Let's face it. No one likes to be called "thin skinned," an
idiomatic expression for people who can't accept criticism and
are quick to take offense.
Jim Greene, however, is more concerned about the literal
meaning of thin skin, the actual thinning of the skin as people
"It's an overlooked and silent killer," said Mr. Greene. "The
most important function of the skin is to form a protective
barrier between the 'inside' and 'outside' of you. When skin
becomes thin, it loses the ability to fight back.
"The bottom line is that thin skin loses its protective
properties, and humans develop skin at risk, which can cause
psoriasis, bed sores and diabetic skin conditions, including diabetic ulcers."
As principal scientist for Cooperlabs, based in Ventura, Mr. Greene was instrumental in creating a formula to preserve the skin's protective barrier function with several products that are called Cabot P.O.L. Phospholipid Cream and Lotion.
"Topical phospholipid therapy, which is supplied by the cream and lotion, supplements the skin to help prevent the lost of and restore the fatty layer that safeguards our blood vessels against injury," said Mr. Greene, 70, during a phone interview from his home in Sunnyvale.
"As we age, the fatty, lipid substances, as well as the layer of fat in our skin, diminish. Collagen and elastin, which support our skin structure, weaken, and our skin becomes thin, crepey and saggy. All of this leads to the loss of the protective fatty layer that we had when we were younger," he pointed out. Mr. Greene, a native of Wilmington, Ohio, has worked on the "formulation of personal care products" ever since he earned bachelor's and master's degrees in chemistry from the University of Cincinnati in
Ohio. "That was shortly after dinosaurs became extinct," he quipped.
For 10 years, he worked for the Andrew Jergens Lotion Co. in Cincinnati, followed by stints with Elizabeth Arden cosmetics in New York City and Indianapolis, Amway in Grand Rapids, Mich.; and Vipont Pharmaceutical in Fort Collins, Colo., where he did research on treating peridontal disease using natural ingredients.
"You can see how I was working my way west," Mr. Greene chuckled. "In 1988, I moved to the Bay Area and became part of Cooperlabs, which was owned by Parker Montgomery. It was the start of a 25-year friendship and professional relationship."
Mr. Montgomery, 85, now lives in the Santa Ynez Valley. "He is still the CEO, president and chief cook and bottle washer," said Mr. Greene. "He moved Cooperlabs to Ventura when he was living in Montecito. Even though I live in Sunnyvale, the CEO lives in Santa Ynez and the offices are in Ventura; it all works for us." The idea to develop products to prevent thin skin damage began with a chance meeting in Santa Barbara
when Mr. Montgomery, a pioneering entrepreneur in skin care — from Aveeno to treat dermatological issues, to Cooper Vision for the eyes, and Oral B for healthy teeth — became acquainted with a few local nurses who told him about an "amazingly effective and versatile cream from Italy." "It was mainly used in long-term care facilities to treat the elderly who had bed sores and other conditions related to aging," Mr. Greene said.
After Mr. Montgomery's Italian pharmaceutical company acquired the only product in the world using this proprietary ingredient, Mr. Montgomery began distributing samples to nurses and doctors in Santa Barbara and throughout the United States.
"Before long, the nursing community discovered that the cream worked for dry skin, rashes, chafing, burns, itch, eczema and other problems in people of all ages," said Mr. Greene. "People started walking into local pharmacies and asking for the product even before distribution was in place." The products, which include Cabot P.O.L. Phospholipids Cream, Cabot P.O.L. Phospholipids Lotion, Cabot Oat Protein Body Wash and Cabot Oat Protein Cleansing Bar, are available at pharmacies and health care businesses across the country. The cream retails for $22.50 for a 3-ounce tube, and $27.50 for a 6-ounce bottle of the lotion. The price for the 8-ounce body wash is $10, and the bar is $5.
Locally, the products can be purchased at Shepard Place Pharmacy in Carpinteria, San Ysidro Pharmacy in Montecito and in Santa Barbara at Master Medical Supply, L.M. Caldwell Pharmacy, Federal Drug and Sansum Clinic Pharmacy. "Today, more than ever before, our skin's health is being challenged. We need to get the message out that maintaining skin health goes far beyond beauty. It even goes beyond sun exposure. Maintaining skin health helps ensure our overall health," stressed Mr. Greene. "Every day, limbs are lost, and serious. life-threatening infections occur because of compromised skin health. As we age, our skin is at risk, Phospholipid therapy works on the skin to maintain and rebuild the body's ability to preserve its healthy, normal structure," he added.