Natural Skin Care Products - Founder's Message

Perspectives from a neurochemist on skin 
David G. Changaris, MD

From the Inventor:

When I first held a severely malnourished child as an intern, nothing could have prepared me for the shock of his paper-like skin. Even the gentlest touch could rip this malnourished skin.

The Medical University of South Carolina would occasionally receive these babies from islands off the South Carolina coast. These islands were then little more than third world countries filled with people living primitive lives subject to episodic mass starvation. The babies were too weak to eat and so small that putting in an intravenous line was next to impossible. My professor of pediatric surgery had us apply poultices of safflower oil to help resuscitate them.

David Changaris Ceela Naturals
Watching these babies absorb nutrition through their skin was miraculous. The skin would become firm and soft, and the babies gained weight. I learned first hand that the body absorbs what you put on the skin. I became convinced we should not put anything on our skin we would not eat.

I left this knowledge behind as I became a neurosurgeon and embarked on a career to treat trauma. Twenty years ago I published a paper that led to the current standard for managing severely head injured patients. In my surgeries I found that taking care of the skin and nutrition helped my surgical success. I developed interest in complex neurochemistry, working with lipids (fats, oils, etc.) and proteins found in the brain through many peer-reviewed grants from the NIH and NINCDS.

In 1997 I developed dystonia (a disease similar to Parkinson's disease) and could no longer operate. To this day I divide my life between caring for trauma patients (absent the surgery of course) and research.

About eight years ago I decided to look at skin through a neurochemist’s eyes. I was developing tools to treat certain diseases with pulsed ultraviolet light. One of those diseases has strong brain-skin connections, namely, psoriasis. I learned through this that ultraviolet light dries skin out. To help these patients I needed a hydrating cream which would be safe enough to use with ultraviolet light.

When I looked at the market of creams available there was not a single cream that I felt safe enough to put on skin and then subsequently irradiate with ultraviolet light without increasing the potential of cancer.

Since I had such extensive biochemical training in lipid chemistry, I understood that certain oils and amino acids were about the only things safe enough.

Skin without nerves (in my patients with severe nerve damage) reminded me of the skin of the babies I first encountered as an intern. Skin which cannot feel becomes thin and almost paper-like.

A little known fact about nerves: Nerves pick up and transport amino acids and peptides; nerves not only help us feel hot and cold, soft and hard, and dull and sharp, nerves deliver important amines to our skin. So it seemed important to make a cream which could bring to skin what our nerves do.

Our bodies are largely composed of lipids and amino acids. The living unit of our body is the cell, and the walls of our cells are made from lipids. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. (There are about 9 essential amino acids and 10-15 more non-essential amino acids.) Amino acids, dissolved in water, and lipids combine to make us. And so I sought to make an edible cream which would deliver amino acids and cell membrane lipids to the skin.

But oil and water do not mix...everybody knows this. You need something called a surfactant to make a suspension of oil and water called a cream or lotion. Every cream and lotion on the market is made with a surfactant. Every chemist knows that oil and water do not mix without a surfactant. Surfactants are detergents which break up the oil so water can form an emulsion we know as a cream or lotion.

But there is a not a surfactant out there I would want to ingest. Most are petrochemicals (anything that comes from an oil well). Others are synthetic: No man-made surfactant like laureth sulfate, please! Now I had a problem.

Here was the challenge I faced: To make a cream free of surfactants and petrochemicals ... and it must be vegan.

So I set out to make a stable emulsion using only amino acids and lipids (oils), and rich in C18 lipids because they can be used to make cell walls. After testing dozens of oils, I learned that one oil, namely conjugated linoleic acid, forms a stable cream with amino acids. I applied for and obtained US Patent 7074418: Conjugated fatty acid based emulsion and methods for preparing and using same.

I present to you the first totally edible lotion to nourish your skin. It is the only lotion I will put on my body.