Doctor Faiola Talks About Tinea Versicolor
Creator of Noble Formula® Interviewed
Richard L. Faiola, MD, ABFM
The story behind Noble Formula is as compelling as the man behind its brand – Richard L. Faiola, MD, ABFM.
From its inception in 1997, Noble Formula—created by Dr. Faiola for his company Ontos, Inc.—has continued to surprise the dermatological community in its relief of the symptoms of psoriasis and eczema. Recently, many are discovering that Noble Formula products can also be successful against other derma-beasts like Tinea Versicolor (TV).
According to the company’s website, Noble Formula is a suspension of pyrithione zinc (ZnP), sodium lauryl sulfate, isopropyl myristate and alcohol. These ingredients, particularly the ZnP, make it useful for the relief of itching, flaking and inflammation—symptoms common to TV. In its basic composition, Noble Formula is available over-the-counter (OTC) without a doctor’s prescription.
An interesting tidbit about pyrithione zinc—or ZnP—is that it’s been used for hundreds of years as not only a personal care anti-fungal agent, but also as an industrial anti-fungal in products like paints and wood preservatives. But have no fear. A product used industrially doesn’t necessarily mean it’s harmful to the human body.
ZnP, Noble Formula’s primary active ingredient, has been proven safe for all skin types. “Of course, there will always be people with allergies to certain ingredients,” cautions Dr. Faiola.
For more severe dermatological abnormalities, Ontos has created Noble Formula Rx®—the standard OTC formula combined with clobetasol to 0.05 percent, a water soluble corticosteroid requiring a physician’s prescription. Noble Formula Rx boasts an astounding 96 percent of clients reporting “good” or “very good” success against the symptoms of their skin conditions (mostly psoriasis or severe eczema).
Dr. Faiola’s Christian faith plays a big part in all he does, so it’s not surprising that when he went searching for a name for his company, he chose Ontos—a name which, according to the NAS New Testament Greek Lexicon means “truly, in reality, in point of fact.”
Truth in care and respect for the patient have been two of Dr. Faiola’s mantras since the beginning. Perhaps these two tenants are best illustrated by Ontos’ money back-satisfaction guarantee and his response to the economic meltdown of his first business entry into this field.
The Noble Brand
How Dr. Faiola decided upon the brand name Noble Formula reveals even more about his character as a man, physician, and entrepreneur.
“I had a patient covered in severe psoriasis from head to toe,” explained Dr. Faiola. “Her name was Helen Noble. She showed up at my office one day with a product from a third-hand retailer, one she hoped would prove useful for treating her psoriasis. I told her she had paid too much, she could have done as well with a shampoo product to her skin, and that it could not work – but, hey, give it a try.”
“Patients love to prove their doctors mistaken. Helen was dancing about my office when she returned two weeks later—the psoriasis almost completely gone”— While still doubtful, Faiola, was at least open to exploring further.
“I called the distributor listed on the bottle,” Dr. Faiola said. “The person on the other end of the telephone said the company activates the zinc molecules. I told the guy that “activating the molecules” was ridiculous and he confessed he was only telling me what the company told him to say– he then sent me six units to try on other patients.” The product worked on every patient tried. “I couldn’t believe that simple zinc without an accompanying corticosteroid could be so effective against psoriasis.” He talked to the head scientists of the Spanish company, met with their owner and CEO, and reviewed the registration documents and official ingredient listings from the governments of several countries. All confirmed no corticosteroid.
Helen Noble was simply over the moon about the results and begged Dr. Faiola to go into business with her. “She wanted to get the product and sell it—to help others like her. After all our checking, we became the sixth distributor in North America for the product.”
Sales were dramatic. As the only medical professional owning a distributorship, Faiola marketed mostly to other doctors, urging them to let their patients give it a try. “We even got some very favorable press in the professional medical literature.”
“Then one day, I got a notice from the FDA. They’d found an unnoted corticosteroid in the product. It was illegally mislabeled and could no longer be imported. We no longer had a product—at least temporarily.” Faiola, honoring the money back pledge refunded over $100,000 to clients – even those who had ordered repeatedly and were clearly fully-satisfied. He was the only one to refund any money to anyone. Several years of class action litigation followed. “No client of ours had suffered side effects from the unknown steroid, but as the only distributor to have responsibly carried liability insurance, we bore the brunt of the defense for everyone else.”
Patients, however, still wanted their “miracle” product. At one point, Ontos had a waiting list of 4000 patients and physicians. Dr. Faiola contracted with a fully accredited lab to duplicate, as best he could, the formula without the corticosteroid, naming it Noble Formula after Helen Noble.
“What this did,” said Dr. Faiola, “was isolate and create over-the-counter products with pyrithione zinc as the primary active ingredient. And when combined with a doctor’s prescribed corticosteroid, patients with severe skin ailments would see the same amazing results as with the original product.”
As most of the clients of Ontos suffered from psoriasis, they often complained that most regular cleansing products further irritated their skin and most medicated soaps were too drying. The story of Noble Formula Soap is told below, but what they found was that they had created a new moisturizing soap beneficial to all consumers and that their whole product line of soaps, sprays, and shampoo are useful for the symptoms of TV.
“The second discovery came by way of the Dr. Oz Show. In our quest to create products to assist those with psoriasis and eczema, we inadvertently created a product effective in treating the symptoms of tinea versicolor, only we didn’t know it until one of our patients called and said our Noble Formula soap had just been featured on the Dr. Oz Show as a treatment for the symptoms TV.”
Noble Formula products began to fly off the shelves of nationwide pharmacies, forcing Ontos into a desperate search for more ZnP, a substance not always readily available. And some products like soap, which cure on Ontos shelves from four to six weeks, require extensive time to create, compounding the shortage of product availability.
“For a short time thereafter,” Dr. Faiola went on to say, “Noble Formula Soap was the number one selling cosmetic product on Amazon. Our Noble Formula products were never promoted for tinea versicolor, but it works in the same way as our anti-fungal shampoo, making it an effective part of any TV treatment regimen.”
As you may already know, TV is not curable, only manageable. The organism that causes tinea versicolor already exists on every person’s skin, but only some see the organism turn into a derma-beast. Still, because it’s a ubiquitous fungus found on all of us, tinea is NOT, according to Dr. Faiola, contagious. It merely spreads rapidly on the person it infects.
“TV is an interesting dermatological anomaly, “Dr. Faiola says, “requiring special considerations when treating. Certain oils feed the tinea fungus, so if you have tinea versicolor, you’ve got to be careful what you use as a skin moisturizer. You don’t want to inadvertently defeat your efforts at containment.”
Noble Formula—A Family Affair
Another interesting fact about Noble Formula is that its ZnP soap came about as a collaboration between Dr. Faiola and his daughter, Anne-Marie—the self-professed soap queen of the Internet. Anne-Marie runs Bramble Berry, one of the top-rated websites for soap-making supplies and instruction.
“Since a young age, Anne-Marie had been fascinated with the creative aspect of soap-making,” Dr. Faiola said proudly. “She continues to amaze me…the way she’s turned a passionate hobby into a very successful business. Nobody is more knowledgeable about soap-making and the ingredients that go into soap than Anne-Marie, so it made sense that I would seek her out to help create Noble Formula ZnP soap.”
ZnP on its own can be a bit harsh to the skin, so Anne-Marie suggested combining it with ingredients like olive oil and emu oil. The results, once again, have proven remarkable.
“Noble Formula has shown itself an effective anti-fungal with wonderfully rich moisturizing capabilities,” said Dr. Faiola. “Anne-Marie even helped create a vegan formula for those opposed to the use of animal by-products. Our vegan Noble Formula replaces emu oil with mango butter, another rich moisturizer that aids ZnP in its fight against fungus on the skin.”
Looking at a Noble Future
From its dignified name to its founder’s heart, Noble Formula has proven itself to be a respected brand with staying power. And it doesn’t hurt when your product appears on a nationally syndicated television show like Dr. Oz. Together these things have increased market share and sales of Noble Formula products.
As for the Noble Formula product line and its future, Dr. Faiola seems content. “There are no new products in the pipeline, but if we discover a need, we’ll take a look at it. But for now, we are extremely proud of the Noble Formula product line and the level of customer satisfaction we’ve achieved.”
Richard L. Faiola, MD, ABFM, is a Board Certified specialist in Family Practice (with Obstetrics – though currently inactive). Dr. Faiola completed medical training at Loma Linda University in 1976. Three years of specialty training in Hinsdale, IL followed, where he served as Chief Resident. On completing two years of service with the U.S. Air Force, he joined the Steck Medical Group, Chehalis, WA in 1981.
In 2001, he began a full time international locum tennens (“rent-a-doc”) career working or volunteering in Washington, Idaho, Wisconsin, India, Barbuda, Germany, and New Zealand. While his own building was under construction, he continued his locums work at Sea Mar Community Health Center and Group Health Cooperative, both in Olympia.
Dr. Faiola opened his own rapidly growing private practice, Heritage Family Medicine, on the West side of Olympia, WA, in February, 2006.