Omaha teen takes lip balm idea from concept to completion — Omaha World Herald

Monday, August 17th, 2015

This post originally appeared on Tuesday December 13, 2011 in the Omaha World Herald.By Leia Mendoza

Daniel Schlessinger is known around campus as the “lip balm guy.”

The 17-year-old Omaha native and freshman at Northwestern University has had his college neighbors and buddies swarm his dorm room to get samples of his creation: FixMySkin Healing Balm.

Daniel even mingled with celebrities at the Emmy Awards in September to give red carpet walkers a sneak peek of the product before it was released to the public last month.

FixMySkin Healing Balm is a medicated body balm intended to heal a number of skin issues, including chapped lips and cuticles, dry elbows and heels, psoriasis, eczema, poison ivy and insect bites.

Daniel, who aspires to follow in his dermatologist dad’s footsteps, came up with the concept when he was only 12.

It was winter in Nebraska and the Kiewit Middle School seventh-grader had dry, cracked skin on his hands. So he rubbed some lip balm on his skin and wondered why it worked better than lotion, but didn’t completely heal his skin.

“It was my intellectual curiosity, I guess,” Daniel said by phone. “I was just really curious about why something like lip balm didn’t work there.”

Turns out, he learned from his father, Dr. Joel Schlessinger, that his lips and hands have two different types of skin and the hand requires a stronger medication.

“It was more complex of a problem than I imagined,” Daniel said. “And it led us into this whole journey.”

The journey began with Daniel’s idea, but his father saw potential in it and stepped in to advise and mentor his son.

Daniel researched the market to see if a medicated balm existed that could be used on lips and hands. There were lip balms with medications in them, but no skin balms that contained medications, such as hydrocortisone, or any that were specifically aimed at dry, cracked skin on the fingers or other targeted areas.

To be sure, his father hired a patent attorney to research it.

Their attorney, Roberta Hastreiter based in Atlanta, gave them the green light to move forward. The patent for FixMySkin Healing Balm is pending.

The mission to create a body balm that was portable, easy to use and medically effective had begun.

Daniel was still young and could help only so much because he didn’t understand much of the medical jargon and discussions. Even so, his father had him sit in on meetings and on conference calls with attorneys and manufacturers.

“This was really Daniel’s baby,” Joel Schlessinger said.

Even the business professionals they worked with during the process took time to explain details to Daniel, making sure he felt a part of the deal.

But, “it wasn’t an easy process,” Joel Schlessinger said.

Joel Schlessinger brought his father, Bernie Schlessinger, who has a PhD in physical chemistry, on board to help develop formulas. They knew they wanted to add 1 percent hydrocortisone in the balm, but hydrocortisone tends to glob and be messy and has a bitter taste in lip balms. So figuring out how to make it glide on smoothly and taste good was a challenge.

After roughly four years of research and 54 different formulations, they finally found the right one.

During the last few years, Daniel, who was attending Millard North High School and had taken advanced science classes, was able to understand more and get back into his creative role.

He worked with chemists after school, before track practices or whenever he had free time. He used vacations and time off from school to travel to potential manufacturers. Most recently, he spent most of his summer familiarizing himself with all of the Food and Drug Administration’s requirements and worked with a liaison for the FDA to make sure the product met all of the guidelines.

“These professionals couldn’t believe they were dealing with a high school senior,” Joel Schlessinger said.

But Daniel won’t take all the credit. Turning his idea into a reality was a “family affair,” with his sister, Claire, his mother, Nancy, and his grandmother June throwing in ideas and giving advice.

The FixMySkin Healing Balm, which went on sale a few weeks ago, has been featured in national health and beauty magazines such as Allure.

The healing body balms come in three sizes: a small jar, a chapstick size and a glue-stick size, ranging from $8 to $12. They can be purchased at Joel Schlessinger’s Omaha store, Lovely Skin, near 144th Street and West Center Road, or online. Visit for a link to the site.

Already, 3,000 individual containers have been sold in store and online.

Joel Schlessinger distributed the product to roughly 200 dermatologists and skin specialists at a recent convention in Las Vegas and sold an additional 200. The hope is to eventually sell the product through other vendors and retailers.

“It’s a good feeling to see all the work come together and produce a product people like,” Daniel Schlessinger said.

For Joel Schlessinger, “It was a beautiful thing to see Daniel grow alongside the development of this product.”

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Buy your own FixMySkin Healing Balm here.

Electronic health record system comes to Dr. Joel Schlessinger’s dermatology clinic

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

Electronic health record system comes to Dr. Joel Schlessinger's dermatology clinic
According to an article published in Modern Healthcare, nearly four in ten office-based physicians now use an electronic health record system. This is up from about one in three a year ago.

Electronic health records are a digital format of health records that can be shared across different health care settings, helping to advance the accuracy of care. These records include statistics such as demographics, medical history, medications, allergies, immunizations, lab test results, vital signs, personal statistics and billing information.

Dr. Joel Schlessinger and the staff at Skin Specialists PC recently implemented an electronic health records system. This new system has given the clinic great opportunities but it has also posed some challenges.

“Pictures can be seen much better and we can take pictures of any removals so they can go into the patient’s chart immediately,” said Dr. Joel Schlessinger. “Also, I love the fact that our prescriptions are sent electronically to pharmacies – the patients love it, too!”

In the office, Dr. Joel Schlessinger and staff use iPads to take down information from patients. Although iPads aid in both speed and accuracy of clinic records, they do sometimes have issues such as disconnecting from the network.

“The biggest challenge with electronic records is to make them accessible for patients who may not be computer savvy,” said Dr. Joel Schlessinger. “Many of our patients don’t even own a computer, so we help them out with the process. Luckily, we have an amazing front desk staff that is very patient.”

Although there have been some challenges, Dr. Joel Schlessinger says that the clinic has been doing much better with it.

“It was brutal for the first two or three weeks, but it got much better. Now we are pretty much used to it and certainly liking most aspects of it,” he said.

Dr. Joel Schlessinger says to keep on the lookout for this new system in offices around the United States.

“This is something that is coming to all medical practices soon, so while we are part of the ‘first adopters,’ it will be in many offices by next year or later.”

Do you use electronic health record systems in your practice or have you seen it in practice? Tell us your thoughts on this new system in the comments.

Dr. Joel Schlessinger and staff have a run-in with celebrities in Los Angeles

Tuesday, October 16th, 2012

Dr. Joel Schlessinger's staff member, Ashley Bell, gets a photo taken with Kevin Connolly from EntourageDr. Joel Schlessinger and a few of his staff members attended a meeting last week in Los Angeles where they spotted several celebrities. The staff traveled to Los Angeles to learn about a new clinical research trial when they happened to run into several celebrities at the Beverly Hills Hilton.

Halle Berry and Tom Hanks were at the hotel for an event surrounding the release of their newest movie, Cloud Atlas.

Other celebrities that were at the hotel at the same time as Dr. Joel Schlessinger and staff were Ben Whinshaw, Susan Sarandon, Hugh Grant, Cedric the Entertainer and Kevin Connolly.

The Beverly Hills Hilton was also the hotel where famed singer and actress Whitney Houston passed away last February.  According to Dr. Schlessinger, the room she was found in, number 435, is no longer available for rent and has the room number taken down.

Dr. Joel Schlessinger and his family are large supporters of cinematic arts – learn more about their involvement in Omaha’s local independent film theater, Film Streams, here.

See more photos of Tom Hanks and Susan Sarandon at the Beverly Hills Hilton on Dr. Joel Schlessinger’s Flickr photostream.

Have you ever had a celebrity sighting? Tell us about it in the comments.

Dr. Joel Schlessinger and staff spend a Saturday night out!

Monday, January 23rd, 2012
Hookshot at Dinker's Grill in Omaha, Nebraska

Dr. Joel Schlessinger considers his staff to be family and truly enjoys supporting their hobbies outside of the workplace.

On Saturday, an event was put on at Dinker’s Grill in Omaha, a restaurant and bar owned by the family of the Director of Internet Sales, Cathy Hutfless. This event featured live music from the band HOOKSHOT, whose lead guitar player, Logan (left in photo), is Dr. Joel Schlessinger’s Director of Information Technology. Logan’s band will be traveling to Los Angeles this year to record their debut full-length album at a major recording studio.

Dr. Joel Schlessinger and many of his staff members and their families were in attendance to show their support for the restaurant and the band!

Dr. Joel Schlessinger: how his family contributes to LovelySkin’s success.

Wednesday, December 14th, 2011

Spotlight on: family of Dr. Joel Schlessinger contributing to the success of LovelySkin

LovelySkin started back in 1998 as an idea while I was traveling from a satellite dermatology office in Iowa to my home.  I wondered why, if Amazon could sell books online, I couldn’t possibly sell skincare products.  I discussed it with my wife, Nancy, and she seemed to think it was a good idea, so we started selling products on our website at the time.

The family was always a part of the site and an active contributor.  When it started, my kids were 4 and 7 years old, so they didn’t have that much to do until…

When we first started LovelySkin, we would give out little mirrors with each order. The mirrors cost 50 cents each so, individually, they weren’t that expensive. But, a box full of them literally cost hundreds of dollars.

One day, a box fell behind a cabinet and we needed to retrieve it. Space was tight behind that cabinet, so we lowered my son, Daniel – then six years old – by his heels to grab the box. My daughter, Claire, watched anxiously – because, if Daniel couldn’t retrieve the box, she was plan B!