Dr. Rebecca (Bexi) Lobo, PhD
I have really dry, sensitive skin. As a child I had severe eczema on my face and all over my body. My dad would wrap bandages on my legs, arms and neck to prevent me from scratching my skin raw while I slept. In the morning the bandages would be stuck to my flesh. Daily process: rip bandages off under cold running water; go to school with weepy, crusty skin that hurt when I moved; gut it out; fall over at the end of the day dreading repeating the ordeal. Dad pleaded with me not to scratch, so I wouldn't end up with severely scarred legs as an adult. I naively retorted that I would get plastic surgery to cover the scars. Buying and using makeup was like negotiating a minefield; I never knew what would cause a flare-up. The condition of my skin dictated my lifestyle; no makeup, no wool or acrylic clothing, limited social outings, no camping. The questions would always be, "Will my skin be OK with this?" and "Do I want to deal with the concerned questions and gawking stares from people?"
Drugs provided temporary relief, e.g., corticosteroids, which create dependency, like any drug used as a Band Aid. Commercially available skincare products, such as Aquaphor, Vaseline and Eucerin, just made my skin oily, sticky and itchy, and worse, caused breakouts. Other products from Aveeno, Neutrogena, Mary Kay and Alba Botanica left my skin dry and itchy. Natural solutions suggested by doctors, such as oatmeal and saltwater baths and butter scrubs, were ineffective.
I went to graduate school to investigate how we can use diet and lifestyle to prevent disease. My Mom has always maintained that fresh food is healthy food. No matter how tired she was, we rarely ate processed foods or ate out. She cooked everything from scratch. This sparked my interest in preventing, rather than curing disease, and healing, rather than managing disease through diet and lifestyle.
Metabolic pathways are interconnected and complex. In my graduate studies I researched the effects of the synthesised vitamin, folic acid, compared to its naturally occurring form, folate, on breast cancer progression. This became the basis of my PhD dissertation and I discovered that even slight modifications to nutrient structure very often have totally unpredictable, long-term effects on the body as a whole.
In science, we reduce and simplify metabolic pathways in order to understand them and, in so doing, we risk seeing only a part or parts of the picture, instead of the whole. I realised that our knowledge of the world around us is only as good as the technology and tools we use to analyse it; what we know is mainly determined by what we can detect and measure, which, when it comes to metabolism, is not that much. We are limited by the technology we are able to develop to detect biology and chemistry in action.
So, today's scientific discovery that keeps your skin looking young very well may be the same discovery that kills you years later. Sometimes imbalances in metabolic pathways take decades to reveal themselves. At other times their impact is too subtle to detect; a slight shift in a pathway may make you more susceptible to the effects of UV light or exposure to a carcinogen or virus that may trigger uncontrollable cell growth or cancer.
In 2018 I was diagnosed with Sjogren's, a common but rarely studied or diagnosed systemic autoimmune condition, where the immune system attacks moisture producing glands in the body. Left untreated, the condition is severely debilitating and can be fatal. My dry, sensitive skin was one of the biggest symptoms of my condition. It took me 10 years to piece together the seemingly disparate symptoms and then diagnose myself. My doctors were focused on a microscopic view of whatever my current symptom happened to be, rather than taking a holistic, macroscopic approach to arrive at a more accurate diagnosis.
Your skin is dynamic, your skin care should be, too. Does your face cream really keep your skin looking its very best all year round? Do you have negative reactions and/or allergies to skin care products? Do you get frustrated when you travel and you break out immediately because your face cream was ill-suited for the weather? In my case, being on an airplane would dry out my skin and I would develop patches of dry, itchy, flaky skin all over my face…Not conducive to looking and feeling my best…And, yet, for years my options were limited and static; I was constantly frustrated…So…
I combined my knowledge and passions, pouring my energy into formulating scientific skin care products for exactly what my skin needed. I love crafting specific prescriptive solutions for myself and, now, custom, bespoke products for others. Most importantly, as I paid more attention to my body, I developed a deeper connection with it. You can, too.
Reconnect with You. Bexi's Bespoke Revitalisation enables you to connect better with your body by pooling our collective creativity and using my scientific and research skill sets to develop truly holistic skin care solutions personally formulated just for you using pristine food grade natural ingredients, therapeutic grade essential oils, the very minimum necessary trace of naturally occurring preservatives, and nothing else.
Want to read Bexi's dissertation? Contact Bexi.