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.
The role of collagen and its importance in maintaining beautiful skin is a topic that’s been dominating beauty news recently, no doubt because of the zillions of new treatments purporting to enhance collagen production and give your skin a smooth, youthful glow. Here, we examine the trendiest: collagen peptides applied topically, collagen peptides ingested and “collagen-induction” via microneedling.
Over the years we’ve had countless women shopping for the men in their lives (and even the occasional man) inquire about which of our regimens are best suited to male skin. It seems that men’s skin care options remain limited to chemical-laden products and higher-end products with questionable efficaciousness. Somewhere between a lack of products designed to fit into a man’s lifestyle and an absence of education around men’s skin health, most men either don’t know—or think they’re not supposed to care—about their skin.
Between Kristina Holey’s practice and my experience with customers, we’ve seen a major surge of inflammatory conditions like acne, rosacea and dermatitis over the last few years. In fact, it’s reached epidemic proportions in Kristina’s female clients in their 30s and 40s.
Welcome to the new era of acne, where more and more people experience breakouts for the first time as adults—sometimes even into their fifties and sixties. How lucky that we get to worry about aging and acne simultaneously! According to the Journal of American Academy of Dermatology, 54% of women over the age of 25 have some facial acne. And research at The International Dermal Institute indicates that the type of acne that arises in adulthood is different than that which plagues teenage years—adult acne is more likely to be inflammatory with lesions primarily located around the mouth, chin and jaw line, and with fewer comedones (whiteheads).
Acne isn’t only for teens anymore—in fact, it affects more and more adults (primarily women) at an alarming rate. 54% of women over 25 experience some form of acne, which means that around half of us are attempting to tackle issues related to acne and aging simultaneously.
Suppose some of the approximately one trillion microorganisms that live on your skin are finding their living conditions objectionable, even intolerable. How would they let you, their god-like host, know about it? If you were a commensal microbe living on the skin, Staphylococcus epidermidis, for example, and you just wanted to go about your business keeping your little part of the world relatively pathogen-free, you might consider sending a message in the form of an acne breakout, a rosacea flush or an undesirable rash.