When most people think of the circulatory system, high blood pressure, strokes, and heart attacks are the first things that come to mind. And those are indeed common issues! However, there’s much more to it — maintaining good circulation has benefits that go far beyond avoiding blood and heart-related illnesses. My practice is focused on skin health, and as we’ll see, there is a direct correlation between healthy circulation and healthy skin. But before we get into that, let’s take a moment to understand how the circulatory system functions, and how it is connected with all the different systems that keep our body functioning optimally.
At Marie Veronique, we talk so often about how to get and keep your skin healthy that we thought it would be helpful to take a step back and share some fundamental information about the skin. After all, if you want to understand how our products work, it’s helpful to understand how the skin works.
This overview of the structure and function of the skin may take you back to your high school biology days (no passing notes!), but we’ll try to keep it on the interesting side.
Having a problem with breakouts from masks, or other skin health issues? You’re not alone. Wearing a mask in public per the CDC’s guidelines is the right thing to do to help curb the spread of Covid-19, but it can wreak havoc on the skin—many of us have started experiencing dermatitis and acne in the areas covered by our masks.
The issue is not necessarily that wearing masks are creating new symptoms—though that could be true if you are experiencing extremely dry or raw skin—but more that the skincare routines you may have relied upon to suppress these symptoms are no longer working in the new environment masks have created on the skin.
At Marie Veronique, we focus on learning everything we can about the roles the various microbiomes in our body play in keeping us, and in particular our skin, healthy. We’ve become so familiar with microbes like Propionibacterium acnes and Staphylococcus epidermidis that they practically feel like our next door neighbors.
In actuality, these bacteria and millions of others like them are even closer to us than our real next door neighbors because they live in and on us—in our gut, our pores, our eyelashes, you name it. There isn’t a crevice, cranny, or fold on the inside or outside of our body that isn’t inhabited by tiny microorganisms ranging from fairly large mites to microscopic microbes.
I didn’t realize until after I’d written the previous blog post that it begged for a sequel; knowing which micronutrients are necessary to maintain healthy skin is of course important, but if micronutrients don’t travel to where they need to go, not to mention be in good shape and ready to work once they’ve arrived, then they’re useless (even worse than useless in some cases, when being in the wrong place can harm the skin). So, in a follow-up to the discussion in Part One concerning which micronutrients to use we focus this time on where micronutrients need to go, i.e., to which layers of the skin, their mode of transport, and what they do once they’ve reached their destination. The short term for all this eventful activity is Dermal Delivery. Dermal Delivery is the opportunity to deliver important micronutrients topically which means you must have good formulation AND good chemistry to start with, not just a good ingredient deck (Oh and let’s not forget about a deep understanding of skin function and the microbiome). Think about all of this when choosing your skincare and note the values of the company making your products. Companies need to know how to properly formulate to deliver ingredients effectively and have the heart and knowledge to always make that the priority.
We are increasingly aware of the link between health and beauty, and in no place is it more apparent than in the skin: When your skin glows with health it, and you, are automatically beautiful. This intuitive reaction to a lovely complexion is biologically hardwired; healthy skin is a profound attractant, one that we are instinctively drawn to. It’s no wonder then that we spend so much money and time on gadgets, gimmicks and expensive spa outings that promise to return our skin to a Shangri-la state of skin glow. However, these quick fixes quickly fade, and you’re back to where you started. Why? Because skin beauty—that glow I was talking about—is predicated on skin health, which is itself a product of overall health. If we are healthy our skin will show it, whereas if we are struggling with health problems our skin will show that. In fact, our skin can be an excellent barometer of our health in general. Happily, as we learn more about the connection between health and beauty, not only are our notions of beauty evolving, so is our ability to support and sustain it.
The second annual microbiome conference was held in San Francisco recently. The talks ranged from scientists investigating individual microbial species that call the skin microbiome their home, such as Staphylococcus aureus and Proprionibacterium acnes, to entrepreneurs with biome-based products designed to improve skin health.
We’re all familiar with hyped skin care ingredients that promise the moon—or at least subliminally suggest that we’ll look as if constantly bathed in moonlight with regular usage. Of course, some superhero ingredients, like retinol, stand the test of time. Others, like vitamin C derivatives SAP and MAP, have improved tremendously over their earlier versions thanks to excellent research and development. And others, like peptides, excited formulators at first, then disappointed once it became obvious that they weren’t living up to their original promise. Still others, like plant stem cells, were silly from the get-go—we are not plants, so it’s unclear how plant stem cells (undifferentiated cells that foster new cell growth) are supposed to improve mammalian skin. Plants and animals don’t even belong to the same Kingdom, so it’s a stretch.