To help distinguish exactly what makes Dr. Alkaitis Holistic Organic Skin Food products so unique and special, we went straight to the source. From the initial inspiration to the end result, discover exactly how this amazing scientist is revolutionizing skincare in this fascinating interview.
What inspired you to create the Dr. Alkaitis product line?
Over the years my wife would bring home a variety of personal care products from numerous sources, including health food stores, and ask my opinion about them. After looking at the ingredient label invariably my response was, “I wouldn’t put that on my skin.” Having had more than a passing scientific and sociological interest in skin, our most social of organs, one day I said, “I will make you products for which your skin will be eternally thankful.” After five years of effort the core products of my line were born.
With so many ‘organic’ brands out there, how is yours different? Why
does it stand out?
I really did not start out with the purpose of making “organic” skin care products. My aim was to make skin care products that promote and support a healthy skin in a holistic manner, products that anyone’s skin would be absolutely thrilled to interact with and visibly express its satisfaction. These products are designed to simultaneously help bring the skin to homeostasis, a state unique to each individual, and to help maintain it. My approach takes two critical aspects of skin into account:
One is that your skin is a living organ. Our bodies evolved interacting with complex living food. Living food is necessary for the promotion and maintenance of optimum health. This leads to the first of my foundational guidelines in formulating my products: “If one feeds a living organism healthy living food, it will be healthier.” The primordial attractor is health. If your skin glows with health, it is attractive, irrespective of gender, race or age.
The other is that your skin is a two way street, it absorbs materials as well as excretes them. Just about anything that is put on your skin will be absorbed and therefore go into your body. Simply put this means that you are “eating” whatever you are putting onto your skin. This leads to the second of my foundational guidelines in formulating my products, “If you can’t eat it, don’t put it on your skin.”
This approach necessitates that I use the healthiest ingredients available. These are certified biodynamically grown materials (sourced from expert biodynamic growers), certified organically grown materials (sourced from expert organic growers) and ethically wild-crafted materials (sourced from virgin wilderness areas and harvested in a sustainable manner). These materials will possess the maximum therapeutic potential. These are then processed in a manner that preserves their “personalities”. Nothing is taken out of its biological or living context. Throughout the whole process temperatures are kept below body temperature in order to preserve enzymatic activity.
Being consistent in this approach to formulating and manufacturing, the products that I make in this manner are “holistic organic skin food” and “therapeutic raw health food for the skin.” Consistency is critical. Even small compromises are fatal to the effectiveness of the final product.
The key here is effectiveness. In today’s marketplace a multitude of marketing approaches are being employed to attempt to satisfy the public’s growing awareness of and desire for “greenness.” One can narrow down one’s choices by looking at the quality of ingredients, but ultimately the critical factor will always be: “How does my skin respond? How happy is my skin with this product?” Over the years the answer from an overwhelming number of professionals that have tried my products is “Very happy, with visible results in a matter of days.”
So I think it is clear that with my approach, the term “organic” or “using organic ingredients” is not part of a marketing strategy but is something that I have no choice about. If I am to get results I must use the healthiest of ingredients available, which are certified biodynamic and/or certified organic and my processing must preserve their therapeutic potential (health giving properties).
Why did you decide to have the products manufactured in house? Also, they’re all hand-manufactured. How does this benefit the customer?
I find science to be a critical tool in the service of life and I adapt it to living systems, as opposed to trying to force nature to conform to a machine. That is my manufacturing philosophy and is definitely not the dominant one in our world. This certainly limits the choice of one’s potential partners.
Aside from manufacturing, the most critical part of making my products is making the ingredients themselves, such as the herbal extracts, castile soap base, and others. Being a scientist I must say that this process in and of itself is an art form, with the only “quantitative” criterion for quality being the effectiveness of the final product. At this point I could say with great certitude that the making of the ingredients will remain in-house in order to guarantee my products’ effectiveness.
All of the products are biologically active. Explain what this means to someone who doesn’t hold any science degrees. Also, why is this is beneficial to the skin?
Since all of my ingredients come direct from nature all of the molecules are already in the proper chirality (or orientation in 3-D space) for living organisms. Also I do not take anything out of its biological context. For example, in a guaranteed potency herbal extract, the guarantee is that the extract contains a minimum concentration of a specified chemical compound(s) found in the plant. This chemical compound is assumed to be wholly responsible for that plant’s therapeutic properties. The rest is assumed to be merely roughage that can be discarded. This is a rather simplistic approach. In the real world, in nature, everything is interactive and the same compound in the biological context of one plant will behave differently when in the biological context of a different plant. Sometimes these differences can be more than qualitative. The same chemical compound exhibits different personalities in different biological contexts when interacting with other living organisms. I like the analogy with a musical composition. How much is lost in taking one note out of the composition? One chord? One phrase? One movement? The relationship between the notes is what makes the piece unique and complete, that’s what gives it a “personality.” How much can one remove before the “personality” is seriously compromised? The same applies to plants and other living creatures. The next level is using these individual plants as a palate to paint a picture. I have developed my own techniques of making extracts which preserve not only the plant’s individual personalities but also the complex synergies, interactivity and relationships inherent in a composition that contains a mixture of plants. This is the ideal composition, a “living” product, for a living organism such as your skin to interact with. I should also point out that all of my processes are designed to preserve inherent enzymatic activity. This means that I do not use temperatures higher than ones body temperature.
Here on Saffron Rouge, the terms ‘certified organic’ and ‘biodynamic’ are familiar. But ‘ethically wild-crafted’ may be new to some people. What does this mean and why is it an important standard?
Wild-crafted plants are those harvested from unpolluted, virgin wilderness areas that constitute their native habitat. The ethical part applies to the manner of harvesting. The plants are harvested in a sustainable manner and only those at their peak potency are considered. Sustainability means that there are always enough plants left behind in the wild so that the maintenance of a healthy population is never in doubt.
It seems that most brands ‘segregate’ their products depending on skin type (dry, oil, mature, etc.). What makes it possible for the products to be used on all skin types?
As I mentioned earlier in this discussion I approach the skin as a complete living organ, not as a collection of symptoms. My products are made to simultaneously help bring ones skin to homeostasis and to help maintain it. This can only be accomplished by making a “living” product. Since each individual’s skin is unique (as are the eyes, personality, etc.) and has a unique homeostasis, only a “living” product will have the complexity and breadth to interact with that individual’s living skin and supply it with what it needs (for homeostasis). All of the procedures that I discussed earlier are absolutely essential in order for my products to behave in this manner, for them to be a “living” product.
The result is a line of products that will adapt to each individual’s skin’s needs. There is no need for a product for oily skin, for dry skin, etc. The products address the imbalances in the organ as a whole and help bring it into a balance that is ideal for that individual. My products are adaptogens for the skin.
Obviously the most important factor in a skin care product is how it treats the skin. However do you take other aspects into considerations, such as texture or scent? How does this affect the end results?
This is a rather easy question to answer. I never let the organoleptic properties of the product dictate the use of ingredients or procedures. The effectiveness of the final product is the only criterion that I use in all decision-making.
Although it may be like trying to pick a favorite child, do you have any favorite products in your line?
Yes, it is hard to make such a definitive statement about one product and exclude the others since the line is not that large and each product has its own fun personality. However, if I was really forced to pick, and I would have to be forced, I would say that it would be either the Day Crème or the Night Crème.
To learn even more, read the Dr. Alkaitis newsletter. Or go directly to the product page to read about each of the specific products. We’ve also made it easy to create a luxurious and pampering spa facial at home with our Dr. Alkaitis treatment page.
We’d like to give a special thanks to Dr. Alkaitis for taking time out of his schedule to answer our questions and help us all understand the passion and integrity behind the brand.