Salons offer a number of treatments that are aimed at supporting beauty and
self-care. Generally, treatments like pedicures, one of the most common
offerings at salons, are relaxing and moisturizing for the skin, but offer little
more than that. In the medical world, podiatrists work with patients every day
to treat and prevent infections, skin injury, and other ailments, specifically with
the feet. At HCD Anti-Aging Medical Laboratories, Inc, we thought to
combine beauty and self-care with podiatry, designing the medical-grade
Immuni-T PediPod, which includes a vitamin and mineral soak that
supports immune and skin function with an FDA-approved antiseptic
ingredient, known as benzalkonium chloride.
Skin is the most vulnerable organ of the human body. Ensuring that it is
supported, especially when it comes to its strength, ability to heal, and
functionality can be tantamount to aging gracefully. Research suggests that
various nutritional and environmental interventions, including those included
in the Immuni-T PediPod formula, have the ability to support these aspects of
the skin, improving health outcomes throughout life. (1) This formula,
specifically designed for skin support, contains vitamin C, vitamin E,
vitamin B-complex, vitamin A, and zinc, all of which are supported by
Vitamin C is a well-known antioxidant; in human skin, it is actually the most
abundant antioxidant with multiple important roles in maintaining skin health
and integrity. Though as a society we consume a lot of it, whether, through
food or oral supplements, only a small amount ingested is biologically active in
the skin. Thankfully, when applied topically it is well supported in having
antioxidative, photoprotective, antiaging, and anti-pigmentary effects.
Much of this can be attributed to the role of vitamin C in collagen
formation, which strengthens the skin, preventing injury and reducing
signs of aging. (2)
As an antioxidant, vitamin C can protect against photoaging, UV-induced
immunosuppression, and photocarcinogenesis by neutralizing the
oxidative stress these things induce. For example, one double-blind,
placebo-controlled study showed that the topical application of 10% vitamin C
over three months showed a significant reduction in photoaging scores and
improved wrinkling. At the same concentration, vitamin C has also been
shown to reduce UVB-induced erythema (visual burn) by 52 percent and
sunburn-related cellular damage by 40-60%. This ultimately means it can help
reduce the risk of skin cancers developing. (2)
Synergistically, vitamin C also interacts with another ingredient in the Immuni-
T PediPod; specifically, vitamin E. Though vitamin E has its own actions
when it comes to skin health, vitamin C is essential to its replenishment
within the skin, as it is depleted rapidly by UV light exposure. By working to
keep levels where they should be, vitamin E can therefore function to its full
Vitamin C and vitamin E have a very similar mechanism of action when it
comes to the skin. Vitamin E is a fat-soluble, lipophilic vitamin that gained
popularity in dermatology and cosmetics due to its antioxidant
properties, resulting in its having antitumorigenic, photoprotective, and
skin barrier stabilizing properties (3). Though more studies are needed to
elucidate vitamin E’s direct success on skin health in humans, there are studies
that show topical exposure is the best way to ensure the skin has an adequate
amount of this vitamin. One done in 2004 by Tavokkol et al, showed this by
measuring the amount of vitamin E in the stratum corneum layer of sun-
exposed skin with either topical or oral vitamin E supplementation. Though
both were able to improve levels, the topical application was significantly
more effective at replenishing lost vitamin E levels after sun exposure.
(4) The Immuni-T PediPod ensures the skin is exposed to topical vitamin E,
replenishing the skin after a day in the sun.
Vitamin A, another fat-soluble vitamin included to support skin health in
the Immuni-T PediPod formula, plays a crucial role in skin health,
especially when it comes to skin cell turnover, collagen formation, and
elastin production. Therefore, it works to make skin firmer and thicker,
improving wrinkles and preventing injury. Similar to vitamin E, vitamin A can
easily become depleted, both by UV exposure or dietary deficiency; by
supplying it topically, the skin is given a dose to support these physiological
processes. (5) One study, by Kafi et al in 2007, was able to show that topical
retinol (vitamin A) applied up to three times per week for six months was able
to significantly improve the fine wrinkles associated with natural aging. They
found that this was done by inducing glycosaminoglycan, which retains
moisture in the skin, and by increasing collagen production. They reported
less reported injury and improved skin appearance at the end of the trial. (6)
For these reasons, it was included in the Immuni-T PediPod, promoting
healthy and strong skin.
There are a number of B vitamins that play important roles in human
physiology. Though all are likely important to skin health, two have been well
researched as topical applications – niacinamide/nicotinamide (vitamin B3)
and dexpanthenol (vitamin B5). Vitamin B3 is considered an antipruritic,
antimicrobial, vasoactive, photo-protective, sebostatic, and lightening
agent when applied topically. (7) Because of these actions, has been cited as
a treatment for acne, melasma, atopic dermatitis, and rosacea (8). It is
included in the Immuni-T PediPod to reduce irritation, cleanse, and protect the
Dexpanthenol, a form of vitamin B5, is also well used and respected in
the cosmetic industry and included in the Immuni-T PediPod. It is known
to improve the hydration of the skin by reducing water loss and
supporting epidermal barrier function. It also is able to reduce skin
inflammation when applied topically, reducing redness from sun
exposure and improving wound healing. One review cited it also reduced
skin irritation, including dryness, scaling, and itching when applied topically
over 3-4 weeks with minimal risk of skin irritancy or sensitization, making it a
great broad-spectrum additive to support skin vitality. (9)
Niacinamide and dexpanthenol, though the most widely researched, aren’t the
only B vitamins with supportive research on topical use for skin health. In 2009
researchers performed a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study
looking at the success of topical vitamin B12 as a treatment for childhood
eczema. They found that those receiving topical B12 had significant
improvement in symptoms at 2 and 4 weeks when compared to placebo. (10)
That being said, other B vitamins are used, especially orally for skin health.
For the purposes of the Immuni-T PediPod, the B vitamins used topically are
Zinc, the last therapeutic ingredient in the Immuni-T PediPod, has been
used for centuries as a therapy for skin symptoms. Review studies have
cited use in sunscreens to protect from UV exposure, as a soothing agent, or
in shampoos to reduce dandruff. More recently, it has also been used for skin
infections, inflammatory skin issues, and even skin cancers. Much of these
effects are attributed to its antioxidant actions, but it is also respected
as an antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and cofactor for various
physiological processes. (11)
These natural and safe compounds are combined with benzalkonium
chloride, a potent FDA-approved antimicrobial that is known to be
minimally irritating to the skin. Researchers have worked diligently to combine
the traditional medicinal philosophies with modern medicine providing a new,
novel way to support patients suffering from various skin conditions. The
Immuni-T PediPod formula, containing vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin A,
vitamin B, and zinc truly combines beauty, health, and self-care. It
successfully provides a spa treatment, while clinically improving the health
and vitality of the skin, while being supported by years of scientific research.
Dr. Mary Hall, ND, LAc
Medical Writer and Medical Advisory Board
1. Fore, Jane. 2006. A review of skin and the effects of aging on skin structure
and function. Ostomy Wound Manage: 52(9): 36-37.
2. Al-Niaimi, Firas and Zhen Chiang, Nicole Yi. 2017. Topical vitamin C and the
skin: mechanisms of action and clinical applications. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol:
3. Keen, Mohammad Abid and Hassan, Iffat. 2016. Vitamin E in dermatology.
Indian Dermatol Online J: 7(4): 311-315.
4. Tavakkol, A., Nabi, Z., Soliman, N., Polefka, T.G. 2004. Delivery of vitamin E to
the skin by a novel liquid skin cleanser: comparison of topical versus oral
supplementation. J Cosmet Sci: 55(2): 177-187.
5. Sorg, Olivier and Saurat, Jean-HIlaire. 2014. Topical retinoids in skin aging: a
focused update with reference to sun-induced epidermal vitamin A deficiency.
Dermatology: 228(4): 314-325.
6. Kafi, R. Kwak, H.S.R., Schumacher, W.E., Cho, S., Hanft, V.N., Hamilton, T.A.,
King, A.L., Neal, J.D., Varani, J., Fisher, G.J., Voorhees, J.J., Kang, S. 2007.
Improvement of naturally aged skin with vitamin A (retinol). Arch Dermatol:
7. Wohlrab, Johannes and Kreft, Daniela. 2014. Niacinamide - mechanisms of
action and its topical use in dermatology. Skin Pharmacol Physiol: 27(6): 311-
8. Rolfe, Heidi M. 2014. A review of nicotinamide: treatment of skin diseases
and potential side effects. J Cosmet Dermatol: 13(4): 324-328.
9. Ebner, F., Heller, A., Rippke, F., Tausch, R. 2002. Topical use of dexpanthenol
in skin disorders. Am J Clin Dermatol: 3(6): 427-433.
10. Januchowski, Ronald. 2009. Evaluation of topical vitamin B(12) for the
treatment of childhood eczema. J Altern Complement Med: 15(4): 387-389.
11. Gupta, M., Mahajan, V., Mehta, K.S., Chauhan, P.S. 2014. Zinc therapy in
dermatology: a review. Dermatol Res Pract: online.