Facts, opinions, and the real story behind Mary Kay Cosmetics.

World-Renowned Doctor Promoting Mary Kay Products?

Written by Lazy Gardens

What’s the story behind a doctor who is promoting Mary Kay products? What training does he really have, and what is his inside connection to Mary Kay?

In the things that make you go hmmmmmmmm department, this had me hmmm -ing like a bumblebee.

Email from an over-excited upline to her minions:

Great info to pass on to customers!

Consultants, Directors, and Preferred Customers,

I have just heard great information from NSD Bett Vernon via voicecom that she received @ Houston Leadership Conference. She & her Area Directors attended Area day with NSD Cindy Williams. Cindy invited a doctor from the Houston area to speak about our products. He is a Harvard graduate, former scientist with NASA and has artificially reproduced the dermis (layer of skin). He is now a world renown plastic surgeon and his wife is a Mary Kay Sales Director. When he first discovered Mary Kay, he told his wife “she had better join or find someone as wonderful as she so he could refer his patients to her”.

After someone told me the doctor in question is named Mark Barlow, it took very little time to find out a lot about him.

E-mail statements versus verified information:

He is a Harvard graduate: His website says: “he was at M.I.T. and Harvard as a D.Sc. (Doctor of Science) candidate” The important word is candidate. Being in DIQ does not make you a Director, being a Doctoral candidate does not give you a degree. The e-mail’s author gave him a degree that he does not claim.

Former scientist with NASA: Here’s what he said in his letter: “I received my B.S. with Honors in Aerospace Engineering with a focus on structural dynamics from the University of Texas at Austin. I received my Masters in Science from M.I.T. in Aeronautics and Astronautics, again with a concentration on structural dynamics.” That means he studied Aerospace Engineering, Aeronautics, and Astronautics, which can be done without ever setting foot in a NASA facility. Structural dynamics studies what happens when structures have to bear rapidly changing loads.

The e-mail’s author gave him an employer that Barlow never mentioned. But we all know – at least over-enthusiastic uplines know – that if it is Astroanything it’s gotta be NASA. Doesn’t it?

Has artificially reproduced the dermis (layer of skin): As Barlow says: “Professor Yannas had already worked with a team of scientists from M.I.T and a group of surgeons from the Massachusetts General Hospital and Shriner’s Burns Institute to create an artificial dermis.” …” I manufactured an artificial biopolymer dermis, improved a method for culturing epithelial cells, brought the two together and continued to isolate and study cytokines to one day create perfectly regenerated skin” … “The focus of my Sc.D. research was to improve these technologies (if possible) and, more importantly, to bring them together.” This is commendable and necessary work, but Barlow appears to have been a research assistant, not an inventor. Professor Yannas has been working on artificial skin and regenerating human skin since the 1970s, when Barlow was in primary school.

He is now a world renown plastic surgeon: If he were world renowned, he’d have lots of Google and PubMed citations because he would be doing leading-edge awesome work. Barlow has his name on two 1998 research papers in PubMed as one of the authors. Traditionally the “primary researcher” comes first, followed by various others who were involved in the project. Barlow’s name is in the middle of the listing. That usually indicates the person was doing the lab work. He also is named as one of the team of inventors on two patents that arose from the research he was helping with. These were patents on improvements to artificial dermis.

According to the state of Texas, Mark Barlow is not certified by the ABMS (the American Board of Medical Specialties). There are other “boards,” some of which require as little as a 1-year course in general cosmetic surgery.

UPDATE 5/2/08: The ABMS  (the American Board of Medical Specialties) website now reports him as certified in Plastic Surgery, which it didn’t when I was writing this post. According to the state of Texas, Mark Barlow is still not certified by the ABMS. Dr. Barlow or his office staff needs to update his data with the State of Texas.”

His wife is a Mary Kay Sales Director: This is the only part of the whole letter that is accurate. Eileen Barlow is his wife. In his “Why I recommend Mary Kay” document, Dr. Mark Barlow does not mention that his wife stands to gain (sales and maybe recruits) from his recommendations. More on that later.

When he first discovered Mary Kay, he told his wife “she had better join or find someone as wonderful as she so he could refer his patients to her”: I have heard of the “husband unawareness plan,” and I know that an internship and residency keeps you busy, but if this man had no idea his wife was an IBC or a director before he “discovered” Mary Kay products, he is the poster child for cluelessness.

So what happened between his letter that is posted on the NSD’s site, and the email? It may have been because the woman who wrote the email had problems reading and understanding the documents. It may also have been that he wasn’t good enough for Mary Kay the way he was. I think she edited his “I-story” for him the way she would edit her own.

Mary Kay sales can’t be a “good opportunity”, it has to be the best opportunity ever for women. You can’t make a living wage, it has to be “executive income.” You can’t say you had an average day, it has to be great. You can’t have an ordinary I-story, you have to have one that brings tears and cheers. Everything and everyone has to be pumped up, pimped out and perfectly pinked before it’s good enough for Mary Kay.

Being a recently qualified plastic surgeon who is active in the local medical community isn’t good enough for Mary Kay. Doing burn reconstruction surgery isn’t good enough for Mary Kay. He had to be “world renown”, he had to be a rocket scientist, he had to be pimped out and made over to be good enough for Mary Kay.