Who runs this place, anyway? Introducing Dr. John and Dr. George, your hosts here at barefacedtruth.com. BFT is “owned and operated” by us. We alone are responsible for its content. The world classifies us as “beauty bloggers”. We like the moniker. We are proud to join the ranks.
Dr. George is a physician & research doc who is taking a deep dive into the world of regenerative medicine and therapeutics. A former anesthesiologist, he has put ~25,000 people to sleep, but promises to try to keep you readers awake. Dr. George is also a principal in Cellese, where he plays several roles.
Dr. John is the CEO and chief scientist at Cellese, with a passion for stem cell biology as it relates to skin and wound healing. His background includes research (physiology, cell biology, neurophysiology), clinical practice (nutrition, diabetes & regenerative medicine), and was formerly Medical Director for Johnson & Johnson. He also dabbles in terrestrial radiolocation and bending spacetime as a principal in Locata (www.locatacorp.com). When he has spare time he watches over BFT as a labor of love.
Our interest in stem cell biology grew out of our work in diabetes. Diabetics heal wounds very slowly. We discovered some years ago that we could coax bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells to do all sorts of marvelous things. They are the ones whose natural function is to respond to emergencies anywhere in the body. They communicate via cytokines (biosignaling molecules), to each other and to nearby cells. There are hundreds of cytokines, generally peptides and glycopeptides), and they have a superbly complex family tree. We have spent the last few years learning their “language” (cytokines patterns, like words in a sentence), which is the key to our discoveries. That, and stuff like understanding the differences between wound healing and photoageing (some overlap, some key differences), where the key metabolic entry points are, how to deliver these tiny signalling molecules to the right place. Fun!
This web site accepts no ads. Even our own companies are not allowed to advertise at barefacedtruth.com. (although we might make an exception if they want to test an ad or something, if it fits within our editorial vision). No commerce is conducted here. We are not here as professionals (our profession is science entrepreneurs) but as amateurs (beauty bloggers, if you will). We claim no special qualifications for that role. But we do know how to read and write (although a spell checker is sorely needed .. . any volunteers?).
We are not here to sell products. To that end, we declare that this blog is not an advertisement or inducement of any sort for any product or commercial venture with which we may be associated. We mention our day jobs ONLY so that you know where some of our knowledge and opinions are coming from, and why we care about any of this. But we will mention our own work, and products, because it is part of who we are. Not so you will buy products from us, but because we want to share our excitement with you about the underlying science. And to give you proper context for evaluating our opinions. We do have confidentiality agreements with companies we work with, which means we can’t tell you everything we know. We are quite happy to tell you what we don’t know (which is a lot, and why we ask so many questions).
The above serves as a disclosure statement as well. We are not without our biases (and will clearly state them, often) but we have been trained to be able to evaluate scientific topics objectively. We recognize that uncovering “the good, the bad, and the ugly” about beauty, inc, is going to make us unpopular in some circles. Our goal is not to make enemies, it is to seek the truth. In that regard we need to remain humble, because separating truth from fiction is not always as easy as it sounds. We are going to stick to basic scientific principles that values evidence over opinion. Within the evidence base itself, there are “levels” of evidence ranging from quite high to very low quality. We will strive for objectivity in our judgments, in full recognition of tour own human nature, meaning that we have biases, prejudices, and blind spots just like everyone else. But we will also work to stay aware of where our weaknesses and biases are, and be disclosing about them. We work in the field, and like most entrepreneurial scientists we believe our work is pretty special. We care deeply about the bigger truths, and the impact that science progress can have on health as well as aesthetics. Science guys are steeped in a tradition that values truth, and holds it dear. We ask you, our readers, to hold our feet to the fire. If you think we are straying from our mission, or our stated principles, please challenge us. You are our partners in this process, and we will be relying on you to keep us firmly planted. Help us to become better “beauty bloggers”.
How can you do that?
We get asked from time to time how can we (who work on active ingredients – biochemicals – for a company) legitimately review the work of others? Isn’t that a conflict? We all have conflicts of interest, just like we all have biases. But if we openly reveal our potential conflicts, then others can evaluate our opinions with the full knowledge of our inherent conflicts, or biases. That’s pretty much the way it is done in medicine. If I perform an NIH-sponsored research study, or author a paper, and it deals with something I know a lot about, and that same knowledge is useful to a company, and they also pay me to consult with them on this same topic, then I have an inherent conflict. I must reveal that (research conflict of interest, or financial conflict of interest). Having a conflict by itself doesn’t disqualify us from stating our opinion, or having our work published, as long as it is fully disclosed. Now, the internet blogosphere has no such rules, but we adhere to a higher standard here. And remember, we are here on our free time, as beauty bloggers, not representing our company in any way.
As we keep repeating , “Consider our biases disclosed”. We don’t pretend to be objective.
Here is a related question — if guys like us don’t step up to the plate and review the world of cosmetic actives, who would? What august body would be guarding the interests of the public? Are there cosmetic scientists in the academic world, with no conflicts of interest? Hardly any, because academic institutions thrive on government grants (e.g. NIH, or NSF grants). But the government has no research agenda for things like wrinkles, so there are no grants available. So the research comes from companies, all of whom have commercial interests, in other words inherent conflicts. So, practically speaking, all the experts in the world in this field have conflicts of interest (based on the source of their income). So, the choice is no watchdogs, or watch dogs who need to disclose their conflicts. The NIH doesn’t have the resources to watch over this stuff like they do drugs – so they concentrate on the claims associated with products. Until we showed up, it seemed like nobody was willing to step up to the plate. Nobody wants to rock the boat. The ingredient that scares me today may come from my employer tomorrow (or a worse one). Best to shut up.
But again, we are not here as science professionals, but as beauty bloggers, watching over things in our spare time. Call us crusaders or whistle blowers or whatever. We actively research published science, raise legitimate questions, and when we see things that are scientifically whacky or troublesome, we raise an issue. We don’t make a lot of friends in the industry as a result. But we sleep better at night. We think beauty blogging is a fun hobby, but also one that could do some public good.
The materials available at this web site are for informational or entertainment purposes only and not for the purpose of providing medical advice or guidance. You should contact your physician to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem of a medical nature. Use of and access to this Web site or any of the e-mail links contained within the site do not create an doctor-patient relationship between you and us. We operate here only as educated “beauty bloggers”, not as practitioners of the healing arts. We make no offer of services of any kind.
The opinions expressed at or through this site are the opinions of the authors (posts) and contributing readers (comments on posts), as individuals. We do not attempt to fact check everything written by readers who leave comments. We endeavor to present multiple sides to any controversial issue, and regularly publish comments expressing opinions contrary to our own. If you see something you thinks is incorrect, let us know and we will correct it. We publish corrections. If you disagree with our logic or interpretations or opinions, feel free to counter us with your own opinions. We value a good debate. But we will not approve (or may edit) comments that contain offensive language, present blatant advertising messages, are ad hominem in nature (that is, attack individuals rather than ideas), are repetitive, or just fail to live up to our standards as editors.
This is a nonprofit, non-commercial beauty blog choc full of opinions. Ours and yours, if you care to share.