 


0:00:58.2 BF: Wow. Well, think about it. What is this purpose of skin? It's to be a barrier, to be a barrier against assault, right? To be a barrier against wind assault or environmental assault, sun assault, microbial assault. So from an evolutionary perspective, it wouldn't make sense for it to be sensitive, right? And when we say sensitive skin that's kind of... Let's talk a little bit about the phrase "sensitive skin." There's no real thing... I'm doing air quotes here. There's no real thing "sensitive skin." It's kind of a colloquialism. We say that our skin is sensitive but there's no medical diagnosis called sensitive skin. People have a sort of idea that their skin is sensitive. What they really mean is when they put stuff on their skin it itches. Or when they put stuff on their skin they feel pain. When they put this stuff on their skin it burns. Or there's some kind of sensation, sensation, that they get when they put stuff on their skin. 


0:01:48.5 BF: But the skin is a sensory organ. So everybody has sensitive skin because the skin is a sensory organ. That's its purpose is to sense things. That's why you can pick up a nickel. That's why you can do things with your hands because the skin is a sensory organ. So on the one hand, everybody has sensitive skin. On the other hand, nobody should have sensitive skin in the sense that nobody should have problems with putting things on their skin. Nobody should experience burning when they put something on their skin. Nobody should experience uncomfortable sensations when they put stuff on their skin. You see it's kind of confusing, right? Skin is a sensory organ, so everybody has sensitive skin. But when people say they have sensitive skin they mean they have an uncomfortable feeling. So what exactly is going on? Well, have you ever heard of a condition called peripheral neuropathy?  


0:02:33.2 TD: Yes. Yeah, my dad actually has that. 


0:02:35.0 BF: Okay. Okay. And it's pretty common, actually. My mom has it. And she was like... I told my mom. And I work with a lot of elderly people. And I told my mom almost everybody, once they reach a certain age, has peripheral neuropathy. So what is peripheral neuropathy? It's pain, right? But it's a really weird kind of pain because it's kind of a burning pain, and it's a tingling but a painful tingling sensation. It's a neural sensation. And if you look at your foot. And peripheral neuropathy means periphery. It's on the hands and feet. It's on the periphery of your body. You look at your hands or you look at your feet where you're experiencing it, look normal. You can't see peripheral neuropathy. So what the heck is going on? It's very... To somebody who doesn't understand the body... My mom has no idea about her body, doesn't understand it. She's like, "What the heck is going on? I'm looking at my foot and I look at my hand. It looks normal, but I have this burning sensation." What's happening is the nerves that are ordinarily firing... Neurology is based on electricity that fires. When it's usually fires, we don't notice it. 


0:03:32.7 BF: Right now, there are all kinds of neural sensations that are going on as you're moving your body, but you don't notice it. What happens when you have peripheral neuropathy is inflammation blocks the firing of electricity. When that inflammation blocks the firing of electricity, the electricity short circuits. And instead of the electricity flowing in a normal way so you don't notice it, you're getting a short circuit. And that painful sensation, that burning sensation, is the perception of a short circuiting of electrical energy, right? And now, peripheral neuropathy happens on your hands and feet. It's periphery. Sensitive skin is skin neuropathy. It's a neuropathy of the skin. But because we don't see our nerves, and we don't know on our skin that we have nerves. We don't even have any idea that there's a whole neural component. It's this mysterious thing. Most important thing about sensitive skin is it's a sign that something is not working correctly, that the neural chemistry is not firing correctly. It's a neuropathy. It's a neural issue. Neuro means nerve, pathy means pathy, means disease. It's a pathology of the neurology of the skin. 


0:04:37.8 TD: Well, that's a mouthful right there. 


0:04:39.5 BF: Yes. A pathology of the neurology. That's basically what it is. It's a neurological problem. It's a health problem. Peripheral neuropathy should never happen to anybody, but it happens very commonly because we live unhealthy lives baseline. I'm not talking about people who live extremely unhealthy lives, who smoke cigarettes, or who go out and abuse their body or do drugs, or... I'm talking just as a baseline we live unhealthy lives because nobody tells us that we're not supposed to eat McDonald's. Nobody tells us that we're not supposed to have... And I'm not beating anybody up for the foods they eat. But the foods that we eat are the main reason why we're not as healthy as we should be. There's a current health crisis that's going on and we all wanna do the interventions. And there's should we do the intervention? Should we... I'm not even gonna mention what it is. But should we do it? Shouldn't we do it? Does it work? Doesn't work. But nobody's saying, "Maybe we shouldn't have dessert." Maybe the concept of dessert doesn't fit in with our evolutionary past. I'm not saying we shouldn't have dessert. I'm not beating anybody up for eating dessert. But I'm just saying from an evolutionary perspective, there's a way our bodies run. From an evolutionary perspective, our bodies are millions of years old. There was no dessert on the African savanna. 


0:05:43.8 TD: So are you saying that if I'm having a piece of chocolate cake every night... 


0:05:47.3 BF: I don't go there. 


0:05:48.7 TD: That I'm gonna have sensitive skin?  


0:05:50.9 BF: I'm trying to avoid going there. 


0:05:52.7 TD: Okay. I went there. 


0:05:54.8 BF: I'm trying to avoid going there. But yes, if you don't eat correctly, you will not be as healthy as you should. And this is how we wanna look at our skin problems 'cause I talk about the body in general. I do a lot of stuff on health. But we're talking here about the skin. We wanna look at our skin problems as health problems, not as divorcing the organ of the skin from the rest of the body, separating or segregating the skin like it's this separate animal that is not connected to the body, because it is. So here's the thing. Sensitive skin. Does it make sense the short circuit idea? So what is it that causes the short circuits? There's something that's clogging up the works. There's something that's keeping the electricity from flowing as it should. So you think of a wire and the electricity flows through the wire. If the outside of the wire, the insulation of the wire is starting to deteriorate, the electricity is going to spark, you're gonna have sparks that are flowing off in different places. 


0:06:46.5 BF: Well, so what is the wire... What is the covering of the neural wire, if you will? It's called the cell membrane. That's called the neural membrane, the neural cell membrane, the neuron membrane. The membrane is made of fats. The key element in skin health is the fats, always, always, always. No matter what your skin health problem is, always focus on the fats. In the case of sensitive skin, essential fatty acids, in the case... Vitamin A, zinc and electrical minerals, ions, potassium, sodium. They call them electrolytes. All the things you could do to facilitate the movement of electrical energy. That's number one. 


0:07:24.7 TD: Question on that before we go next. Would you say that then vegetarians tend to have more sensitive skin?  


0:07:31.6 BF: Yes. Absolutely. Why would that be? Well, 'cause everybody knows vegetables are good for you, plants are good for you, vegetarians are healthier. There's almost this kind of sense of pride, that people have when they're vegetarians, "I'm a vegetarian, I only eat... " And I happen to be mostly a vegetarian, I'll eat a little bit of fish, but there is something to be said for that. But vegetables, I don't... Forgive me if we talked about this 'cause I always feel like I'm repeating myself and I'm always kind of embarrassed to repeat myself, so if I said this before, forgive me. But it's important to remember. And repetitions are reinforcement. Vegetables don't wanna be eaten. Nothing wants to be eaten. Animals don't wanna be eaten. Vegetables don't wanna be eaten. Nothing in life wants to be eaten. Vegetables have evolved mechanisms to punish the foolish and intrepid eater, potential eater of those vegetables. They're called lectins or they're called plant defensive molecules, and there are substances and the most famous one these days is called gluten. But there's a lot of other ones, histamines, lysonase, there's a whole family of these compounds that are designed to keep insects and keep animals from eating that vegetable, and some of them are very sophisticated. There's this thing... There's a family of plant molecules called phytoestrogens. Have you heard of this?  


0:08:50.6 TD: No. 


0:08:50.9 BF: Phytoestrogens are estrogens... You know estrogen, female hormone, right? Plants make them. So we say, "What a heck, why would a plant make female hormone, what is that about?" Well, a plant makes female hormones, so that if the animal eats the plant, the female hormone will function as birth control and the animal won't have little babies to eat more plants. [laughter] 


0:09:10.0 TD: Okay. What plants are those?  


0:09:11.2 BF: They're thinking a generation ahead. [laughter] That's how smart these vegetables are. The carrots and turnips and beans, lentils and soy, and they all make these things to punish the rabbit, not to kill the rabbit, but to keep the rabbit from having more rabbit... Baby rabbits to eat the vegetables. This is the kind of sophisticated chemical warfare that's going on. So you say the vegetarians have high risk. Yes, because of these plant defensive molecules. Now not everybody's gonna have problems with these plant defensive molecules, which is why I said first thing is the fats, essential fatty acids, vitamin A, vitamin E, Alpha-lipoic acid. I don't wanna throw out a whole bunch of names here, but these are all very valuable and their minerals are part of the fatty system of the body, zinc in particular. Electrolysis are all important, but also avoiding things is important. Not only what you're putting in, but also what you're avoiding. So that this peripheral neuropathy that you... You said your grandfather?  


0:10:09.9 TD: My dad. 


0:10:10.3 BF: Your dad has peripheral neuropathy? My mom has it. Is a classic, classic sign of what's called dysglycemia, messed up blood sugar, classic diabetes, hyperinsulinemia, too much insulin in the blood, go hand in hand with peripheral neuropathy. So you say, "Oh, I'm not a diabetic, I went to the doctor, he said my blood sugar is normal." Forget it. It doesn't matter what they say, what the test says, if you have peripheral neuropathy, the chances are really good, no matter what your test score is, that you got messed up blood sugar, you wanna go by your symptoms, so you wanna start avoiding things, it's not just the nutrients that you put into your body, it's also what you're avoiding. You wanna avoid sugar and you wanna avoid anything that can spikes your blood sugar, you wanna avoid plant defenses if you have... And not everybody's gonna have reactions to the same plant molecules, it's always good to do a food diary and see where you're at. 


0:11:03.1 BF: Also, if you have something called leaky gut. When you have a leaky... And I think we've talked about leaky gut. We have holes that develop in the intestine, things get into the bloodstream. The skin is a repository for toxicity that's in the blood. The connected tissue in general, the skin... The top of the skin or the bottom of the skin... The dermis is connected tissue. The connected tissue is the great dumping ground of circulatory toxicity, and this is another... This is a major health problem. So when you have leaky gut syndrome, toxins start leaking into the blood, whether they're toxins from food or whether they're toxins from your intestinal bacteria, called endotoxins. They leak into the blood and they're pro-inflammatory and they will disrupt the flow of electricity. So you've got sugar that will disrupt the flow of electricity through a mechanism called glycation, you've got inflammatory molecules that can disrupt electrical energy in the skin through leaky gut syndrome or through foods that are coming in, food particles that are getting into the bloodstream and nutritional deficiencies can do it. 


0:12:06.4 BF: Because nutritional deficiencies cause breakdowns in the cell membranes and especially the nerve cell membranes, so if you have nutritional deficiencies, they can do it. Using nutritional supplements becomes a very important strategy. Food elimination becomes an unbelievably important strategy for people who have sensitive skin, in fact, that alone can make a huge difference. And then protecting the intestine using intestinal health strategies, probiotics, gelatin, digestive enzymes, lecithin, biosalt, there's a whole slew of things. So basically, you wanna focus on the intestine, and you wanna focus on fatty nutrients, and you don't wanna blame the products. Sensitive skin is not a product issue, it's a skin issue. There's a distinction people... You wanna make between irritated skin and sensitive skin. Irritated skin is skin that is responding to a product. Sensitive skin is a problem with the skin that's inherent in the neurology of the skin. 


0:13:02.2 TD: I have two questions for you, Ben. We're talking a lot about sensitive skin being an issue with, say diet. Can somebody be born with sensitive skin?  


0:13:14.0 BF: Yes, absolutely, because when babies are born, their digestive system is developing in the womb. So depending on what the mother's doing, that's gonna have an impact, not only that, but nature has this amazing system for loading the... Pre-loading the babies and intestine with bacteria. So baby comes out of the womb, that baby is drenched, coated with a coating of bacteria, right? And that coating of bacteria goes into the baby's mouth and goes into the baby's nose, and goes down the baby's digestive track and goes into the intestine and plants in the intestine. Well, what if the mom doesn't have the right bacteria? What if she's not eating correctly? What if her digestion is off? What if the baby is born Cesarean section? And that's not even half... A third of babies. Now they do Cesarean sections voluntarily, just for the convenience of it. So they can schedule the birth. So that's... Today kids who were born 40, 50 years ago, they didn't even know about the microbiome. 


0:14:10.4 BF: So yes, you can have problems with dysbiosis right from the get-go. And then also, nature has developed a system for building not only the baby's digestive tract, but building these immune system, and the immune system and the digestive tract are two peas in a pod. When the baby, after the baby comes out of the birth canal and the baby's born. What is that system called? A breast milk. Breast milk is supposed to develop the immune system and the digestive track. Well, we know not all babies are breastfed. We know not all babies are breastfed long enough. Even if they are a breastfed long enough, and maybe the mom has an allergen herself that she's passing through the breast milk. On top of that, we know that drugs are stored, are processed and stored in the microbiome. Do you know what I mean when I say that?  


0:14:55.8 TD: I did not know that. 


0:14:56.9 BF: Yes, they're processed and stored in the microbiome, not only that, but the microbiome breaks them down, makes them more better, makes them weaker, makes them stronger, stores them, prevents the proliferation of new bacteria to repopulate the microbiome. So there's a whole interaction between prescription medication and the microbiome. And you say, Well, I don't do any prescription drugs. Oh yeah, if you're drinking water you are. If you are eating fish, you are. If you're drinking milk, you are. So there's so many ways to Sunday that these things can happen. And I love talking about the mechanisms, I think it's really fascinating, but it doesn't matter, 'cause where there's smoke, there's fire, and that means if you have sensitive skin, you got a problem. And the problem is gonna be in one of those three places that I said. It's gonna be in the cell membrane, it's gonna be inflammatory, it's gonna involve nutritional deficiencies, and it's gonna be a short circuit of some kind. So you can't say... Lemme just say this one thing, you can't say... 'cause a lot of people say, "Well, I only eat organic," Or "I'm a vegetarian," Or "I have a healthy diet." I love that one. Oh yeah, really what's a healthy diet? People are all broken out they go, "But I have a healthy diet." You can't say that you have a healthy diet if you're broken out anymore then you can say," I don't have a fire" if there's smoke. If there's smoke, there's fire. 


0:16:11.0 BF: And it doesn't matter what your test score is, it doesn't matter what your diet is. If you have something going on, then something is going on inside the body, and almost always it's gonna involve the digestive system. And for the estheticians, they should know, you don't have to be a nutritionist. No you're an estheticians, you're not a nutritionist. You don't have to be a dietitian, that's not necessarily your calling card. But you're not gonna be able to fully help your client if you don't understand the link between what you're eating, what you're putting in your mouth for better or for worse. In other words, what you are putting in mouth or what you're not putting in your mouth. What you are getting that you shouldn't be getting, and what you're not getting that you should be getting, you're not gonna be able to optimize your practice or your client's skin health, if you don't have an understanding of the rudiments, and its's simple as doing a food diary by the way. 


0:16:55.3 TD: Where will an esthetician start? If they've been treating one of their clients for a while... 


0:17:00.8 BF: For sensitive skin?  


0:17:01.6 TD: Yeah, and they're just not seeing the benefits, the results that they're looking for. How do they start that conversation?  


0:17:08.4 BF: Classic. Food diary. Food diary does several things. Number one, a food diary gives you data. That's the most important thing. If you go to a hospital, they chart, that's the first thing, always chart. You learn to chart. Okay, that's... In fact, that's the first thing you learn in pharmacy school. I'm sure it's the first thing you learn in nursing school, probably the first thing you learn in medical school is you chart. You write everything down, you don't go by memory, and you notice patterns and you notice trends. When you chart number one, you get data, that's the most important thing, you're not flying in the dark. And memory is kind of faulty, people, we forget, forget we ate, we don't remember everything, we don't remember all the details. But your chart, you start to notice things. 


0:17:43.7 BF: And then, number two, this is really important, charting vests your patient, charting shows the patient that their lifestyle is having an impact. You don't want... It's not... I'm not an esthetician, I'm a healthcare professional though, and I can speak as a healthcare professional. I don't want my patient to put it all on me. And that's what patients will do. And you don't wanna be that person. You wanna be working with your patient and by charting the patient gets involved. They're vested in the health process. And they could begin to, number one, see their involvement, see that, "Oh my God, every time I have corn, I break out, or every time I have gluten, I'm more sensitive. Every time I have eggs, this happens." And they'll start to notice things, and it makes your patient more powerful. 


0:18:29.0 TD: I love that, it is such great advice. 


0:18:31.1 BF: It makes your patients feel like they have something to say in how their body shows up, because it's the most frustrating thing for a patient to have their body... And for anybody to have their body messed up and they don't know what the heck is going on. When you start to see the link between your lifestyle choices and the way your body is showing up, it gives you a sense of control over your life, and that is an amazing feeling. That's such a great thing, a great gift for a healthcare professional to give their patient. And it gives you data so you can start to work, you can start to play with things. And invariably, when somebody has a skin problem, they haven't connected it to a digestive problem or food problem, they're blown away by what they find out. 


0:19:12.6 BF: "Oh my God, every time I have my... " And by the way, it's your favorite foods usually. It's usually your go-to food. So that's a good shortcut I tell people is, "Go to your favorite foods first. Eliminate your favorite foods first." Sometimes patients will say, "I can't... I can't not have Fritos," or whatever it is, eggs or dairy, ice cream, or whatever it is. I can't not do this. Okay, tomorrow spend all day just eating ice cream, tomorrow spend all day just having beans, tomorrow spend all day just having eggs. Watch what happens. Now that's a little extreme and it's probably not the best way to do it, but at least again, they'll start to get a sense of how their lifestyle choices are impacting their skin or any other part of their body. And digestion is another good indicator because usually you'll feel something, but we don't pay attention because when we have a food problem, we don't notice it, if it happens over and over again, the brain doesn't notice things that happen over and over again. 


0:20:03.3 BF: The brain only notices different things, it only notices contrasts; in fact, everything we see here, we only see because the left of your face looks different from the right of your face or the left of your face looks different from your face, things look different, so we see our reality via contrast. So you have to see contrast. If you have been constipated your whole life, or if you have been gassy or bloated your whole life, there's no contrast there, you don't even notice it. And we usually don't talk to other people about our digestion, and so we don't notice things, but if you start to pay attention, especially if you stop eating for a couple of days, and it's usually a good idea to stop eating for a couple of days, then you really get the contrast, but even if you don't, if you start to pay attention, you'll start to notice things, and that's the most... Yogi Berra said, "It's funny about paying attention, when we start to pay attention, you notice things." 




0:20:49.5 BF: And that's true, you start to pay attention and writing things down and starting to pay attention. It really is, it gives you a sense of involvement in your life and an involvement in your health. The way I look at it as healthcare professional is invaluable. 


0:21:01.8 TD: Yeah, I have to say I had an egg allergy for a long time, and so that was kind of where I'm going with this question, is that I had it for about 14 years, and then someone had mentioned that you could somehow become not allergic to something, and so... 


0:21:20.9 BF: And vice versa. 


0:21:22.1 TD: Yeah, and so they said, well, usually... I don't know if this is true, every seven years, your cells turnover, and so I tried eggs and I can eat eggs again. Which is my favorite food. I'm so excited. 


0:21:33.9 BF: Well, congratulations! That's awesome, that's awesome. And also by... Sometimes people can have hardboiled eggs, but they can't have soft-boiled eggs, and sometimes they can have scrambled eggs, but they can't have... The way you prepare the eggs has an impact, and also there are digestive enzymes that can help you with certain food allergies, there's a gluten digestive enzyme that you can use, protein digestive enzymes can help. Sometimes enzyme deficiencies can have an impact on certain foods and how you process foods. Also interestingly, stomach acid, we have the best-selling... The number one or number two best-selling drug, over-the-counter drug, I think it's number one best selling over-the-counter drug is antacids. So it would seem like everybody has too much acid, but exactly the opposite is the case. As we get older, we make less stomach acid, and in fact, we're gonna talk about rosacea, and that's a classic... 


0:22:18.9 BF: One of the classic manifestations of what's called hypochlorhydria or achlorhydria, which is low stomach acid, is skin problems, like for example, rosacea and sensitive skin for that matter, and that's another thing is low stomach acid can cause sensitive skin. So using apple cider vinegar before meals, stomach bidders, if you ever heard of Swedish bitters or radish, or dandelion, greens, starting your meals off with parsley, all of these are good ways to start stimulating digestive juices, especially stomach acid. And then you could even go to the pharmacy and get hydrochloric acid drops that you can put in water and drink them before meals or something called Pepsin HCL, which you could buy as a supplement. You heard of that? Betain HCL. Betain HCL is very interesting because that helps you with making collagen. 


0:23:01.0 TD: That sounds like a double whammy and something I'm putting on the list. Yeah. Maggie, do you have more questions?  


0:23:08.0 MS: I do, yeah, actually. Ben, when we first started the conversation, you were talking about pain and having those neurons or dendrites in the skin, and it really made me think about anti-aging and as an aesthetician, we are... Not that we're creating pain, but we're creating inflammation with things like chemical peels. And so it seems like there's a little bit of a connection there, for that esthetician who's every month doing something like a chemical peel or putting retinal on the skin. That is pain or there is a sensation, so to speak, and too much inflammation or too much pain, isn't that leading to sensitivity or to reaction?  


0:23:47.4 BF: It shouldn't, if the skin is healthy it will recover, but if the skin is not healthy the barrier can be compromised and that's another factor. Usually, there's a little controversy over it, but I tend to believe that there's a barrier problem as well. I'm gonna say barrier problem. The skin is so... And I'm writing a book on the skin now, and I've been writing on the stratum corneum. The Stratum corneum is like 1/10th of a piece of paper thick. Take a piece of paper like this. In your minds eye, divided it by 10, and that's how thin the stratum corneum is. And it's supposedly dead, which it's made of dead cells, but it's not dead. I've got 30 pages I've written just on this little sliver on the top that is basically dead skin, and I'm still writing on it. 


0:24:26.8 BF: So there's so much complexity, the stratum corneum barrier has so many working parts in it and so many components, and while it's made up largely probably two-thirds or so of it are dead cells, there's a lot of chemistry that's happening around those dead cells, and even within those dead cells, and again, if there's inflammation from toxicity or from broken down cells or from malnutrition, or from sugar, that's going to impair the development of the barrier, and that's going to make it harder to recover from a retinal appeal, or it's gonna make the skin more sensitive or hyper-responsive to a retinal product or a glycolic product, but that might be more in the realm of an irritation than a sensitivity. 


0:25:06.9 MS: So is that like reactive versus sensitive, 'cause we use those terms a lot in esthetics?  


0:25:11.2 BF: Okay. I haven't heard those terms, but I don't know if I would use those terms because it seems to me like sensitivity is a reactive, so I don't know if there's a distinction there, but irritation is more about a product and how the skin is responding to a specific product. Sensitivity is just touching it, just being sensitive. Because the skin is one mass sensitive, sensitizing organ. What is touch? Touch is sensitivity. If that's the purpose of the skin, or one of the purposes of the skin is to be sensitive, it's a sensory organ, so when you have hyper-sensitivity, which is really kind of what we're talking about here, you got a disturbance within the skin that's independent of the product that you're putting on. Glycolic, retinal, TCA lact... Whatever kind of agent, stimulating agent that you're using, that when the skin responds to that agent, that's more about the skin's response to that agent. 


0:26:01.9 BF: And while it's not necessarily only the fault of the agent, 'cause everybody should be able to use retinal, everybody should be able to use retinal, everybody should be able to use alpha hydroxy acids because the skin is designed by evolution to constantly renew itself, constantly. You know what I'm saying? It's like, comes up, it drops off, it comes up, it drops off. Till the day you die. Even after you're dead, it's still doing it a little bit. It's constantly, because... And think about it. Doesn't that make sense? You're out in the African savanna, you're getting cut up, you're foraging for berries or doing whatever we did... From an evolutionary perspective, the skin has evolved to constantly be repairing itself. And this is where the complexity of the skin comes in. All of that constant repair is so dependent on molecular chemistry, on molecules, on things happening. 


0:26:50.4 BF: Under ordinary circumstances, we don't have to think about it. Under healthy circumstances, we don't have to think about it. But as time goes by and the effects of our lousy lifestyles, let's just call a spade a spade. The way we live, and I'm including myself in this, I'm not judging anybody. And also environmental toxicity. There's something called the exposome. Have you heard of the exposome? The exposome is the... All of the things we're exposed to. Whenever you hear -some, or -ome, like microbiome, for example, O-M-E is the biochemical word for home. Like the bot... 


0:27:24.0 MS: That makes so much sense. You can totally remember it that way. Yeah. 


0:27:26.7 BF: Right? The virome. The virome is the home of the viruses. The microbiome is the home of the microbiology. The exposome is where all the things we're exposed to in the atmosphere live. And we have created a very toxic exposome. From ozone to carbon monoxide, to cigarette smoke, to only God knows what kinda chemicals are being spewed in the air. Tons and tons of chemicals being spewed in the air. So, we're all living in a toxic environment, so we're all gonna be... As we age, it's gonna be very difficult to not start to have notice these kinds of problems, even if you take really good care of yourself. Under ordinary healthy circumstances though, everybody should be able to use retinal. Everybody should be able to use alpha-hydroxy acids. If you can't use those, treat that as an indicator that you're missing a couple of things. For example, there's a really incredible nutrient called beta-sitosterol. Have you heard of this?  


0:28:15.1 TD: No. 


0:28:15.4 BF: Beta-sitosterol is something you get at the health food store. It is so amazing for calming the skin down, prophylactically, so that you can use retinal. Just by self-medicating with beta-sitosterol. Essential fatty acids. I've noticed that under conditions of essential fatty acid deficiencies, people are gonna be much more sensitive to retinal. So, before you get on retinal, start loading up with Udo's Blend. We talked about that, but it's... 


0:28:37.4 TD: I love it. By the way, that is delicious. 


0:28:39.0 BF: Isn't that delicious?  


0:28:39.8 TD: It is delicious. 


0:28:40.2 BF: Did you put it on eggs with a little bit of salt?  


0:28:41.7 TD: Oh, I just take it straight. 


0:28:42.8 BF: Straight. It's awesome, right?  


0:28:43.4 TD: It's awesome. 


0:28:44.3 BF: So, wait till you... It's been about a month that you've been on it? Or three weeks?  


0:28:47.7 TD: About three weeks, yeah. 


0:28:48.8 BF: Have you noticed anything with your skin? Wait... 


0:28:50.2 TD: Blueberry is my favorite. There's a blueberry. 


0:28:52.7 BF: I didn't know that. 


0:28:53.3 TD: Yes. 


0:28:53.6 BF: Okay. 


0:28:53.8 TD: It's good. 


0:28:54.3 BF: So, have you noticed anything with your skin or anything with your health yet? You're gonna... 


0:28:56.9 TD: Yeah, much better. 


0:28:57.4 BF: Okay, you're gonna start to notice it. 


0:28:58.5 TD: Less sensitive skin, actually. 


0:29:00.6 BF: Less sensitive skin. Bingo. Bingo. Exactly. So, EFAs, essential fatty acids, beta-sitosterol and niacin are all three wonderful supplements for building the barrier, helping to build the barrier, helping to make the molecules that are... That kind of act as the mortar... Have you heard of the brick-and-mortar model? Yeah. So, the mortar is composed largely of fatty acids. There's other things, too. There's cholesterol in there and a couple of other things, but fatty acids are a large component of it. And a lot of that comes from the diet, and especially essential fatty acids. And there's another... You've probably heard of ceramides. Ceramides are also involved in that and it's these essential fatty acids help you make all of these things. So, they make your barrier stronger. Niacin is also very helpful, as I say. And then my favorite, which is kind of unknown. It's a secret. I shouldn't have told you... 


0:29:45.8 TD: Oh, then tell us. We wanna know the secret. 


0:29:47.2 BF: Do you wanna hear another good secret? This is for men. 


0:29:49.9 TD: Oh. [chuckle] 


0:29:50.1 BF: Beta-sitosterol is amazing for the prostate. So, for men who... 


0:29:53.3 TD: Nice. Healthy prostate. 


0:29:54.0 BF: Healthy prostate. Who doesn't want a healthy prostate? You don't want... 


0:29:57.6 TD: Everyone. 


0:29:57.8 BF: Well... [laughter] 


0:29:58.1 TD: Oh, wait, I don't even have a prostate. 




0:30:01.1 BF: No, for men who are getting up, going to the bathroom in the middle of the night. I don't know, you're too young probably, but for men who are starting to do that, it's kind of a bummer. But beta-sitosterol is like a miracle, so... And you need a lot of it, though. You need about 600 or so, 600-700 milligrams a day. 


0:30:18.1 TD: Well, you heard the little secret here. 


0:30:18.3 BF: That's a little secret. 


0:30:19.1 TD: Yeah, that's a good one. And on that note, I think that we're gonna wrap it up here, today. That is amazing, thank you so much, Ben. And as always, if you're not an ASCP member, join today at ascpskincare.com/join. If you liked this episode, make sure you subscribe today, so you never miss a single one. And details from what we discussed today will be in the show notes. If you can't get enough of Ben Fuchs and come on, who can't, right? Our Rogue Pharmacist, you can listen to his national syndicated radio program at The Bright Side. 


0:30:53.7 BF: The Bright Side. 


0:30:54.7 TD: The Bright Side. 


0:30:55.0 BF: The Bright Side, 'cause I was sick of all the negativity that was out there. 


0:30:58.4 TD: Oh, I like that. 


0:30:58.9 BF: That's why I called it The Bright Side. 


0:31:00.4 TD: That's easy to remember. 


0:31:00.5 BF: Yes. 


0:31:00.6 TD: Let's get a little bright side. And if you want more information on ASCP and all of the resources that we offer estheticians, check us out on Instagram at ASCP Skin Care. Or please, you guys, share your feedback at Get Connected at ascpskincare.com. Thank you so much, Ben. 


0:31:20.6 BF: Thank you. Thank you. 


0:31:20.8 TD: And thanks to everybody for joining us today. Have a beautiful day. 


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