Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – March 4, 2015 – The following edited transcript is of a live radio interview with the co-owners of DermaMed Solutions, Mark Pinsley and Ginger Hodulik. It was originally heard on the “Knowledge@Wharton” SiriusXM Radio Show on January 29, 2015, with host Dan Loney of Wharton Business Radio.
Dan: SiriusXM 111, Business Radio powered by the Wharton School, Knowledge@Wharton. On this Wednesday, just a reminder that we are with you each week day 10:00 a.m. Eastern 7:00 a.m. Pacific time, right here on SiriusXM 111…I was just speaking with our next guest here a minute ago and it is amazing to me when you think about it as a global entity, how big the industry, the business of beauty is, the numbers vary, the number that I saw said last year $426 billion spent on various beauty products, whatever it might be, and over the course of your lifetime you will spend a lot of money on these products. Not just women but men as well. I am privileged to have two co-owners of the company DermaMed Solutions which is based here in the Philadelphia area, Ginger Hodulik and Mark Pinsley and great to have you guys both in the studio. As I said before I am stunned that that number is so big, but I guess that in some respect, I shouldn’t be concerning the fact that we are talking about a global business and not just a business that is segregated to the United States or to Europe.
Mark: Yes it is a huge industry and it is not necessarily just skin care, there could be hair care and all different types of beauty products, so you think about everything that you put on your body during the day including soaps and things of that nature, all that encompasses the beauty industry or personal care industry.
Dan: And it is something that has kind have even developed more so over the last 20 years because as I said whatever the product might be, this is not just about women buying makeup or buying product to take the layers of skin down off their face, this is a man’s and woman’s territory as well.
Mark: Yes, men are the fastest growing segment in this industry
Dan: So in terms of recession proof was this industry recession proof or did it take a hit?
Mark: It took a hit as well but probably the more expensive items took the hit, so when you think about plastic surgery and things like that, those are the things that did not do quite as well during the recession. However the less expensive things such as the typical skin care products, they did fine throughout the industry.
Dan: I would imagine that it is also an industry that is developing, innovating, continuing in terms of new products, and new approaches to handling different issues as well.
Mark: Yes, I think they are continuing to look for things that help us stay younger or at least maintain how we look so that we can age gracefully. People are using fillers today, people are using Botox today, things that are not quite as invasive, so we have gone from just putting something on our skin perhaps, to plastic surgery, to something in between.
Dan: But when did that change take place because it seems like that especially in the past few years it seems that we are going through another cycle of people really being aware of their bodies and their wellness and staying in shape and that has kind have gone along with it as well.
Mark: That is a good question I don’t know when it happened, I feel that obviously Botox was just the beginning of it. It has been around for 10 years and that started making it okay to do other things, whether it ended up being filler or whether it ended up going to the spa and getting other types of treatments, so I think obviously Botox was meeting a demand that was already there and as people talked about it to each other, there became Botox parties and you would get your Botox done.
Dan: But for your company DermaMed Solutions, obviously you take a lot of these avenues and try a “whole-istic” approach.
Mark: Correct. You know Ginger and I really came out of the wellness space and when we were looking for a company to start or to buy, we were looking for something that really brought wellness in, and Ginger really found the company.
Ginger: We were working with a broker who would hand us these packages and portfolios of information about various companies, and Mark handed DermaMed Solutions over to me and said ‘ah, I don’t think this is for us’ and as a clinical nutritionist I looked at and the bells went off. As a clinical nutritionist we know that our gut health is reflected on our skin, and really the best way to achieve and maintain healthy skin is to treat it from the inside out, not the outside in. So we had a company that had great mechanical treatments and a skin care line that was clean, which was also in alignment with our core values, and now the opportunity to bring nutrition to that and create this “whole-istic” approach, so I was very excited about it. I think as you said the market is growing and expanding certainly and people are so much more aware of the toxic nature of some of these products that they put on their skin and they are looking for clean, natural alternatives.
Dan: And as you said that is an area that is really, clean alternatives, whether it is this industry or a variety of different industries, that is kind of the wave that we are going and it is kind of being brought along with the millennial generation as we have gone over the last 10 years or so.
Ginger: Absolutely, they know what BPA is; they know they don’t want to drink from a water bottle with BPA. They know they don’t want parabens in their skin care products; they don’t want to put that on their skin. I think many of them don’t necessarily want plastic surgery or Botox either and they are looking for some natural way to achieve some results. And you hit on another point earlier, you talked about the beauty industry and when Mark and I looked at DermaMed Solutions we were a little concerned because we did not want to be part of an industry that was all about how can we make people look prettier, So when we set our mission for DermaMed Solutions, we chose the mission to uncover the brilliance that comes from comfort in your own skin. And really that means comfort from conditions like eczema or psoriasis or acne or fine lines or wrinkles or photo damage. We feel that it is very important for people to feel comfortable in their own skin whether they are not itching anymore, they are not inflamed, or they feel good enough to look in the mirror and feel very happy about how they look and so that is our goal -- through nutrition, through topical treatments, and through mechanical treatments -- to give people that comfort and to feel good about themselves.
Mark: I remember we have seen an article it talks about how many chemicals an average woman applies before she leaves the house in the mornings.
Ginger: The average woman uses 17 products, so that could be her hair gel, her mouse, her body lotion, her mascara, her shampoo, her lipstick -- 17 products and some people say, who cares if there is a little paraben, what is the big deal. Well, the big deal is when you multiply that by 17 and you do it every day, now you find these chemicals in breast milk, you find these chemicals in people’s urine and they are making connections to disease and cancers.
Dan: And it seems that this was not a big of a concern maybe 20 or 30 years ago but as we have developed as a society it has become more and more on the front line of trying to erase these things
Ginger: Absolutely, I would say a woman’s makeup bag 50 years ago probably had three products in it and now we have drawers and shelves full of products. The average woman, our showers are just covered with products that we use every day.
Dan: One of the statistics that I saw from one article, was that a woman will spend on average about $15,000 in her lifetime on makeup, and they broke it down, $4,000 on mascara, $2,000 lipstick, you think about it, okay, there’s a lot of things that I can do with $15,000, but in some respects, spending the money on those types of things is incumbent on what our society views as the necessity of being at work, and in some respects it is not fair, in a lot of cases.
Ginger: It’s a definition of beauty.
Mark: I agree it isn’t fair, but going back to our mission, comfort in your own skin, if it gives them the comfort that allows them to feel accepted in today’s society. I am not saying that the society doesn’t have to change; I think the society should change over time. And I love some of the Dove commercials that says, hey, this is me, if they were not photo shopping, if they were not doing those sort of things, I love that kind of stuff. But in the midst of that you can still find a way to look good, you can still find a way to age gracefully.
Dan: But you have a background in marketing, so are you seeing that as a shift, with a lot of the companies like Dove and others that sell various products, that they are changing their philosophies as well?
Mark: Not in terms of the advertising. I would say there a few others that have tried to do it where they are not photo shopping, they are not doing things like that, but they have been trying to promote their product in a way that says it is more natural, or it is not just about looking like the model in the picture, I definitely see that.
Dan: So for DermaMed Solutions, what are the various ways that you try and give people that comfort, that confidence, whatever the term that you might use?
Ginger: We serve a customer base which is spas and salons, dermatologists and other doctors, so we are giving them tools that they use in their treatment room, so we are not necessarily serving the end consumer. The way we help them is we give them training. I’m a clinical nutritionist and we give seminars and trainings. We help them understand if someone has acne it is not just about putting a product on the skin or doing a mechanical treatment, we teach them these are the foods that may impact acne, some hormonal effects that may take place, and here is how you can impact those through lifestyle change, sleep, and managing sex hormones. There are so many things that we can do through nutrition and lifestyle intervention, and so we train and we teach on that. Then we keep our products very clean as well, and we teach them how to put it all together. So for example if we are treating acne, we provide a handout with all the different inputs to treating a patient with acne “whole-istically.”
Dan: And obviously for that, your core group that you are probably talking to is adults, but in respects, probably a lot of these issues are issues that start when they were kids, with acne being one.
Ginger: Absolutely, and teaching good habits. I just sent my son back to Penn State, and he called me and told me he was doing his laundry. I said please wash your pillow case because you know your face breaks out when you don’t wash your pillowcase, I want you changing it twice a week -- simple things like that. Avoid those sugars, get enough sleep, there are different ways you can manage stress -- all of that causes acne to flare up. So, we can teach the professionals these things that are not taught in aesthetic school, we are in a unique position to do that. Mark and I, coming from wellness, we had extensive work in behavior modification, and we got to really understand that people sometimes know what to do they just don’t know how to do it so it’s in the way that you message and teach them.
Dan: And I guess in some respect, it’s getting people out of that level of ease that they feel in doing things one way and that might not be the way to be beneficial to prevent a lot of these problems, and taking them a whole different route to understand that look if you do it this way then a, b, and c are going to happen, it is going to be a much better outcome.
Ginger: Absolutely, opening their minds about this new way of looking at acne, a simple, “whole-istic” way for treating acne.
Mark: Ginger and I had worked together previously in corporate wellness. You know it is very difficult to get people to change their behavior, so you have bad cholesterol, you have bad whatever, and now that we have moved into this industry, and this is what I liked about moving into this industry, people are much more willing to change their behavior because if they do have bad acne, and you can tell them how to change their dietary habits in order to reduce their acne. They are much more willing to do it, and become healthier at the same time, so they are helping their skin, they are helping their body it really is a “whole-istic” approach.
Dan: Is it just the one to one connection that is different, than say doing it at the corporate level where you are potentially reaching 500 to 1,000 people but because it is that entity, that group that maybe takes a little bit away from it instead of talking to persons one to one?
Mark: It is interesting. I think it is more that they are very interested in looking good, or if they are interested if they have a skin problem and itching a lot, they want to stop itching, they are motivated already, versus somebody who just read a number that their blood pressure is high, well they don’t feel bad, they feel fine, so they say, I will have by hamburger, I will have my fries, I will be fine.
Ginger: I think there is an intrinsic motivation that comes from the spa, or the population that we serve, that wasn’t present in corporate wellness. In the corporate wellness setting, typically they had to participate in the wellness program so they could save 10 percent on their health insurance. There was some incentive and they were just doing it to save the money, they did not really want to do it. Some did but most did not, and Mark and I were in this constant battle to prove our worth, here is our ROI -- we swear if you invest in our program, we will show you these reductions. In this market that we are serving currently, people come willing and actually excited to make a change, and they are looking to you for any advice that you can give them.
Dan: That is a shift in mind set that is happening, because I know where I used to work at the Wall Street Journal they had a ‘corporate plan’ they have their own gym right there on the campus in South Brunswick, you went to the campus and worked out at their facility and they give you x amount back on your membership, and you know it is a hit and miss thing because realistically that 10 percent that you are saving is about $10 a month, financially that motivation is not enough to get people to continue to do it.
Ginger: There is a big debate in corporate wellness, when they talked about motivation, and what motivates people, they talk about the carrot and the stick. You are dangling the carrot, or you have the stick, they will penalize you or you will be rewarded. There was much debate about that, what really motivates people; I don’t think we ever came to a conclusion there.
Dan: So in some respects what you are able to do in working with spas and doctors, in some respects there is a level of innovation just because of the thought process that was before and what it is now.
Ginger: When I do these seminars on nutrition for healthy skin, I usually spend about three hours on nutrition, so how can you eat well, what lifestyle changes can we make. Then we talk about topical nutrition, what products can we put on our skin to get the desired outcome, and then in the end we do treatments and we demonstrate how we can put all of this together. And when I hear the feedback that we get it is just phenomenal. These aestheticians are not taught any of this in schools. Doctors are not taught nutrition in schools, they might have one course in nutrition and so we address doctors. In fact, we really have a nice group of ophthalmologists that we have talk to and they read this research but they need someone to really dig into it with them and they really appreciate it, and I find that they are amazed at how nutrition can really powerfully affect skin and eye health.
Dan: That is noteworthy to put that out there, that doctors maybe are not taught certain levels of things that they probably should.
Ginger: Exactly, and I understand that this is changing in certain medical schools, but I think to get to the level of undergraduate and graduate degree nutritionist level knowledge of nutrition, it is completely different from what a doctor has. A doctor has the basics and they don’t have the time to know, they need to understand their own specialty as their priority.
Dan: Going back to that comfort level that people reach, because it is very important because there can be obviously very positive effects that come from it, there can also be negative effects if they don’t, and it is really giving people a support system that maybe they did not have before.
Ginger: Absolutely. I think for men their barbers probably are their armchair psychologist, and for women it’s their hairdressers and their aesthetician, certainly, and many times when I work with these aestheticians they say they feel so horrible. I cannot help these people who have psoriasis because I only know these few little things, and thank you for teaching me about fatty acid balance and the benefit of Omega 3 fatty acids, or thank you for teaching me about probiotics and how applying topical probiotics can help, and so these aestheticians are greatly appreciative, because now they have expanded their ability to serve their customer base.
Dan: What is the business really do you think, Mark, how is it going to play out over the next decade or so, because it seems like it is an area that I get the feeling that it just tips the iceberg a little bit.
Mark: I think there is going to be a lot of money put towards it, especially as the baby boomers continue to get older, I think they are going to lead us in terms of innovation, what is it they want, how they want to be treated, as they age what are the things that they need. And so I imagine that a lot of the innovations are probably going to be around topicals, as well as ways of looking younger without having to go in for surgery without having to do all those things.
Dan: As we said, it is a thought process thing and I get this sense that the thought process between the baby boomer generation and the generation X and the millennials is night and day, the difference of how people think about a variety of different things, this being one of the topics.
Mark: That is true. It’s funny I saw some research where both the generation Xers and the millennials are thinking the same way. We ask them why they want to use some type of skin care, they said because I don’t want to look like my mother. They are looking at this early and they are not waiting until they are in they are in their 50s, 60s, 70s to really starting using skin care and having a reason to use it.
Dan: But that goes back to what you said about the wellness aspect, if you set those patterns in stone even as a teenager from eating healthy and your exercise or whatever might be, then more chances than not Botox and these other things are not going to be as much of a consideration when you get into your 20s, 30s, 40s, and 50s.
Ginger: Yes and the researchers are really uncovering great new technologies. There are these little health meters on our DNA called telomeres, and so an infant has these really robust plump long telomeres, and if you look at an older person, a 90 years old, they might look a little shaggy and short, and that just shows the lifespan of cells. And there are topical products that you can apply to your skin that can slow the aging process of your telomeres; Renovage™ is one that we use in our products. So you are slowing down the aging process. We now have learned that foods that contain resveratrol and other anti-oxidants and Omega 3 fatty acids, can also slow the death of telomeres. So we now know these preventative lifestyle changes that we can make such as including resveratrol-rich foods and including fatty acids in our diets and applying these topicals, can slow the aging process.
Dan: The big part, from that perspective, is it is one thing for you to understand and it is another thing for the general public to understand it and that is probably the biggest hurdle that you have to try and get over.
Ginger: And that’s what our goal is with our education programs. In fact, we are now reaching out to the aesthetics schools and we are offering education awards, where we will help young students get a start. They can apply for this educational award, and write an essay based on our philosophy. We are looking for people who share our mindset, because we want more boots on the ground, more people who believe what we believe.
Mark: You see all these people, regardless of where they are in their career, the aestheticians are always looking for education which is a great thing, they are always reaching out, and they are always trying to learn what is new. One of the big things that I wanted to mention is sunscreen. If you want to start early, if you want to do something, sunscreen is such a great thing to be using today or wearing a hat when you go to the beach.
Ginger: Avoiding the sun. We all love the sun but it is the biggest ager of our skin.
Dan: Congratulations on the business and obviously, good luck going forward DermaMed Solutions. By the way the company’s website is http://www.DermaMedSolutions.com.
About DermaMed Solutions:
DermaMed Solutions takes a “whole-istic” approach to skin care. The company’s medical and spa partners benefit from DermaMed Solutions’ leading-edge aesthetic technologies, results-oriented skin care and wellness solutions. Since 1998, DermaMed Solutions has provided thousands of spa and medical locations with quality aesthetic equipment manufactured in the USA, such as the MegaPeel®, known as the industry gold standard in microdermabrasion. The company’s dmSkincare line of skin care products and protocols, along with nutritional supplements and home care regimens, provides users with a multi-pronged approach to offer maximum results. The company’s products are available primarily at salons, spas and other skincare professionals. Call DermaMed Solutions at 610-358-4447 or visit their website at DermaMedSolutions.com to locate skincare professionals that offer DermaMed Solutions products. Additional information about DermaMed Solutions and dmSkincare is available on their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/DermaMedSolutions, on Twitter at https://twitter.com/Derma_Med and on Google+ at https://plus.google.com/+DermaMedSolutions.