Photo Credit: beautyinthebag.com
Many years ago, while visiting the Dermatology Department of Chengdu Traditional Chinese Medicine Hospital in Chengdu, China, Roni Kramer became fascinated by the clinical strength of Chinese herbs in the treatment of skin disorders. With an understanding of the long-term side effects of conventional drugs used to treat skin conditions due to environmental changes, lifestyle, and stress, the benefits of Chinese herbology were clear.
In 1998, Roni founded Kamedis Ltd. as an R&D company that develops, manufactures and provides natural high-quality therapeutic products for skin disorders. Combining her entrepreneurial skills, attraction to Chinese herbs, and experience practicing traditional Chinese medicine dermatology, Roni brought together Chinese medicine with Western pharmacology and biochemistry to increase efficacy and minimize side effects using TCM.
Roni attained an M.Sc. in Traditional Chinese Medicine and Chinese herbology at the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine (ACTCM) in San Francisco, CA. A licensed acupuncturist in California, she earned a B.A. in Sanskrit and Classical Indian languages, literature, and linguistics, at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
BITB spoke with Roni about Kamedis and the use of botanicals for the skin.
1. As an authority on Chinese medicine, can you explain the basic principles and how you have incorporated these into your new brand, Kamedis?
Traditional Chinese medicine is a complex discipline with many facets, but we at Kamedis are using two key aspects: the extensive knowledge of Chinese medicinal botanicals that dates back thousands of years, and the principle of achieving harmony and balance. Instead of using a single active ingredient that targets only one of the biological processes that cause a given skin condition, as conventional products do, Kamedis formulates each product with multiple botanicals that balance and complement each other while also treating the multiple pathways involved in a given disease. This is fundamentally different from other products you find on the shelf.
The principle of harmony and balance also applies in other ways. Our first goal is to strengthen the skin barrier to restore the skin’s natural protective function and reduce transepidermal water loss that is a measure of skin vulnerability. Achieving this balance helps prevent offenders like microorganisms, allergens and chemical materials from penetrating the skin and causing the disorders we’re trying to treat.
Finally, we combine the principles of traditional Chinese medicine with Western dermatology and modern scientific research to effectively address the complexity of each condition and its symptoms without side effects. That’s why our team includes biologists, chemists and formulators as well as traditional Chinese medicine experts. It’s a complex product development process that has involved testing hundreds of botanicals singly and in combination, patenting the combinations that have been found to be the most effective, adding select ingredients used in Western medicine, and of course, conducting clinical trials to evaluate the results.
These trials have shown that our products reduce eczema flare-ups up to 50% in two weeks, acne lesions within 12 hours, and dandruff by 50% in two weeks – all without the side effects of standard treatments or ingredients such as benzoyl peroxide, sodium lauryl sulfate, parabens, steroids, dyes and coal tar that consumers increasingly want to avoid.
2. Please explain how you are using botanicals specifically and what the benefits of these ingredients are for the skin?
One of the beauties of botanicals is that they are essentially multi-purpose healers. Each one contains multiple medicinal properties, so a single plant has the ability to provide relief for multiple causes of a particular condition. Rhubarb (Rheum palmatum), for example, has SIX different benefits. It’s anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic, anti-oxidative and anti-microbial, meaning that it can fight the specific microbes found in excess in various skin disorders. It also heals wounds and regulates sebum secretion. (Too much sebum is associated with conditions like acne and eczema.)
Different properties are relevant to different skin conditions, so part of the challenge is to determine which botanicals – and in which combinations – produce the best results for a given disorder. This also requires knowledge of which part of the plant to use. The ingredients we’re looking for might be present in the root, fruit, flower or bark of a given plant.
Our first step is to identify the biological mechanisms behind whatever skin condition we are working on. Then we search for botanicals that will address those particular disease pathways. Each botanical candidate goes through in vitro tests using artificial skin models. When we get positive reports on a given candidate, we test various combinations of botanicals to identify the specific formulation that will maximize results. (As I mentioned earlier, we have patented these formulations based on our extensive R&D.) At that point, we initiate clinical studies that are conducted by leading U.S. dermatologists to confirm the clinical activity of our products.
Equally important in our use of botanicals is the unique extraction process we use to maximize the potency of our formulations. It’s a process called macroporous resin chromatography that yields such highly concentrated botanical extracts that our products retain the vibrant greens, blues and ambers of the source plants. You can literally see the difference compared to the white, clear or bleached look of conventional creams and lotions that get their color from synthesized chemicals. One look tells you that you have a little bit of nature in your hands.
3. What is in your cosmetic bag and on your bathroom vanity?
I have sensitive and problem skin, so I wear no makeup and use my company’s products on a regular basis to address my skin conditions. I use Kamedis Clear acne face cleanser and acne face moisturizer every day to control my oily skin. For the occasional acne outbreaks I have on my chin, I use Kamedis Clear acne spot treatment that usually alleviates the lesions almost overnight. I use Kamedis Control anti-dandruff shampoo three times a week to control dandruff. In winter, when dandruff tends to get more severe, I use the Control scalp lotion overnight and wash it out in the morning. I also use Shikai moisturizing shower gel.