As a former athlete and marathon runner, Dr. Krista Archer is a podiatrist and foot surgeon who especially enjoys treating sports-related and exercise-induced injuries. As a fashion lover, she understands the torture behind gorgeous high heels and is determined to make them wearable. And as a former pedicure lover, she is developing products to make going to the salon less worrisome and more rewarding. Above all, Dr. Archer prides herself on attention to detail as well as excellent cosmetic results, and is committed to providing pain relief and solutions to a variety of foot problems including plantar fasciitis, sports injuries, heel pain, bunions, corns, calluses, and arthritis. An Associate of the America College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons (AACFAS), she is on staff at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City and is currently investigating the use and efficacy of lasers for the treatment of nail fungus, warts, and heel pain. Dr. Archer also recently created and launched her own line of ARCH skin products, all of which use natural ingredients to heal and moisturize dry, cracked feet and protect nails.
Tell us a little bit about your history—how did you choose podiatry?
I was a science geek in high school where I especially loved biology and anatomy. This led to a pre-med track in college. After graduation I was a lab rat—literally working with rats and monkeys and rabbits in bone research for a major biopharmaceutical corporation. I was trained in surgical techniques and principles, learned quickly, and loved performing bone surgery. Simultaneously, I met a coworker’s husband who was training in foot and ankle surgery. While watching one of his foot surgeries, I realized that a rabbit ulna and a human metatarsal are strikingly similar. I was also surprised by the fact that the surgery I was already doing in the lab was very similar to the surgery happening in the hospital operating room. I was intrigued and I applied to Temple University School of Podiatric Medicine that same year. I moved to Philly that summer to start classes and the rest is history.
How have lasers and dermal fillers changed the way you treat foot problems?
Lasers have completely revolutionized my approach to the treatment of nail fungus. I have developed an effective protocol, which combines the use of laser therapy, topical compound medication, manual nail debridement, and shoe sterilization. Laser therapy in this protocol expedites resolution of infection, and also allows women to get back to nail polish much sooner in the treatment course. I also use laser therapy for many acute and chronic inflammatory conditions, such as neuromas and tendonitis, and to help heal strained muscles, ligaments, and fascia (i.e., plantar fasciitis). The dermal filler I use in my practice is Sculptra™ (injectable poly-L-lactic acid). The great advantage of Sculptra™ over other dermal fillers (like Juvaderm® and Restylane®) is that it induces collagen neo-synthesis. Collagen builds over time, and therefore the product can hold up best to the weight bearing forces applied while walking. This is especially useful for ball of foot pain caused by fat pad atrophy and/or prominent metatarsal heads. Where I used to perform surgery to address these problems, I now try Sculptra™ first, and in the majority of cases it solves the problem without down time.
What are the most common complaints you hear from women about their achy feet—and what causes these conditions?
Bunions are the #1 achy feet culprits. A bunion is a progressive foot deformity that worsens over time. So my typical patient is a woman in her mid to late thirties who has worn any and all types of shoes (high heels, ballet flats, wedges, etc.) since her twenties without restrictions. Now, all of sudden, her feet are killing her after a short period of time in any type of “dress” shoe, and her selection of comfortable shoes is shrinking. What I see clinically is an enlargement of the big toe joint, which is red and irritated, and a deviation of the big toe toward the 2nd toe causing crowding of the 2nd and 3rd toes, which are popped up and crooked—hammertoes. This change in shape of the toes and the joints has a genetic cause (look at your mom’s, grandmother’s, uncle’s feet), but is also aggravated by tight shoes with high heels. So what is the solution? Stop wearing heels? Never! Of course there are conservative fixes based on shoe choice (i.e., choose the 1.5″ Stuart Weitzman over the 5″ Louboutins), but not many people want to compromise. The surgical treatment remains the definitive fix, which realigns the joint and restores the width of your foot to your pre-bunion days, thus allowing you to once again wear any shoe you want.
Tell us about your cool new product line, ARCH.
When I was pregnant with my son I became extremely beauty label conscious. I didn’t want to put harmful chemicals onto my skin that could be absorbed into my body, and potentially by my uterus. I especially needed a good foot cream, and I had a hard time finding one free of petroleum, parabens, sulfates, and synthetic fragrances that, at the same time, was not a goopy, greasy ointment. I started doing my own research into natural active ingredients that harnessed the power of plants. I found a natural active ingredient from oats called beta glucan. Its hydrating, collagen producing, wound healing, and its anti-aging capabilities made it especially attractive to me. Working with a formulator, we came up with a cream that was naturally derived, used beta glucan, was free of all the bad stuff, AND had a nice smell and texture. After several rounds of sampling and tweaking, I had my Sole Savour Crème. Next up was Sole Savour Nail Oil and it followed the naturally derived, paraben free, natural active trend. This time, tea tree oil was used for its antifungal and antiseptic capabilities, along with shea butter for moisturizing, and a variety of vitamins and essential oils to nourish and protect. Most recently, Sole Savour Scrub has been added to the ARCH line. Once again, it’s naturally derived, free of parabens, and is made with extra fine pumice granules, rosehip seed powder, and a restorative blend of essential oils and natural extracts. It is a welcomed addition to the ARCH line to help you maintain beautiful feet!
Do you have any at-home tips for women to keep their feet looking pretty and healthy?
Buy a high quality foot file, and use ARCH products daily. Treat your feet as you do your face, giving them daily TLC with Sole Savour Crème, Nail Oil, and Scrub, and they won’t let you down.
How do you see the practice of podiatry changing—are there any upcoming advances in the field that you find particularly exciting?
The laser industry is always promising that exciting advancements are on the horizon, but lasers are already allowing podiatrists to treat the most common foot problems, like nail fungus and heel pain, more effectively. Advancements in surgical instrumentation and devices are exciting as they allow surgeons to cut procedure time, and allow patients to heal faster and recover quicker. However, no matter what the next trend or novelty is, meticulous surgical technique and surgeon experience will never get old.
In 2007, Dr. Gail Naughton founded Histogen, Inc., a regenerative medicine company based on the philosophy of naturally produced products from newborn fibroblasts—an alternative to the use of embryonic stem cells or animal components. A respected scientist with extensive experience in the field, Dr. Naughton has spent more than 25 years researching the tissue engineering process and holds nearly 100 US and foreign patents. With her discovery that the proteins and growth factors produced by newborn fibroblasts held therapeutic and biomedical applications, she developed Histogen’s core technology in order to create products—with both potential biomedical and cosmetic benefits—based on these proteins.
Tell us about your history and how you came to found Histogen.
I have a long history with tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. After founding Advanced Tissue Sciences in 1987, I served as President of the Company, overseeing cell-based products for severe burns (TransCyte), diabetic wounds (Dermagraft) and human collagen (Cosmederm) from concept to market.
In working with neonatal fibroblasts, skin cells isolated from routine circumcisions, for many years, it became clear how adaptable and responsive these cells are to their environment. After joining San Diego State University as Dean of the College of Business Administration in 2003, I continued individual research focused on growing cells under simulated embryonic conditions to see if they could be induced into a stem cell-like state. We found that, when grown under embryonic-like conditions of low oxygen and suspension, the cells do indeed become multipotent and the products they produce have the ability to stimulate scarless wound healing and regeneration of tissues and organs. I founded Histogen in 2007 based upon this research and technology.
How would you describe Histogen’s philosophy?
Histogen’s philosophy is to develop naturally produced, cell-secreted compositions of proteins and growth factors that will stimulate a person’s own stem cells to regenerate tissues and organs without the use of controversial embryonic stem cells or animal components.
What makes newborn fibroblast-based products uniquely suited for medical and therapeutic products?
Neonatal fibroblasts are a safe, reliable, and non-controversial cell type. They undergo extensive testing for all known pathogens and viruses, and produce consistent products for therapeutic and aesthetic applications. Although our manufacturing process begins with newborn fibroblasts, Histogen produces a complex of proteins that is very different from fibroblast-based products. This is because we have a unique method for growing the cells that mimics the embryonic environment, including very low oxygen and suspension. These growing conditions coax the cells into acting as they would in the womb, and within a few days the revert to a multipotent, stem cell-like state, and produce proteins and growth factors, including follistatin and Stem Cell Factor, which are known to stimulate stem cells in the body.
How does the medical science behind Histogen relate to the beauty industry?
The growth factor composition naturally produced in Histogen’s proprietary manufacturing process has been shown to stimulate skin cells to rapidly proliferate and secrete collagens and other extracellular matrix proteins that are responsible for keeping skin soft and youthful. There are also applications for use of the material as a dermal filler, and in scarless wound healing post elective surgery.
Tell us about the oncology applications of Histogen’s technology.
The embryonic-like proteins produced in Histogen’s process have been shown to turn on a gene in cancer cells that induces them to proceed down the path of a controlled cell death, called apoptosis. This phenomenon has been seen with over 21 human cancer cell lines both in vitro as well as in 2 animal models, including skin cancers such as melanoma and squamous cell carcinoma. We would be very interested and excited to test the ability of our material to prevent skin cancer as well as reverse precancerous skin lesions.
Are there any upcoming developments for Histogen that you are excited about?
We are excited about Suneva’s upcoming launch of ReGenica, containing our multipotent cell conditioned media, for anti-aging and post resurfacing applications. We also look forward to announcing additional partnerships for aesthetic applications such as accelerating the benefits of resurfacing procedures. Finally, we are very excited about presenting 12 week data from Histogen’s Phase I/II clinical trial for hair growth at the Society of Investigative Dermatology Annual Meeting in May.
In the UK there really is only one name synonymous with health care and pampering dedicated to the feet and that’s the beauty guru and successful entrepreneur Margaret Dabbs. Recognised amongst beauty press and industry leaders alike as a bit of a celeb in her own right, Margaret has literally put feet on the map. Since her beginnings in ’98, the business empire has been steadily building and the Margaret Dabbs brand now boasts top clinics in THE most exclusive parts of London and a phenomenal range of best-selling and award-winning products. There is no stopping Margaret and her dedicated team and more success is on the horizon. The Margaret Dabbs brand of Foot Clinic & Nail Spas can be found at Liberty, Harrods Urban Retreat and New Cavendish Street.
You’ve put foot care on the beauty map; how did you do it?
I have been credited with single handedly putting foot care onto the beauty map, and I am really proud of that. I have always provided foot care that has involved beauty as well as health. It is very important to me that feet are treated and cared for in their entirety, and that includes, for example, nourishing and treating the skin and nails as well as dealing with any areas of neglect or pain. I know how I want my feet to look and applied this to every treatment I ever performed, with amazing results and very happy clients.
When did you open your first site and what was your inspiration?
I opened my first clinic in 1998 in the Harley Street medical district. I immediately provided treatment that combined the health and beauty of the feet and always worked really hard with each patient to achieve the very best result that was achievable, and my clinic grew from strength to strength as a result of this, through word of mouth following these treatments. I pioneered some new techniques to achieve results not seen before in my industry. For example, I used a seaweed derivative for packing infected ingrown toe nails, which allowed us to treat and heal the nail without the need for surgery. I also developed products for use in our industry, which helped us achieve effective and long lasting results.
What is the brand’s trademark or most popular treatment?
We are known globally for the “original” medical pedicure. Our treatment has gradually evolved and can now also be combined with a number of holistic therapies to really provide foot therapy, which, for example, can involve foot acupuncture and Oxygen.
How did the product line come about?
I felt very early on that there were no products in the market place that really fused foot health and beauty, and was frustrated by the limitations this imposed. Nothing was available that was moisturising and smelled lovely, and nothing that was really effective without being medicinal in appearance, smell and application. I set about sourcing raw ingredients from Australia and started mixing them in my clinic, each formula aimed at producing a different result. I used these products in the clinic and my patients were so enthusiastic about the long-term results that I decided to launch a range for home use. Every time someone tells me that they love one of my products I still have the same sense of pleasure that I had the very first time I produced them. The products are used in all of our UK clinics, and are sold at Space NK throughout the UK, and at Harrods, Selfridges and Liberty, and additionally in the US, Italy, Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Asia, and soon to launch in the Middle East – quite amazing really for a small brand.
What does an average day look like for Margaret Dabbs?
This is very different to how it used to be. I start the day early and either walk or run with Rafi my Yorkshire terrier – it keeps us both fit. Early morning often can be spent seeing patients; I often have staff training meetings, and retailer meetings. I may meet with my manufacturer and discuss new formulations, or my printer company for outer and label packaging of new products. I also take time out to meet with beauty journalists to talk to them about our treatments and products and any new developments. I am often on QVC showing my products and have some overseas meetings including Italy and the Middle East. I also will spend time with my office staff ensuring that as we grow as a business we have all the procedures that we need in place. Tonight I am taking part in a gastro pub quiz in Islington, which should be fun, and often evenings can be spent either running or training for one challenge or another that I have signed myself up for. Or at the gym, attending a business awards ceremony or dinner with friends and family. It does vary but it is almost always busy but full of life and fun.
What does the future hold for the Margaret Dabbs brand?
We are just about to open a new clinic and nail spa at the gorgeous and luxurious London Bvlgari Hotel, at 171 Knightsbridge, which is wonderful to be a part of. The summer sees us launching our new hygiene cream and extending our range into more of the Space NK stores within the UK. We are also launching the products into hotels and spas for treatment purposes. The autumn may see us opening our first overseas Foot Clinic – but for the moment this is top secret and I cannot reveal any more about it.