Why Great Gut Health Leads to Glowing Skin - Key Learnings from the Podcast Session with Dr. Bobby Buka

In this episode of ‘Take Care, a podcast that gives you insights into the lives and habits of changemakers, host Rish Sharma speaks with New York’s premier dermatologist, Dr. Bobby Buka.

Dr. Bobby Buka, a leading skincare specialist and author of two books on skin health, co-founded The Dermatology Specialists (TDS), a full-service dermatology practice in New York City with 10+ locations across Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens. He was the contributing founder of First Aid Beauty, a skincare brand, which was sold to Procter and Gamble in 2018 for an estimated $250 million.

When it comes to medical and cosmetic skin solutions, Dr. Bobby Buka has a wealth of knowledge to share with the world.

Born and raised in New York City, Dr. Bobby Buka has a unique and interesting backstory about growing up from a ‘nerdy kid’ to a ‘nerdier adult’. Talking about what inspired him to become a dermatologist, Dr. Buka said that he was always driven by a passion for helping others. Even as a student, he was doing voluntary work at some city hospitals, which he believes, pulled him into the medical profession. For him, it was rewarding and gratifying.

Dr. Buka added that dermatology is a challenging profession. Even after helping countless patients for over 20 years, he feels that there’s something new to learn in skincare and skin treatment every day.

Dr. Bobby Buka’s Tips on Dealing with Acne

Each person suffering from acne has a unique story. So, the treatment and care regime differs for every individual. For instance, if someone is taking the Silimarin supplement for hair growth, it can interact with the estrogen receptor. This may or may not contribute to aggravating their acne situation. For some, acne is triggered by their menstrual cycle.

So, when treating acne patients, Dr. Buka follows a characteristically different and a more holistic approach. His mantra is, “Understand your skin story, not your skin problem.” Simply knowing the pathogenesis of acne is not good enough. More effective treatment comes from understanding the skin story. While treating his patients, Dr. Buka relies on his patients’ skin history, their expectations for their skin, and their skin trajectory for insights.

Breaking Down the Holistic Approach to Skincare and Dermatology

On the official website of The Dermatology Specialists, one can see they follow a holistic approach to skincare and dermatology.

The rest of the world seems to be divided based on its ideologies, like a Cold War between the traditional Eastern healthcare and the Western drug-based medical system. But Dr. Buka and his team believe in employing the best of both worlds, without discounting or discrediting any. For instance, they are open to using both ashwagandha and dicloxacillin to treat their patients.

Another pillar in the medical profession, including dermatology, is the ‘patient-first approach’. Dr. Buka believes that it’s time the archaic paternalistic view of healthcare where a patient walks in, and the doctor tells them what to do was discarded. It’s just not relevant anymore.

Medical practice should be collaborative and two-way. If the patient is not comfortable taking oral medicines, the doctor should seek an alternative in topical medicine.

If they don’t want creams or ointments, then maybe it’s time to think about treating them from a different perspective. Moral of the story: There should be a lot less prescriptive medicine and a lot more collaborative care.

Dr. Bobby Buka - The Entrepreneur

While talking about his different ventures, Dr. Buka went on to share his experience of founding First Aid Beauty. Back then, he was a dermatology student, learning about potential skin allergens and irritants present in the vast majority of over-the-counter products.

That was when he thought of making a cream without these allergens and started cold calling many test labs in New Jersey. He teamed up with a friend of a friend, and together, they launched a product named Dr. Bobby’s Skincare For Kids. But the result was a disaster.

So, they began pitching it to a number of people and eventually teamed up with Billy Gordon. They began working on the same formula but decided to broaden its market from being only for kids to all adults with sensitive skin. They changed the name and launched a new parabens-free line of skincare products. Thus, First Aid Beauty was born.

Eventually, Dr. Buka also came to be associated with Prana Farms, where they grew fruits and vegetables and produced everything from goat cheese to poultry eggs. It was a great way for him to be close to nature and also to give back to his patients.

For Dr. Buka, it was liberating as he got to start his day by working on the green farms and not by staring at an iPhone. As for the patients, they now got to leave with better skin and a complimentary basket of fresh veggies or a carton of eggs after each session.

Dr. Bobby Buka on the Importance of Skincare

Skin is the largest and the heaviest human organ. It has the largest immune system, and it does the largest metabolism of water. Skin is basically the hub from which all other organ systems draw support. So, by all metrics, it is a vital part of our body that needs to be taken care of.

And when it comes to skincare, Dr. Buka says, there are three important steps to follow:

UV Protection

The Sun is a source of Ultraviolet (UV) rays, and countless studies suggest that it causes skin cancer. With age, the collagen and elastin components break down, making skin more vulnerable to UV rays. So, everyone should put on an SPF 30 cream even on cloudy days.

Improved Gut Health

It’s proven than better gut health leads to better skin health. While Western medical practitioners seem to neglect this, everyone should follow a healthy regime for clear and healthy guts.

Skincare Supplements

Dr. Buka suggests Pastilles, a 60-day superfood supplement for healthier skin. Taking one pill for sixty days can help improve the good bacteria in the gut and suppress the harmful ones. Even if one cannot make it to the dermatologist, they should take over-the-counter products that contain retinoids.

First Aid Beauty’s 5-in-1 moisturizer contains retinol and has SPF 30, which makes it a protective as well as a healing agent.

Dr. Buka suggests that people should be consistent and stick to whatever product(s) they are using, instead of switching to every new one that appears on the market.

Common Skincare Myths Debunked

Myth #1: Dermatologists only get excited about patients who want cosmetic enhancements.

Fact: Dermatologists sure love doing cosmetic treatments, but what excites them the most are the thought-provoking medical dermatology issues that they deal with every day.

Myth #2: The price of an over-the-counter skincare product is directly proportional to its efficacy.

Fact: This is not always true. High price doesn’t always guarantee a better product. One may be able to find all the fundamental components that they need in under ten bucks.

When it comes to his own morning skincare routine, Dr. Buka likes to start his days with brushing his teeth and flossing. He uses skin pastilles to clear his gut and also a FAB cleanser and a FAB 5-in-1 moisturizer with SPF 30 to keep his skin healthy. Part of his personal care regime also includes ensuring the good health of his mind by spending more time with his family and doing something as simple and positive as smiling at random strangers.

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