Meet Carl R. Thornfeldt, MD
Founder of CT Derm in Fruitland, Idaho
Dr. Carl R. Thornfeldt is a practicing dermatologist with 40 years of skin research experience, 15 U.S. patents granted, and more than 50 scientific journal publications in the area of treatment of skin diseases and conditions, including chapters in 10 dermatological textbooks. He also authored the book Ideal Skin Health, published in 2010. Along with these accomplishments, he has spent nearly three decades focusing on researching the skin barrier, cutaneous inflammatory conditions, and delivering ingredients and herbal medicines.
Dr. Thornfeldt's drive toward expertise in the dermatology field stems from his struggle with skin disease as a child and teen, then the complications in adulthood. He understands the personal struggle our patients go through and finds intense satisfaction in helping all of his clients, regardless of what type of skin, hair, or nail condition ails them.
Dr. Thornfeldt received his M.D. from the Oregon Health Sciences University. Soon after, he spent three years in family practice for the U.S. Navy, then completed his dermatology residency at University Hospital, San Diego, California. While running his private practice and conducting research, Dr. Thornfeldt co-founded and held the position of CEO at several privately and publicly held biopharmaceutical technology companies.
Dr. Thornfeldt has presented at numerous international, national, and regional scientific meetings and given many webinars on issues involving skin diseases and treatments and skincare.
In 2003 and 2005, Dr. Thornfeldt was selected as one of the top 55 doctors in the United States by The Sinatra Health Report. He was the only dermatologist on the list. London, England’s Financial Times call him “The King of Barrier Repair.”
In 2016, he was named most Innovative Dermatologist in the nation and in 2019 received the Lifetime Achievement Award for contributions to cosmetic dermatology. In 2020, Dr. Thornfeldt was on the cover of The Dermatologist and Medesthetics magazines.
He enjoys swimming, hiking, biking, and traveling, especially with his wife of 46 years. He has two successful adult children and two fantastic grandchildren.
In Dr. Carl Thonfeldt’s Own Words
My passion for medicine, the skin, and rural America began as a child. I grew up in Eastern Oregon on a sheep farm, where I watched my father dedicate his life to improving the health and quality of life for the animals by providing for the whole animal. We designed specialized feeding programs and the best medicine and treatments in order to breed championship sheep.
I also personally experienced the challenges of highly sensitive skin. For most of my childhood, I struggled with allergies, eczema, and sensitive skin. I know that for any individual with skin problems, especially a child, the problems don’t affect just the individual; they affect the entire family. So from an early age, I was fascinated by the process of putting human and animal bodies in their best shape possible. It wasn't just about treating, but preventing.
I received my M.D. from the Oregon Health Sciences University, now one of the top two clinical medical schools in the nation. I knew I wanted to spend time in family practice before specializing, because I wanted to be able to focus on the whole person, not just the case. Specialists often become so focused on their one area of specialty that they neglect to view the person as a whole. I later learned that 85 percent of all skin diseases are a manifestation of internal conditions. I spent three years in family practice for the U.S. Navy, then completed my dermatology residency at University Hospital in San Diego, California, now one of the top three dermatology training programs in the nation.
My passion has always been for rural America. When I was in training, I would see a man-power distribution map, which showed there were no dermatologists in the Southeastern portion of Oregon and Southwest Idaho. I believe that people living in rural areas deserve to have access to specialty medicine. Oregon had invested in my education, and I felt they deserved a return on their investment. I have dedicated my career to serving those 110,000 people who live in a 30,000-square-mile area of Southeastern Oregon and Southwestern Idaho.
Within the first year of practicing dermatology, I noticed that there was a trend of people who were not getting well—and not because I wasn't smart enough. An increasing number of patients were unhappy with modest treatment results that did not last, along with the side effects they experienced while using many types of prescription medication. There were a couple of diseases that continued to stump me—conditions known as "winter itch" and "sun allergy" that would come and go no matter what the treatment. I knew there was something deeper to be investigated and resolved. I was determined to figure out a solution that was both safe and effective, and so I put together a research team.
At the time our research began in 1989, the outer layers of the skin were thought to be nothing more than a superficial layer of cellophane. The question our team hoped to answer was, "If we could optimize the structure and function of the skin, could we prevent skin diseases and skin cancer, and possibly even skin aging?" We first had to study the skin barrier, though. After nearly a decade of basic research, we discovered that more than a dozen major skin problems stem from chronic inflammation and disruption of the skin barrier.
In 2002, my team developed a product line, Epionce, that not only helps to calm the damaging effects of chronic inflammation in the skin, but also helps our body naturally repair and fortify the strength of the protective skin barrier. My research and the Epionce products we created help me to be a better doctor for my patients by helping improve their quality of life with higher clearance rates and more prolonged remissions. I started the first medical spa in the Western Treasure Valley: The MedSpa by CT Derm. The purpose was to introduce cosmetic treatments developed by using our medical devices combined in unique protocols to reverse and prevent cosmetically disfiguring conditions. Ultimately, they work together to improve the health of the skin.
My hope is for the people in Eastern Oregon and Western Idaho to know the resource that is available to them concerning their skin and to take advantage of my years of study and expertise. My focus is entirely about the health of the skin, so it can function at its best. No one has to live with the burden of untreated skin disease or ailments, because at the end of the day, everything we do at CT Derm is about improving the quality of skin.