EP1 - Dr Bobby Buka on Why Great Gut Health Leads Glowing Skin

Ep.1 - Mallama Presents Take Care Podcast

Hey You! Enjoy this epic interview w/ serial entrepreneur & my good friend, Dr. Bobby Buka I! In this incredible interview, he shares with us how he turned his passions into paid professions by founding First Aid Beauty! He also talks about how he entered the dermatology helping people around find confidence & also the routine he uses to make himself a change-maker in the space!!!

Here is the Transcript of the Conversation :

[00:00:00] Rishi Sharma: [00:00:00] hey, everyone. Welcome to the take care. Today's guest is dr Bobby Buka, your city's premier dermatologist and contributing founder to first aid beauty, which recently sold. To Proctor and gamble in 2018 for estimated $250 million. He is also the CEO of the dermatology specialist practice located in New York city, specializing both in medical and cosmetic skin issues.

[00:00:23] Welcome, dr Buka are excited to have you here. I just love to start the conversation with you at the beginning and understand your backstory. What drove you to dermatology.

[00:00:34] Dr Buka: [00:00:34] Yeah. Backstory, like, like the elevator pitch of my life. Nerdy New York city kid grows up to be nerdy adults there. And see, I think I started off volunteering at some hospitals in the city and was drawn to the medical profession.

[00:00:51] I think it's a wonderful opportunity to help others. It's rewarding. It's gratifying. There's some immediate gratification that's unique to dermatology, and I think it stumps me every day. I mean, just yesterday I got a case that I'm still trying to figure it out. And that's unique, I think, in most professions to be challenged like that after you've been doing it 10 1520 years.

[00:01:13] So that's why I love Durham.

[00:01:16] Rishi Sharma: [00:01:16] Yeah, I mean, I can imagine, you know, somebody like yourself, it's constantly being challenged by new and new problems and figuring out new and new symptoms. I'm sure it must be exciting. You know, I was looking on your website for your practice and you have a goal statement, and I honestly heard that I thought was quite interesting.

[00:01:32] Understand your skin story, not your skin problem. What does that exactly mean?

[00:01:37] Dr Buka: [00:01:37] patients, right? So it means that 10 out of 10 dermatologists know the pathogenesis of acne. You know what causes acne? But until I get to ask you about you and your experience with your own skin, I won't know how to best care for you.

[00:01:50] So I need insight there. I need to take a really detailed history.

I need to know your expectations for your own skin. I need to know essentially your skin trajectory, and then that way I can target your acne a lot more effectively. There's some patients that are taking supplements that unbeknownst to them are.

[00:02:06] Exacerbating their acne. There are some patients that flare before their menstrual cycle, and that's all relevant stuff. So if I walk in thinking, I know about everything there is to know about acne, I'm going to miss a lot of important steps that are unique to you as my patient. So that's what I mean by a skin story, not just a skin problem.

[00:02:25] Rishi Sharma: [00:02:25] And what are some of those questions or supplements that kind of, you would refrain for people that have acne issues?

[00:02:30] Dr Buka: [00:02:30] Sure. A great example is silymarin, which interacts with the estrogen receptor. So that's a supplement that some folks take for hair growth that can be feminizing and someone might not consider that that's contributing to a papular postural or acne.

[00:02:45] Rishi Sharma: [00:02:45] And I see, I noticed also on your website for the practice that you practice holistic skincare. And holistic dermatology. How does that differ from somebody that might go through your shelter?

[00:02:57] Dr Buka: [00:02:57] Sure. Yeah. There's this crazy oil and water sentiment out there that Eastern traditional holistic healthcare does not mix it at all.

[00:03:06] With Western medicine, it's, it's like pulled war one. You know, the functional medicine guys dig a trench on one side, and then the ivory tower faculty practice guys, they get trans on the other side and nobody moves. So it's nuts and each sides is of that. The other guys are preaching hearsay. Imagine how cool practice could be if we took the very best of both worlds, and that's what we're doing at the dermatology specialist.

[00:03:29] You know, sometimes we'll use ashwagandha, sometimes we'll use dicloxacillin, and it doesn't mean that we're discounting or discrediting the entire other body of knowledge on the Western side or the Eastern side, but we're going to take the best from both worlds for the benefit of our patients.

[00:03:44] Rishi Sharma: [00:03:44] Always patient first, right?

[00:03:46] Dr Buka: [00:03:46] Yeah. I mean, not just in dermatology, but patient first in all fields. You know, there's this kind of older, paternalistic view of healthcare where you walk in and the doctor tells you what to do, but we don't practice like that. I never have. It's, it's collaborative. It's, you know, how do you wanna approach?

[00:04:02] Do you want to be on oral medications? Oh, no, you don't. Okay, let's try and do this just topically. Oh, you hate creams and you don't want to be on any hormonal therapy. Okay. Let's try and do this. From different vantage points. So there's a lot of give and take. And if we view medicine as a team approach with patient and doctor together on the same side, there's a lot less adversity there.

[00:04:20] And there's a lot less prescriptive medicine. There's more collaborative care, and

[00:04:24] Rishi Sharma: [00:04:24] that's great. So I'd like to transition a little bit to some other ventures as I'd love to understand kind of how your collaboration with first aid beauty came to be and kind of how that words and story, it was pretty sure.

[00:04:36] Dr Buka: [00:04:36] Yeah. So, my involvement with first aid beauty began when I was a resident in dermatology, learning about potential skin allergens and irritants in a majority of over the counter products. And I thought, okay, this seems too easy. I'll just make a cream without these things, without these allergens. And I cold called a bunch of labs in New Jersey and I finally found someone to take me seriously enough.

[00:04:58] To make like a test batch. And I was a punk kid. I had no money, but I wouldn't go away. And I finally found a group that would give us some samples at least to play with and see what's missing or what we've done too much of. And at that point I teamed up with a friend of a friend. She was a mother of five and we launched a product called dr Bobby skincare for kids.

[00:05:18] And it was a disaster. You know, she, she was a mother of five kids and had no time. And I was a medical resident also with no time. And so we just pitched it everywhere. Went to a ton of trade shows until we met a woman named Ellie Gordon, who's my cofounder at foresee beauty. She was much smarter than both of us, and she came forward and said, you know.

[00:05:38] I'm going to take the formulas. Emma, take Bobby, but I've got something in mind with a broader appeal, you know, let's not just make it pediatric. Let's open it up to a broader market for those adults with sensitive skin, not just kids. And fab was born.

[00:05:53] Rishi Sharma: [00:05:53] That's a great story. It's always the failure before the great success.

[00:05:56] Dr Buka: [00:05:56] Often times, and you know, I was like, Hey, can we still call it dr Bobby? And she said, ah, not a chance. So they'll eat, changed the name, but it's a great line of products and I'm really proud of it.

[00:06:07] Rishi Sharma: [00:06:07] It's great. I like to also move into another venture that I think you're a part of product forms and kind of understand that relationship as

[00:06:14] Dr Buka: [00:06:14] well.

[00:06:15] Sure. Toronto farms is a lunar farm in upstate New York. We started it in 2014 and it was a way for me to get personally a bit more conscious about the earth and also for the practice to be able to give back to patients. So all of the items that come from the farm, whether it's goat cheese or goat milk, or we've got 3000 square feet of greenhouse where we go a ton of vegetables and an orchard where we do apples and chicken, eggs, all of those go straight to our waiting room refrigerators where we give this stuff away to patients for free.


Yeah. And most of all, it was fun. And patients are shocked. They're like, wait, I'm coming to the dermatologist for skincare and I'm leaving with better skin and a carton of eggs. So

[00:07:00] she was like, usually I get some sparkling water eggs. So, and my involvement there ranges from harvesting stuff. In the greenhouse. We do a lot of a rugala. They're milking goats, and it's just a different way to start my day. I mean, starting my day with a pail or a shovel in hand instead of my iPhone. For me, that's been really liberating.

[00:07:19] Rishi Sharma: [00:07:19] It's great to her to bring it back to the dermatology. Why is skincare important? What are the benefits? You know, trying to convince somebody that isn't taking my scare at care of their skin. Where does the importance of skincare and what are the

[00:07:32] Dr Buka: [00:07:32] benefits? Skin is number one by any metric. I mean, it's the heaviest organ by weight.

[00:07:38] It's got the largest immune system. It's the largest metabolism of water. It's just, it's so predominant among all the organisms. I'm not saying you don't need your heart, you do, but the skin is just so inexorably linked to so many other aspects of our homeostasis, of our body balance. You know, it's because it's linked to the immune system and it's linked to metabolic functions and it's linked to cooling the body.

[00:08:01] And so it's a, the hub. From which a lot of other organised systems draw from, and that's why it's considered in traditional cultures to be a window for so many organs. Right. If your gut floor is off, check the skin. There's a yeast overgrowth problem, check the skin. So it's not, the skincare is more important than any other organ systems.

[00:08:17] It's the most important.

[00:08:18] Rishi Sharma: [00:08:18] Okay. Thank you for going into that. If somebody wanted to, now, let's just say it's 2020 it's the new decade, somebody wants to start focusing on their skin, what is the number one thing that you would say to focus on for the longterm regrets your

[00:08:32] Dr Buka: [00:08:32] skin. Yeah. Number one thing to protect our skin.


I've got three number one things. My first one is a boring answer, which is UV protection. I mean, countless data supports that sun gives skin cancer, ultraviolet exposure. You've seen cancer, so and ages you, it breaks down collagen breaks on elastin. So we're SPF 30 even on cloudy days. That's the sort of the road dermatologist responsible.

[00:08:54] I think my two more interesting answers. One. Gut flora support. We are finding better guts lead to better skin. This is probably an area of nutrition and diet that we've largely neglected on the Western side of medicine, and I think it's a tremendous opportunity to improve skin. My favorite and bias alert here.

[00:09:12]his skin STLs, which is we create a 60 day superfood supplement for healthier skin. So you take one pill a day for 60 days and really helps bring out good gut bacteria, suppress some of the pathogens in the gut that we don't want decrease inflammation and make for a clear countenance on the face. So that's an important element to protect skin and to daily use of a tretinoin containing product.

[00:09:36] So there are prescriptive retinoids, like retinae, for example, or tretinoin. And then there's retinol that you can get over the counter. If you can't make it to a dermatologist, at least find something that has retinol in it, and that helps the epidermis turnover in a really regularized fashion, normalized fashion so that we can get brisk turnover without dead skin.

[00:09:57] Getting stuck in that transition from basal layer to straddled corneum, which is a top layer of skin.

[00:10:04] Rishi Sharma: [00:10:04] And you know that rental, are you looking for that in some sort of a moisturizer? Is it as a, you know, serum? Is there a particular preference of Efrat application?

[00:10:13] Dr Buka: [00:10:13] Yeah, it's typically in a moisturizer.

[00:10:15] One of the nice things about the first aid, beauty five and one moisturizer that we did has retinol in it and also has SPF 30 in it, so we can be protective as well as a healing with the retinol agent. All right,

[00:10:27] Rishi Sharma: [00:10:27] and let's just expand that further. What makes a good skincare routine now? What products are included in that?

[00:10:33] How often should be using those products? If you could go into

[00:10:36] Dr Buka: [00:10:36] that a little bit. Sure. I think the makings of a good skin care routine has to include consistency. Like, don't keep reaching for the next shiny bauble. Just stick with the products that worked for you. And my second one is a less common one, which is temerity.

[00:10:50] So like, I want my patients to use one cream, one cleanser. They're going to penetrate beautifully into the dermis. If my patients are using three creams and three highers cleansers. They have the potential of ruining it all in the well-guided attempt to supply more stuff to their dermis. They end up with agents that are not penetrating deep enough because there's a lot of other noise from the other agents that are calling on topically.

[00:11:14] So, you know, pick one thing that has a retinol in it with SPF one cleanser. I think that's plenty.

[00:11:20] Rishi Sharma: [00:11:20] Okay. Thank you. Thank you for breaking that down. I'm sure the audience will be appreciative of that. So I'd just like to go back into kind of yourself. And so here, take care of your podcast that goes into the routines, habits, and rituals of Changemakers like yourself.

[00:11:34] So I'd love to get more in depth and understanding your morning routine. What does it look like? How you came to be?

[00:11:40] Dr Buka: [00:11:40] Yeah, I'll give it a shot. The skin test deals that I mentioned, which is on Amazon, so making sure my guts right. I used a fab cleanser. Super gentle non-suit cleanser and the fab five and one moisturizer with SPF 30 every day.

[00:11:55] And that's goes on with brushing my teeth and flossing, which even though this isn't a dental podcast, tons of bacteria, we're finding associated as super antigens for more inflammation the body. So everyone's got a floss, not just because your dentist says so, but your dermatologist is you. And then my one other completely unrelated item as a beard where.

[00:12:15] Is something called S Barbados shave company. Beard oil, really like the, the Malian effects of that particular product. No personal interests. They're just really like it.

[00:12:26] Rishi Sharma: [00:12:26] That's great.

[00:12:27] Dr Buka: [00:12:27] That's great.

[00:12:27] Rishi Sharma: [00:12:27] And what does personal care mean to you? When somebody says that term, what does that mean to

[00:12:33] Dr Buka: [00:12:33] you? What is personal care mean to me?


You know, for me, which the body is, is much easier than the mind, right? Like you get it on an exercise bike, you do the work and you see results. I think the mind is a trickier place, you know? And it's just as if not more important to keep your mind right and healthy and positive. So whether that's like sitting with yourself.

[00:12:54] For me, it's sitting with and hearing family, you know, smiling. It. Random strangers. Those are all things that work best for me in the personal care category. And I think those are the ones that are maybe the most difficult and most important to cultivate.

[00:13:07] Rishi Sharma: [00:13:07] That's great. Yeah. And final two questions. So what's one common myth about your profession or field that you'd like to debunk.

[00:13:16] Dr Buka: [00:13:16] Common myths. okay. Missed one that dermatologists only get excited about patients who want cosmetic enhancements. We do those all day, but the things that are really challenging and thought provoking are medical dermatology issues. Those are the ones that certainly get me most excited about coming to work.

[00:13:33] So myth one is that we're just clarified cosmetologists and miss two is that. The price of an over the counter skincare product is directly proportional to its efficacy. You know, there's been so many strategies of skincare products that price themselves at 150 bucks for four ounces and just the price alone.

[00:13:50] Some folks that think, huh, more money must be better. So you can find all the basic fundamentals that you need and stuff that's 10 bucks at your local Rite aid. And CVS.

[00:14:02] Rishi Sharma: [00:14:02] Thank you. Thank you for the monkeying dose. And just final question, where can listeners connect with you online? What would be the

[00:14:08] Dr Buka: [00:14:08] best place to places?

[00:14:10] We talked about one at the derm specs and two at promo farms, both on the gram,

[00:14:17] Rishi Sharma: [00:14:17] both on Instagram and just like a thank you very much for being on the podcast and pleasure having you here.

[00:14:23] Dr Buka: [00:14:23] Great. Look forward to next time.

[00:14:25] Rishi Sharma: [00:14:25] Alright, sounds good.

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