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Episode 28: SkinBoss with Lisa Richards | The Science of Skin Care

Posted by Manoj Perumal on

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About This Episode

SkinBoss with Lisa Richards | The Science of Skin Care

In this episode of Discover with Dr. Dan | Proactive Health, Dr. Dan meets with skincare expert and guru, Lisa Richards. Lisa has an extensive background in educating about skin and is an advocate for science-backed skincare products. Listen to the full podcast below to learn more. 

Busting Skincare Myths, One Rumor at a Time

Every day we do things to take care of our organs like sleeping, eating, and exercising, but what can we do to take care of our biggest organ, the skin? This is where Lisa spends a great deal of time educating people about the science behind skin and what we can do to keep it healthy. So often she finds that social media trends take the skincare world by storm and the issue surrounding this is that many of the trendy claims aren’t supported by science. It’s so easy for an influencer with a huge following to slap their face on a product campaign and sell bottles by the thousands simply because of their reach. What many people who buy these products fail to realize is that these influencers have entire teams of skin care experts and makeup professionals making their skin look picture perfect for the campaign – a luxury which most of the common folk don’t have access to. This leads to huge misconceptions about what is and isn’t good for the skin and Lisa hopes to bust some of these myths through her work. 

Hot Trends or Proven Treatment?

Microneedling is just one of the many skincare trends that was initially popularized by social media influencers. What exactly is microneedling? It’s a form of skin therapy involving putting micro punctures in the skin to promote rejuvenation through increasing collagen and elastin. It’s minimally invasive and is a fairly easy procedure; however, Lisa warns that this shouldn’t be done at home. Everyone has different skin types and depending on the quality of the surface, estheticians have to use different needle lengths and pressures to achieve desired results. To the untrained eye, this procedure seems fairly self explanatory but Lisa advises that it should always be done by professionals who use legally regulated, sterile equipment. 

Collagen and elastin are hot topics in the industry. Every new skincare line seems to advertise collagen promotion on every product. To Lisa’s dismay, she finds that many students and clients believe the human body stops producing collagen at age 25, which simply isn’t true. Our bodies naturally produce collagen but over time, the production process slows. Companies that are marketing-based rather than science-backed in the industry use collagen as an attention grabber through social media campaigns. This naturally produced molecule is often too big to be absorbed into the skin when formulated incorrectly. “Collagen, topically and internally, is a large molecule in the body so it doesn’t penetrate the skin well, it doesn’t translate. Putting collagen in or drinking collagen doesn’t mean you just put collagen in and it knows where to go.” The brands that formulate this molecule right are able to help it target the skin – a task so many companies fail to do.

Start Taking Care of Your Skin Now

What can we do to be proactive about the longevity and health of our skin? According to Lisa, nutrition and skincare go hand in hand. You can’t have one without the other. “Truly healthy skin needs nutrients from the inside.” Beauty starts from within and eating a diet rich in colorful vegetables is a sure way to add copious amounts of nutrients to the body. Another tip from Lisa is to avoid activities that damage your skin, because at the end of the day, you can’t reverse damage. Sunscreen, for example, is key for protecting your skin daily, even if you plan on spending the day inside. So many people suffer from skin cancer and this can be avoided with daily skin protection

Many of Lisa’s clients say their only form of skincare is essential oils, which is a huge problem for the skin. Not all essential oils are the same, and they shouldn’t be applied topically because they can really irritate your skin. “They’re more irritants than they are therapeutic,” Richards notes. Just because something’s natural, it doesn’t mean it should be applied to the skin. Lisa uses the example of grass to help her clients understand this concept. Why is it that if she were to rub grass on her face that she would break out in a rash, even though it’s a natural plant? The answer’s simple. Not all natural things are naturally good for the skin.

Lisa hopes that through educating the masses, more products can be made with scientific testing and that more people will be open to trying skincare. As Lisa always says, “The people who need skincare [are those who] have skin.”

To learn more about the SkinBoss and essential care tips, check out the Discover | Dr. Dan Proactive Health podcast episode below, and be sure to subscribe for new episodes each Tuesday. 


Dr. Dan Gubler: (00:09)

Welcome to Discover with Dr. Dan | The Proactive Health Podcast. This podcast is sponsored by Brilliant, an innovative wellness company. Brilliant helps people live proactively and a healthier and happier life by discovering and using bioactive compounds from plants to help people discover and unleash their innate brilliance. See for more information. So we’re delighted to have you on the show with us today, Lisa, the Skin Boss. So exciting and our listeners here are in for a treat. So why don’t you tell us a little bit about your background, how you got into skincare?

Lisa Richards: (00:47)

Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I went to esthetician school about 20 years ago when that wasn’t my path at all. I thought I was at BYU working in business on a business degree, and then I thought I’d take a break. And this was really interesting to me because I wanted to study beauty, but more at a deeper level. So when I got into that, ingredient technology really grabbed me and I just stuck with the esthetics forever. Now esthetician school, doesn’t teach you very deep into formulations. And so basically through time, I’ve just studied a lot to try and understand skin, its function, the ingredients we work with and a lot of experience. So 19 years of being an esthetician of working with skin. So a lot of seeing what happens in our practice.


That’s awesome. I love how you bring in the science element. A lot, like you said, a lot of estheticians, they just kind of know general stuff and kind of stuff that has been passed on from generation to generation that aren’t exactly true.

Lisa Richards: (01:41)

Exactly. You hit it because I, that’s where I have, like, we hear a lot of things, but I always tell people as I teach other estheticians, we gotta like do, why is that true? Do you know, like we’ve got to qualify this information because we pass down a lot of just words and ideas that we haven’t established that they’re totally true or why and esthetics and everything dealing with the skin needs to be really science-based. So though we’re not chemists or the formulators in that way, we can’t just accept what we’re being told and blindly go about, like, “They told me this product works. It’s going to do amazing things.” Or “This, I don’t understand the treatment, but it’s supposed to do a good thing.” So I really want to understand things inside and out.

Dr. Dan Gubler: (02:24)

Awesome. And education is key for skincare –

Lisa Richards: (02:27)


Dr. Dan Gubler: (02:28)

Huge industry. Everybody uses it and do people need skincare? I guess –

Lisa Richards: (02:34)

Everybody needs skincare. I say the people who need skincare is if you have skin. So everybody needs it. Doesn’t mean they need it and all want it at the same level, but everybody needs some level of it because whether you’re washing your face with shower gel and, every morning or whatever, someone’s doing something. And so we want to understand what you want from your skin and that at least you have the ideas and steps to know how to care for it.

Dr. Dan Gubler: (02:57)

So those people that pride themselves on all natural, not doing anything, and that’s pure, natural skin.

Lisa Richards: (03:04)

That’s like, it’s funny because it’s not really in conjunction with what the skin like naturally, it’s what it needs. Like. So natural, does our skin produce its own sunscreen? No, but we’ve also moved out of our indigenous regions so our skin types don’t have the natural protection built in. Not everyone living in Arizona or southern countries has a darker skin to protect themselves. So natural doesn’t really work with our environment in lifestyles anymore. We naturally, I mean we naturally age. And so I guess we’re talking, we, most people want to intervene with natural processes at this point.

Dr. Dan Gubler: (03:39)

Right. Okay. So that’s a perfect segue today. We’re talking about skincare hot trends and we’re going to bust some myths here.

Lisa Richards: (03:48)

Oh yeah. I’m going to do really good at this.

Dr. Dan Gubler: (03:48)

So let’s first talk about beauty from within. Huge area. Now, I guess the first question is, do we need beauty from within stuff? We have skincare products that are amazing. Serums, cleansers, toners, hydration, night creams. I mean, do we really need something that we take inside our body?

Lisa Richards: (04:04)

I’m not going to ever see need, but do we want that? The market wants it. Most individuals want it. And based on what people are wanting to see from their skin, yes. Then you need it because we, there’s never going to be one answer. There’s never going to be one jar, one drink or one thing that will do everything for you. That’s chemically impossible. So it’s a complex approach for complex issues. This skin ages and all our skin function is a complex process. It doesn’t come down to just oxidative stress or just the loss of collagen or it’s, it’s multiple things, and so we have to target it in multiple ways. So beauty from within is one of those ways that it targets what’s topical skincare isn’t going to do and vice versa. You can’t, beauty from within can’t exfoliate your skin for you.

Dr. Dan Gubler: (04:49)

Yeah. Yeah. I love that complex system. There’s millions of chemical reactions going on in the body and a lot of those are related to skin health.

Lisa Richards: (04:57)


Dr. Dan Gubler: (04:58)

Skin’s the largest organ of the body as you said before.

Lisa Richards: (05:00)

Right. And we kind of neglect it. Like we focus a lot on other organs and the skin is a protective mechanism, but we don’t. So therefore we need to protect the skin. So it’s serving its function. So we protect the integrity of skin health and then it functions as a protective mechanism for your whole body.

Dr. Dan Gubler: (05:16)

Yeah. So beauty from within obviously, the first thing that we think of with beauty from within is collagen. So let’s talk about collagen, super hot. Every product is collagen. Everybody’s talking about it. What would you tell us about collagen? I mean, when we see collagen and on the bottle of a skincare product, beauty from within –

Lisa Richards: (05:33)

Oh yeah, we got collagen in general. It comes in so many forms. We’re talking from some gel mass that says it’s collagen infused and you set it on or a pill, a drink, like collagen serums, there’s collagen in everything, but the biggest issue with collagen, when I see that, I automatically just roll my eyes and go, “Uh huh. Collagen.” Because it’s not even just your source of collagen but collagen, topically and internally, is a large molecule in the body. So it doesn’t penetrate the skin well, it doesn’t translate. Putting collagen in or drinking collagen doesn’t mean you just put collagen in and it knows where to go and you made new collagen –

Dr. Dan Gubler: (06:08)

And it doesn’t just naturally, voila, I go to the –

Lisa Richards: (06:11)

Exactly. Exactly. It’s like, where in your body did it say I’m digesting it and now I’m going to send it to the skin and it’s going to make collagen and firm it up? So I think it’s really, it’s just an idea because people hear collagen is what makes my skin firm. So they think collagen’s in that cream equals firmness, you know? So it’s really kind of, I think, preying on an uneducated market. But the good news is there are some, and I’d say very few products, like beauty from within, that are doing this right, but you can also explain exactly why. So there’s a huge separation here of which ones work and which ones really don’t.

Dr. Dan Gubler: (06:47)

Okay. And so talking about work and not work, it seems like the most popular ones are collagen and usually, it doesn’t even say the source. It just says collagen, two grams of sugar flavoring. And then maybe even some sweetener, like some Stevia on top of that. What would you say to that other thing?

Lisa Richards: (07:05)

First, it’s a drink, when we even talk about sweeteners or if it’s coloring or how it’s used, when I see that companies are largely just driven by marketing only, that’s what kind of tips it off is. So it’s like sugar. It’s like, you just want to make sure your users will like it. They don’t really have to know if it’s working. They just have to like it and feel good about that. But not that it can’t taste good, but the biggest thing is we’ve just got a string of like, yeah, it does not qualify the source. Not all sources are the same. And you’re just throwing, we’ll say the amino acids, those protein building chains because collagen is that protein in the skin. So we’re going to throw like 20 amino acids in there. So the more the merrier, it must mean more collagen for your body.

Lisa Richards: (07:45)

But the key word is bioavailable, which means as the body, when it receives it topically or internally, does it know what to do with it? So does it say like, I know how to affect the skin in this way. That comes to a really good formulation. And so like, most of these are not that way because they’re just the amino acids. They don’t really have any other supportive ingredients in that. And some of the most popular ones, they don’t have anything to prove that they work. So on paper, it might sound good, but there’s no human studies. And by that, it’s like, have you had test groups to see those? Like a placebo group without the products, I’m on it. And are we measuring? What are we measuring in the skin? Are we measuring hydration, firmness, density, and controlled factors here where, yeah. It’s like those studies have to be put together well, but you have to have something to show. It actually works.

Dr. Dan Gubler: (08:36)

I love that. It seems like a lot of products, like you said, are marketing-based only. They throw in ingredients, but they don’t, they don’t really test them that it really works in their formulation. A lot of times they just assume it works. Yeah. And people talk about synergy. Like you said, the more, the better, but you can have synergy one plus one equals three, but you can also have negative synergies. It’s interesting that people just throw formulas together and they expect them to work or to work better than something else that’s out there.

Lisa Richards: (09:02)

Right. So if you’ve got science approved versus like, you found a pretty model with the face to say, I use this and therefore it works. That’s one test subject, which you don’t even know all her variables. Like is she using other products that actually caused her more increased moisture? So just hearing one personal positive experience of saying I tried this and my skin was better ever since, this has to come down to like the, it has to be science-based you have to have something to measure it, again, to really qualify that it’s working.

Dr. Dan Gubler: (09:31)

So when it comes to skincare products, let’s talk about pine bark extract. That’s one that people maybe have heard a little bit. I bet most people haven’t heard about it. Tell us about that.

Lisa Richards: (09:41)

I don’t think most people have. It’s newer, but we’re seeing a pine bark extract is going to improve like the quality of elastic fibers. Now elastin only makes a smaller portion of what’s in the dermis – that lower layer. Collagen is 70% of it. Elastin’s smaller, but it’s very important because with time, those elastic fibers are just stretching and that’s what doesn’t, it gives the resilience of the skin. So pycnogenol, sorry, pine bark extract –

Dr. Dan Gubler: (10:11)

Yeah. Yeah. The active ingredient is pycnogenol.

Lisa Richards: (10:13)

So that, it affects the elastic fibers, but also there’s multiple studies, but recent studies, because if you read studies like, we want recent studies, but multiple, not things from 1983 that maybe tested it. Like not all studies are the same, basically. So looking at that ingredient, I think it’s like I consider newer up and coming, but also in conjunction with something else instead of, like you said, synergy. So not negative synergy, but if we could get ingredients that are enhancing the ability of others. So if we have a collagen type of drink that is working and we can help something else, like internally that is affecting the quality of your elastic fibers, and, but test subjects are seeing also this increase in like hydration, different wrinkle depth, like we’re measuring specific things. And that’s some studies in Asia, some studies in other countries like, so it’s not like if you only see one study in one country, we wonder well does their environment affect that? So I think we’re seeing a lot that really is proving it works well.

Dr. Dan Gubler: (11:15)

Okay. I love that. So as a scientist, I geek out about signaling mechanisms. And so as we talked about earlier, before the show, you have collagen and you take collagen that’s broken down in the body, but collagen doesn’t really know where to go. And so signaling mechanisms like pycnogenol help to actually shuttle these peptides into the skin, into the layers of the skin. And there’s other ingredients like dill seed extract, curcumin, grapevine, that help to do this.

Lisa Richards: (11:43)

Yeah. That’s, I loved when you said signaling, because at the end, dare I say, delivery system, what’s like, you can have a great ingredient, but how is it delivered? So one thing we mentioned in collagen, like the collagen itself, internally needs to be hydrolyzed. It has to be broken down a little bit. So that’s an important aspect that I look for. But signaling, instead of just putting all the amino acids in, do we have something that affects how the skin cause ideally, instead of just supplementing, can we affect how the skin, like, can we make something that signals the skin or the body to do it itself or amp up? Because really what aging is, is loss of communication between the cells. So the signals are just getting confused or they’re suppressed. And so we see not the same repair, the body’s just working sluggish. And so you get the right signaling and that like kicks into gear cells knowing what to do again and it acts younger, essentially.

Dr. Dan Gubler: (12:36)

Yeah. I love that. When it comes to signaling, one thing that I, that really helps me is signaling’s like a row of dominoes right? That’s how the body works. Where a message is transported from one area of the cell to the other. And like you said, when one of the Domino’s is slid out or you have these factors, then these reactions stop and they don’t function as they should.

Lisa Richards: (12:56)

Yeah and when I found that you’re world experts in cell signaling, that just is music to my ears. Because that ,I think is the key part that a lot of we’ll say, companies, are missing in supplementation and in the beauty industry in general. That really has to be a part of it.

Dr. Dan Gubler: (13:11)

Yeah. We assume that signaling’s working, but we can put in fancy ingredients, but if the signaling mechanisms aren’t in play, then it really doesn’t matter.

Lisa Richards: (13:18)

Exactly. I love it.

Dr. Dan Gubler: (13:21)

Fantastic. So let’s talk about microneedling. Microneedling is a big thing right now. There’s stuff going back and forth. It’s good. It’s bad. It’s great for repairs of skin or it’s bad. You’re just puncturing your skin and having red face for three days.

Lisa Richards: (13:33)

Right so, that’s good because this is all collagen related. Because the number one tagline you’ll see on microneedling is collagen induction therapy via controlled wounding. So, but the thing is, so we, it isn’t, it causes inflammation and inflammation is a two-edged sword. We’ll always say inflammation causes aging. It releases enzymes that cascade to break down collagen and elastin specifically. But on the same hand, inflammation signals wound repair. So it’s the same way our bodies are smart. And if you have some injury, it’s really amazing that our bodies know how to repair it. So because we are alive the only time you stop producing collagen is when you’re dead, but because we’re alive and our bodies produce collagen, that’s one of the signal process. Now there’s a big difference between, let’s say someone who microneedles at age 30 versus age 70, because your cell signaling is not like, is not happening in young and quick at 70 as much as it is 30.

Lisa Richards: (14:33)

So the other thing I talked to a group of students last week, is I said, trick question, what age do we stop producing collagen? Now here’s one of those things we talked about earlier that things are passed down and it’s wrong information. They raised their hands. They said age 25. And I said, okay false though, because we, again, we never stop producing collagen. We stop, we produce it at a much slower rate after about age 30, but we also intrinsically lose 1% of collagen a year after age 30. So we’re not technically on the upside of it, but we’re not stopping production. So whether it’s we take a supplementation internally that helps our collagen production, there’s things topically that will influence callagen production and the microneedling would be your treatment, a method to stimulate the process of wound healing. So when I say controlled wound healing, I qualify controlled in a few ways.

Lisa Richards: (15:23)

It’s also the amount of time and I’ve heard like practitioners say they’re doing 10 microneedlings. We space them four weeks apart, but they’re doing 10 in a row. That’s way too much inflammation. We don’t want the body, the skin in a constant inflammatory process. So I limit it down to, we might stop at five or we might put something else in between like, but I don’t even perform those treatments unless they have everything behind it to support it, that their lifestyle supporting it. Because if someone doesn’t wear sunscreen, not a chance. So the face is red. The red is not what’s showing us it’s working, but it’s a marker. It’s a marker that we’ve stimulated inflammatory process. But a lot of what’s been hot ever since Kim Kardashian showed a bloody face, like the PRP microneedling, that and the vampire facials, what it’s known, that is what went viral. And so people think microneedling, when they look it up, they think it’s bloody faced all this. We don’t need to go to that depth. More is not more. So it’s about the proper performance of that treatment. So it’s that it’s just done correctly, not overboard, more inflammation, more downtime. That’s not more collagen.

Dr. Dan Gubler: (16:32)

Well, I want to go back real quick. So you’re teaching these students and these are students going into skincare?

Lisa Richards: (16:38)

Yeah, they’re in esthetics school. They’re in the masters program. Yeah. So they’re learning a lot.

Dr. Dan Gubler: (16:42)

And yet they’re taught that at age 25 collagen production completely stops?

Lisa Richards: (16:47)

I don’t know because no textbook says that. And I don’t know if an instructor is saying it. What it is, is our information highway of social media and everything internet where most people are relying their information on Google. Which I always tell them, like, let’s try, like Google is very ad driven. So you can’t, whatever you’re wanting to buy, if you type in like, what age we stop producing collagen, it’s going to give you an age that you stop producing, like instead of give you the right answer, always. So I think it’s, but for them, it’s just one of those things they’re hearing. I think social media is a source of that where we’ve got a lot of voices chiming in there. So there might be some people coming from an esthetic background like me, there might be some chemists chiming in, but there’s also people who just love the beauty industry. And so they’re doing quote unquote research and offering opinions based on that. But usually they’re swayed by what grabs them and it’s like, that’s what I say. Vogue magazine is not where you get your skincare advice. Like, and no magazine is, that’s not giving you science-based. That’s about sensational titles and things that will grab you. The whole point is they need to sell something that grabs people. So that’s not really, it’s not really science-based. But yeah, that’s where we’re hearing all this stuff. So people recycle that information.

Dr. Dan Gubler: (18:00)

Yeah. Interesting. It’s crazy how things get passed down and there’s no science behind it.

Lisa Richards: (18:04)

So that’s why we like to myth bust.

Dr. Dan Gubler: (18:05)

That’s right. Exactly. That’s why we’re here. So microneedling, talked about that. So another thing that people might’ve heard is HIFU, it sounds like some type of martial arts.

Lisa Richards: (18:15)

I know! It totally does. Every time we mention it. So this is, it stands for highe intensity focused ultrasound. So the great thing is these are alternatives. They’re new methods instead of just like, microneedling is one way that we can, for induced collagen production. And so HIFU uses, instead of going through the skin. So microneedling uses, they’re micro punctures, they’re little needles on a treatment head and they’re puncturing into the skin. And so you’re reaching a certain depth. Usually we get kinda dermal epidermal junction, which I should clarify when we say microneedling, those derma rollers are not the same thing. They don’t have the same depth which, so that helps product permeability, but it does not induce collagen because you can’t get low enough to where the fibroblasts are.

Dr. Dan Gubler: (18:59)

Okay, so these rollers that we buy at Amazon and whatever –

Lisa Richards: (19:02)

They’re a horrible idea for so many reasons. Some people, there’s kind of information going both ways on if they’re causing micro tears in the skin. But I think having something like that in a consumer’s hand is very dangerous because we’re dealing in like our legal limits per state are in millimeters. From 0.5 millimeters to 1.5 millimeters, maybe in the medical realm, you go 2.1, 2.5 millimeters, which is kind of unnecessary. But so when people are, but those millimeters, if you’re just putting pressure, you’re taking the depth lower. And so that’s, what’s kind of interesting is there’s no way. And not everyone has, there’s a variation in human skin on how thick their stratum corneum is. And so you can’t sell someone the same roller and think they’re all going to have the same safe experience because one person’s going to press lightly. Another, person’s going to be aggressive. One person has a thickened outer layer and another does not. So they’re really just not a safe idea. Also, most people, they have to, we use disposable needle tips and so these are easy to contaminate, and having something that’s not completely sanitized, we never reenter needles in the skin that they can dull. So there’s so many factors that just make them essentially dangerous.

Dr. Dan Gubler: (20:14)

Okay. So when you go into a licensed esthetician, someone who knows what they’re doing, it’s not that –

Lisa Richards: (20:20)

Absolutely. So that’s what we have. We have parameters on the depth we’re working in, how we prep the skin, we’re numbing the skin, or it’d be excruciating. So we’re numbing the skin, but also there’s certain people you can’t numb and shouldn’t be doing this on pregnant women. So we’re controlling the whole process, wearing gloves, very particular about what goes on after. Because another wild thing some people do in my world is put a chemical peel on after, but those peels, they are not meant, they are formulated a specific pH, to start from the top of the skin and go down and dissolve the glue between the cells and cause this for shedding. But if you put that over a microneedled skin, you just jumpstart and put a low pH acid into these little micro channels, then jumped down to the dermis. Peels are not meant to go in the dermis. You don’t peel in the dermis. So it’s super disruptive and that’s where you’ve taken inflammation overboard.

Dr. Dan Gubler: (21:09)

Interesting. I, from what I’ve seen with people that have done it, that chemical peel seems to be standard among a lot of people.

Lisa Richards: (21:15)

A lot of people do it. It makes no logical scientific sense because that’s operating the idea of more is more. Like, really got to hammer your skin to get results.

Dr. Dan Gubler: (21:24)

Interesting. So back to HIFU.

Lisa Richards: (21:26)

Absolutely. Yes.

Dr. Dan Gubler: (21:26)

Yeah, yeah. How does this work?

Lisa Richards: (21:29)

So this is, instead of a puncture, there is great science behind it. So when you’re searching, whether it’s in medical journals, scholarly articles, this is, it’s always under high intensity focused ultrasound or ultrasound therapy for collagen induction. There’s been machines out there that have existed for the last 20 years. Like Christie Brinkley is a big fan and she endorses one of them. But now they’re finding from that we usually get next generation machines where we’re seeing, they maybe don’t, like over-treating is not the way to do so they don’t have to be painful. We don’t, it’s just a more comfortable experience. And so it jumps, we cause thermal lesions. So instead of a needle necessarily like poking through and causing inflammation, it’s like making tiny little thermal lesions lower, but it has different treatment heads. So we have exact depths of like 1.5 millimeters, 3 millimeters. And then it’s also done for like where there’s extra tissue and say, we have a woman with a lot of like tissue hanging below her chin and you can’t microneedle that away. That will never firm it. So HIFU has the ability to lift the skin and tighten it because it reaches to the top of this, top of the muscular layer. And unlike something like microcurrent that has short-term stimulation, causes contraction, this is causing the muscle fibers to tighten and repair. And so we’re jumping those depths, but nothing’s happening in the surface. So people are feeling a little something, but they walk away and you can’t tell they did anything. So that’s the benefit is, but it’s tricky because if people don’t come away looking like they’ve been dragged behind a car, they think, they go, did it work? It’s like, what does it take? You developed processes or products that become smarter where we don’t have to have the same downtime or injury to the skin. That’s the ideal.

Dr. Dan Gubler: (23:18)

A selfie doesn’t work when you –

Lisa Richards: (23:20)

Right. Right. So they want it, they want to show it. They think it’s evidence that the treatment must really be working if they look crazy after, but there’s no topical abrasion to the skin whatsoever. It’s not invasive. So that’s why it’s become a good option because we’re not seeing that. So it’s very limited on what kind of inflammation is involved.

Dr. Dan Gubler: (23:37)

Okay. Wow. So between HIFU and microneedling?

Lisa Richards: (23:41)

Very different needs. So microneedle won’t lift the skin. So if I have a woman has jowls and a lot of sagging, we see dark circles because the fat pads are kind of disappearing, shifting. So we would need a lift. HIFU is going to do that. Microneedling works well for that general tightening and collagen. So I think it’s even good for someone in their thirties when we’re just wanting to counteract that natural loss of collagen, but different pluses to where microneedling can help with pigmentation and HIFU’s not going to touch pigmentation. There’s nothing, no interaction there.

Dr. Dan Gubler: (24:13)

Wow. Very cool. I’ve learned a lot with this. I know –

Lisa Richards: (24:19)

There’s great therapies out there.

Dr. Dan Gubler: (24:20)

Awesome. So let’s now go to diet. Diet is kind of polarizing. A lot of people are saying, eat this, eat that, eat berries, don’t eat berries, eat salad, eat chocolate. What do we know about nutrition and beauty?

Lisa Richards: (24:34)

Okay. So I’d separate that in a couple of things. Nutrition and beauty is that you can, and I talk to clients all the time, you cannot have like really a bad diet and neglect your body in nutrition in general and have amazing skin. Like you can’t topically override that, but on the same hand, you can’t eat so well and do nothing for your topical care of your skin. Like it has to be both parts. So truly healthy skin needs nutrients from the inside, but everything we take internally. So when we talk about vitamin C serum, some people say, “Oh yeah. I can, I’ll take vitamin C.” But there’s studies that show you can take an extraordinary amount of vitamin C, like more than the average consumer would or should take. And after, if they’re taking it every hour, only tiny trace has started showing there was a peak and then it was a drop-off. It’s not really coming the skin because the reality is, so that’s something that needs to be done topically, but your body needs vitamin C, your body needs all these essential nutrients, but your skin is the last to receive it. So it’s the same principle when we say hydrate your skin, people go, “Oh, I know. I need to drink more water.” And I’m like, yes, because if you actually were super dehydrated, your skin’s going to look dull and lackluster and kind of, it doesn’t have that volume in balance. But you can’t hydrate your skin internally only because your skin is the last to receive everything, the nutrients, it’s going to distribute everywhere else. And the skin kind of gets it last. So we have to have both. There is an effect on other processes. So the biggest thing I would say is foods that are considered inflammatory.

Lisa Richards: (26:03)

So anything that causes inflammation in the body is going to affect all of it, all your organs and the skin is, as we said, the largest organ. So your skin will be affected by inflammation as well. So let’s say we have foods that are high in the glycemic load and they’re sugars so they’re processed, refined, higher sugars, overall. A lot of that, that raises the insulin that then secretes for some females, more testosterone and so they break out. So we have some of that, but also there’s glycation. With any sugars in the skin, glycation, it starts to degrade and stip in those collagen fibers. So when we talk about, because see, collagen is always relevant, right? It always comes in the conversation, but because that has everything to do with that youthfulness, it’s the most visible part of what keeps our skin youthful. So when we’re degrading the collagen fibers through glycation, that’s another way. So diet absolutely plays that role.

Dr. Dan Gubler: (27:00)

So in social media, in different areas, there are these hot foods, right? Just eat chocolate and chocolate is, or just eat blueberries all the time.

Lisa Richards: (27:09)

Always a secret food, right?

Dr. Dan Gubler: (27:11)

The secret, you know, eat chocolate. The best health hacks.

Lisa Richards: (27:16)

Yeah, I was going to say chocolate has like resveratrol or some kind of antioxidant in it. It’s, I would say like, weigh how much, like how much of that chocolate, look at the ingredient list maybe at the least, and sugar’s going to be higher up there than anything. So that’s going to have the dominant effect, right. And not the trace antioxidant. Berries though, like any super foods that are just nutrient dense, colorful foods, absolutely great for the skin. When you, we need antioxidant protection from the top and we want it from within because the, naturally happens in the body every day. But also our environment introduces so much more. It’s also oxidative stress. That’s aging to the whole body and skin.

Dr. Dan Gubler: (27:57)

Nice. So that’s interesting. When you’re talking about sugar, a lot of people are like well, low-glycemic, low carb diet in order to lose weight and whatnot, but you’re saying that it has a big effect on skin health?

Lisa Richards: (28:10)

Yeah, on the skin, it’s the process, it takes off, it’s the domino effect. So it’s that, no matter, a lot of women, I see mostly that younger generation wanting to like outplay, like they don’t care about their diet, but they think I’m going to compensate by just doing this. So I had even an older client who would say, like, she would go tanning, but say, I just use repair cream. So I, my skin stays for me. And I’m like, it is like, essentially for every one step forward you got from good products or whatever you’re drinking, you did 10 steps back. So you cannot overcompensate for that kind of damage. So you can’t outrun a bad diet. And even, and it has nothing to do with weight loss where it doesn’t mean if you are thinner, your skin is going to be better. Like if you exercise more, you’re going to combat the aging effects. Like, exercise, all that, those affect like the musculature, which is important for the skin, but diet is mostly about, it’s glycation. It’s what, how it plays into the hormones. And what, then it’s tripping up so that release of cortisol and stuff like that.

Dr. Dan Gubler: (29:11)

Okay. I want to switch to another fun topic. So there was a celebrity, very well known that on his show, he talked about ceramides and he said ceramides are quote, facelift in a bottle. Ceramides went crazy. The sales went through the roof. So what about ceramides?

Lisa Richards: (29:28)

This is insane because it’s like, oh, this person, I was like, they should know better based on other qualifications, but it also shows you the power of like, they get the right person to say it. And everyone automatically will be like, nobody likes to say. I wonder if or how, we just, I mean, that just shows you how we play with people’s trust. So that’s why I’m deep into wanting to ensure and prove what we do, say, endorse is right,.right. So ceramides have no ability to make the skin, like to lift. They have a very limited, they’re important. So our ceramides make a part of our lipid structure, the barrier of the skin. So we refer to skin, the barrier a lot. That is a lipid barrier to protect its permeability. So it makes our skin like when we can go swimming and not swell up with water everywhere. Like if our bodies, it makes them waterproof, essentially. So it’s really important also on keeping water from just evaporating out. So from getting, we could say toxins are there harmful things, pollutants that can get into the skin, so it’s what comes in, what comes out. But ceramides, they’re tricky because, think of them just like as these nice, we’ll say oils.

Lisa Richards: (30:40)

But supplementing ceramides only effects the barrier of the skin. It has no ability to affect anything lower like collagen. And so if we talk about lifting, that’s collagen. Everything that resides in the dermis, ceramides don’t touch that. And let’s say, somehow we even found some weird way to get them in there. You injected ceramides, they have no presence there. Like the collagen won’t go, “Wait, ceramides. Let’s tighten.” Like, they don’t have any relevance to tightening. So ceramides, they can just give, it’s, we could basically say it’s like a moisturizer. But also ceramides are tricky because they need to mimic the skin. Sometimes we call those biomimetic type of ingredients. They need a mimic the skin’s natural ceramides. So some people might have less. They’re depleted because of age, because of sun exposure, or naturally they lack more lipids in their skin. That’s what we call a dry skin. So they could lack them, therefore we supplement and protect their surface a little bit more, but they need to mimic the skins otherwise they don’t line up the same. And so it doesn’t, it causes like a disorder in the lipid barrier.

Dr. Dan Gubler: (31:47)

Okay. No facelift though?

Lisa Richards: (31:48)

Absolutely not. It’s wild, right?

Dr. Dan Gubler: (31:53)

You know, when I saw that come out, I just laughed out loud.

Lisa Richards: (31:57)

It’s whoever all of these suckers who spent the money on it, it goes in that big drawer box of all the products that they just got impulsive about and will never work. Like you just never get there.

Dr. Dan Gubler: (32:09)

Awesome. So the last thing I want to talk about, the big thing right now is glowing skin. You need the skin that glows and equates to healthy. Facial oils that people put on. I mean, is there any science to that?

Lisa Richards: (32:23)

Well, it really goes in line with what we said about ceramides because oils are usually a large molecule. And so put them on the surface of skin, unless they have some other attribute that allows them to bypass a lipid barrier, they are staying on top of the skin. So basically what that is is greasing the skin. You made it shiny. And so we call that the fake glow. Like when people love very balmy products, years ago, this was called slugging. Like if you were to put something like Aquaphor all over, like how good this is for the skin. So let’s say if you had radiation treatment, plastic surgery, something you, CO2 laser and you blasted your face off. Well, you’re going to need to balm the heck out of your skin to protect it because you don’t have a protected stratum corneum there anymore.

Lisa Richards: (33:11)

But the idea of everyone just putting oils on, oils are so limited to, they’re just supplemental like a ceramide and they need to have a purpose. So what I see is a lot of oils where we have, like jojoba oil is close to like the skin’s oil, that sebum. So that becomes a common carrier. And then people say, oh, frankincense is good for healing. And they dump frankincense and lavender is calming. And we just dump all these things that supposedly do that. Chemically, that’s a chemical storm. Like how do we know any of those are interacting correctly? Plus we shouldn’t be applying essential oils because they’re so natural, you know? Topical, they’re more irritants than they are therapeutic. So there are some ways people can use them therapeutically and put them on, but they’re, none of them are actually meant to go on top of the skin.

Lisa Richards: (34:00)

They’re more disruptive, cause inflammation. So that’s really misunderstood because we assume like, once I had wrote like a tagline of, I rubbed my face on the grass and it broke out, it broke out in a rash, which is weird because grass is natural. And so it’s like this idea that because it’s natural, we always think that’s superior, but chemistry is what’s amazing. We take natural derivatives and things and we make them so that they’re, they jive with the skin. So we know the skin not only knows what to do with them, but it can accept them. And it doesn’t cause problems. Same reason we have, that’s a big one, is what people worry about in the non-natural realm of like the same reason we have parabens. We don’t want mold in our products. So this is about safety. This is about protecting the integrity of the skin. So yeah. Oils have kind of become hot of thinking it’s a fix-all. It doesn’t create truly glowing skin. That has to come from all the health, the hydration, the quality of the dermis, the nutrients, the everything you’re getting from the inside and it deeper layers.

Dr. Dan Gubler: (35:01)

Yeah. I love how you talked about essential oils. I find it just fascinating that these turpines that are from plants, were originally used as turpentine and paint thinners are applied on the skin in really copious amounts. I think that’s really fascinating.

Lisa Richards: (35:15)

Yeah, and in that world too, we can go on and essential oils are not all equal. But they’re not skincare. And that’s, what’s kind of gotten, we always think, well Mother Earth must’ve given us the best things. But we also have science that lets us understand the best of it and how to use it. And most of skincare, there’s a lot of natural derivatives. We find amazing, like what we also call extremophiles. They’re those ingredients that somehow thrive in extreme environments. So we take the best of science and find how it doesn’t mean because this lives in a cold environment, it allows our skin to withstand cold, but it might be extra high in certain nutrients that can then have relevance to the skin when proven through science. But yeah, it’s interesting how you use those. But on the flip side of what you mentioned, essential oils, people will say like, when we talk about hydroxyacids or we say chemical peels, when they hear the word acid, it just sounds so scary and terrible.

Lisa Richards: (36:06)

Like it must be bad, but the reality is all of these acids are naturally derived. Glycolic acid comes from sugar cane. Mandelic acid comes from bitter almonds, and so on and so on. Like they all have natural derivatives, but then it’s how we work with them. And I remember seeing years ago, someone in a book of like, you want to naturally exfoliate, cut an apple and rub it on your face and the natural malic acid will exfoliate. It is not like, back in the day, in esthetician school, they would, we’d make like these smoothie facials. They blend up a bunch of fruits and put it on your face. Everyone would come back with a rash the next day. Like that’s not formulation, If it proves nothing else.

Dr. Dan Gubler: (36:44)

Oh my. So, we could geek out forever.

Lisa Richards: (36:45)

Forever! I love it.

Dr. Dan Gubler: (36:45)

I mean, awesome common theme. We’ve talked about cell signaling, how it’s all the dominoes working together, both inside and out to give a luscious skin. I love the myths you’ve busted today and I’m sure our listeners found it fascinating. This has been great. So thanks again for being here, Lisa. Sure. Appreciate it. Appreciate our listeners. Please leave an honest review on Apple Podcasts. We rely on these reviews to make sure we are delivering the best content that is relevant to your interests. Send us a screenshot of your review and you will be entered to win a $50 Amazon gift card. Send your screenshots to That’s F-E-E-L This is Dr. Dan signing off.

Dr. Dan Gubler: (37:48)

The information presented by guests in this podcast is their sole opinion and in no way represents the views of Discover with Dr. Dan | The Proactive Health Podcast or Brilliant. This podcast is for informational purposes only and does not replace professional medical care. Please consult with your medical doctor before making any changes in your lifestyle.

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