Aging Well: Guidance from 20 Years of Studying Skin Health

by Marie Veronique Skin Experts

image of glassware from a lab in beautiful light

Our founder, Marie-Veronique Nadeau, started Marie Veronique in 2002 for the same reason many entrepreneurs get started: she was frustrated! An inventor at heart who suffered from acne as a teenager and rosacea as an adult, Marie began creating her own products because she could find nothing on the market that was safe and effective to address symptomatic skin. 

Cut to 20 years later, and Marie Veronique is widely regarded as a pioneer in clean beauty. We’ve come this far because we’re truly dedicated to the health of the skin. Instead of expensive marketing campaigns, we invest in formulation to ensure that our products are the safest and most effective available. We also invest in education and customer support, making a point of helping our clients understand and care for their skin from a holistic perspective.

With all of that said…we have learned quite a few things in our 20 years in business! While we can’t stop the clock when it comes to getting older, what we can do is tell you everything we know about delaying the signs of aging in the skin. To say that the beauty industry is full of empty promises might be the understatement of the century, but you can trust us. Our ongoing work with clients along with our dedication to keeping up with the evolving science of skin health has shown us what really works over time, so that is where we keep our focus. 

In honor of our 20th anniversary, we took the opportunity to reflect and give you all our best knowledge and advice for getting and keeping your skin as healthy and beautiful as it can be at every stage of life. It also happens to be the advice we follow ourselves.

Topical Skincare Products – What They Can and Can't Do

Our award-winning line of topicals are designed to support the skin with essential micronutrients that improve the skin’s ability to function optimally on its own, helping it to look and feel its best.

We use topicals strategically to compensate for uncontrollable factors in our life — the aging process, stress levels, sleep, hormones, environment, etc. — that can inhibit the delivery of these micronutrients to the skin (and thus the signaling of various actions at the cellular level that keep our skin tissue healthy). 

Note that topicals act mostly on the top layer of the skin, which is made up mostly of dead skin cells, so their ability to make huge changes is limited. That said, formulation in skincare has come a long way! Delivery mechanisms and stabilization techniques have changed for the better, and thoughtfully made topicals like ours can penetrate deeper to deliver nutrients to the layers of the skin that need them. 

The best strategy for creating a skincare regimen to address aging? Start with the basics. The products below are absolute essentials and will give you the most mileage. Though there is always room for products that are perhaps more ritualistic or that provide more instant gratification, you can think of these as your glass of water in the morning, teeth brushing before bed, or daily multivitamin — non-negotiable.

  1. Wear sunscreen everyday99% of visible signs of aging are from UV damage. Start early! Wear it indoors, and choose well-made zinc oxide-only sunscreen like the ones we make. 
  2. Use retinol nightly. We recommend starting to use retinol in your early thirties, when your cell turnover rate begins to slow, as it improves cell signaling as your cells age. Retinol optimizes skin function and helps skin look younger, bottom line.
  3. Apply Vitamin C topically daily. Vitamin C helps protect your skin from photoaging. No Vitamin C = no collagen. 
  4. Use oils (lipids) daily. Replenish your skin’s lipid layer with Omegas 3, 6, and 9. Providing high quality lipids to the skin helps support a healthy terrain for your skin’s microbiome to thrive. Lipid production in the skin decreases with age, which can make the skin’s microbiome less robust and diverse, and therefore more vulnerable to inflammatory symptoms. 
  5. Use niacinamide (Vitamin B3) daily. Niacinamide is the primary precursor of NAD+, a coenzyme that is central to metabolism. NAD+ has multiple benefits, including: maintains mitochondrial efficiency and regulates cellular metabolism, provides UV protection, inhibits hyperpigmentation, and more. 

An Optimal Skincare Regimen for Aging Skin 

The body loves a routine! Repeated usage will result in increased benefits. Like any product, the quality of topicals varies widely. We highly recommend you buy from us!

Work with Us Directly – We Give Great Advice

There are countless skin treatments out there claiming a multitude of benefits — everything from peels to lasers to LED treatments and who knows what else. As with any product or service, some treatments are helpful, and some aren't. The good news is that Marie Veronique is here to help you with education and esthetician support — it's not your job to be an expert. 

If you would like help, our team of advanced estheticians will create a complimentary topical regimen for you. Our main goal at Marie Veronique is to help you achieve healthy skin, and our products are formulated to provide you with the fastest path towards it. As we often say, our customers get the best results when they work directly with us.

That said, many people suffer from more complex skin conditions, and topicals can only do so much when it comes to real healing. For this reason, we created an advanced consultation option for those of you who need support identifying the root cause of your symptoms and the fastest route to achieve optimal skin function. If you are interested in a holistic, custom approach to addressing symptomatic skin and supporting healthy skin function, you can read more about our Virtual Skin Health Consultation offering here

Skincare Treatments - How to Identify What’s Worth Doing

For people interested in treatments, there are some that are helpful but you have to be a careful shopper and do your due diligence. There is no one size fits all. We suggest asking these three questions prior to jumping into anything.

  1. What is the state of my internal body? Am I healthy? Have I been sick recently? How is my diet? (Dermatologists prescribe antivirals and antibiotics before getting a laser treatment because they can trigger preexisting conditions such as cold sores or bacterial imbalances.)
  2. How old am I? (If I am older my skin will need more time to recover. If I am younger, my skin will recover faster.)
  3. What is the current state of my skin? Is it balanced/healthy or symptomatic? (If your skin is inflamed or compromised then it likely is not a good time for intensive treatments.) 

Once you answer those questions you can start to arrive at maybe the most important variable: the cadence of treatment. The number and frequency of treatments are incredibly important; you have to think about what the treatment is doing and the potential implications. 

If a treatment is intended to stimulate the skin, what happens if you over stimulate? Are there downtimes you should observe? How does one best recover? 

For example, someone who is 20 has a rapid skin recovery rate. Induce trauma from an aggressive skin treatment to the skin, and it can recover quickly. However, a 65-year-old’s skin recovery rate is slower. Stimulate/induce trauma and it will take longer to produce new skin cells/collagen. 

So you have to take that into consideration when planning out how often to, say, get a peel or a laser treatment. Additionally, that 20-year-old is producing collagen and new skin cells at a nice pace – if they start to stimulate their skin with treatments, their young fibroblasts might start to decline much faster (at a younger age) than if they were to let the body move at its own pace. 

These are the three treatments we generally support for our clients.

  1. Red light treatments/LED. Consider cadence and wavelengths/light spectrum; think about treatments in relation to your age (in regard to how fast the skin can recover), history, condition of skin. We do not want to accelerate the aging process by stimulating faster than the body can handle. There are some that are backed by research and the companies are transparent about the studies, some that are expensive and some that are cheap. Typically with these types of things you get what you pay for. One can go to the hardware store and buy a red light/LED but that doesn't mean it will do anything for your skin; that's where the number of bulbs and wavelengths come in. Research is still up on the best wavelengths and light spectrum for the skin, but we feel that red light and infrared light is the safest way to go. Also, we suggest a moderate cadence of boosting a few times a year instead of continuous exposure. 
  2. Acupuncture. We love acupuncture and value the theory and power of its treatments. Facial acupuncture is one method we definitely back, and have seen the improvements from firsthand. It is one of the safest and more painless invasive treatments out there. It stimulates collagen and elastin production, thus reducing wrinkles and fine lines, firming the skin, and improving complexion. Additionally, facial acupuncture can stimulate your entire system, relaxing the nervous system and leaving you feeling restored. Ultimately, the result is healthier skin and an improvement in your overall sense of well-being. Facial acupuncture can help diminish fine lines and reduce deep wrinkles, lessen dark circles and bags under the eye, tighten sagging jowls, and brighten eyes and complexion. Tip: Don't expect to be wow-ed after one treatment. Pick a practitioner you can see regularly. The more often you go, the better they will learn your constitution and be able to fine tune treatments. The payoff is worth the investment. Facial sessions are usually suggested weekly for about 10 weeks, once or twice a year. 
  3. Microneedling. Microneedling also varies in types of machines and treatments. Some are at- home shallow devices and some machines are able to penetrate quite deeply. As you are intentionally puncturing the skin barrier and inducing inflammation, this is also one to be strategic with. The improvements claimed are fading of scars, hyperpigmentation, and improvement in the depth of wrinkles. From the research we have done, we suggest choosing a device that has to be operated by a medical doctor. These can penetrate the deepest and provide the best results. As the treatments intentionally open up channels for enhanced penetration of products, choose intelligently which products to be applied post treatment. Also, prep the skin prior/post. Don’t go into a microneedling appointment exhausted, inflamed, run down, and with symptomatic skin. Instead, get the skin and body to a stable, healthy place (this includes sleep, stress, diet, etc) and then you can expect your body to recover swiftly with fewer side effects. Typical microneedling cadence is a few consecutive over a span of a few months then pause. Again, take note of your age, state of your skin, etc. before you land on how often to do this or if it is right for you. 

Note on lasers: There are many, many laser treatments currently available. Some are full face, some are isolated areas, some are shallow, some are deep, some make the skin glow for a few days, and some actually eliminate dark spots and make wrinkles less pronounced. Just like microneedling, take lasers seriously and ask those three questions prior to receiving treatment. Additionally, ask yourself what your lifestyle is like. Do you work indoors or outdoors? Do you like to go in the sun unprotected, swim in the ocean for long periods of time, or drive without a large hat? This may sound silly, but after a C02 laser treatment, just one day of unprotected exposure could result in pretty significant hyperpigmentation and damage to the skin. 

Supporting Your Skin Internally 

Beyond strategic topicals and treatments, there are many things we can do to help the body delay the impact of cellular senescence (the most important aspect of aging). Note: none of these are quick hacks, but are instead suggestions to implement for the rest of your life.
 

Diet 

Daily food choices and meal habits are important to skin health, however, eating preferences and nutritional needs vary for everyone. Focus on eating real, whole foods first and foremost (skip packaged and processed foods), nutrition over restrictions (certain omissions may be necessary and effective for a short period), incorporate a variety of foods, meals, and flavors, eat seasonally (for best nutrients and ease in digestion, intuitive changes in body) and eat a diet supportive of healthy microbiota.

This doesn’t have to be fancy and often can be cheaper than eating out. The result is less refined and potentially oxidized cooking oils, less sodium, sugar, and increased confidence of quality of nutrition.

Supplements

We also recommend adding dietary supplements to your regimen to delay bodily aging. Supporting mitochondrial function speaks to a variant of the free radical theory of aging called the mitochondrial theory of aging. The theory, positing the accumulation of damage to mitochondria and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) as the driver of aging in humans and animals, is supported by the observation that mitochondrial function declines and mtDNA mutation increases in tissue cells in an age-dependent manner. Taking supplements that limit mtDNA free radical image is an important way we can make meaningful efforts towards staying ahead in the battle against premature aging.

 Here are our suggestions for people 40 and up:

  1. NAD+: A co-enzyme found in every cell of your body that is essential to cell metabolism. It naturally declines as we age.
  2. Mitochondria optimizer PQQ: Pyrroloquinoline quinone (PQQ) is a novel vitamin-like compound that acts as a necessary activating factor in the functioning of mitochondria.
  3. Senolytics: Senescent cell scavengers like quercetin and fisitin remove the excess senescent cells that accumulate as we age and cause inflammation.
  4. Sirtuin activators: Activators like pterostilbene activate sirtuins, referred to by scientists as the “guardians of the genome” for their role in protection of genome stability during stress response.

Be sure to use high quality supplements – you can ask your MD for their recommendations, but brands we trust include ThorneDesigns for Health, and Metagenics. Always check with your doctor before adding new supplements, especially if you’re currently taking supplements or medications prescribed by your doctor. 


Hydration

Continues to be very important for skin health. Often our first reminder to all skin clients with symptomatic skin is to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. This includes: starting the day with water (16oz first thing in the morning), eating healthy fats as hydration, countering more dehydrating practices with more water (caffeine, exercise, warm weather, stress, alcohol consumption, etc). 


Digestion
 

Another part of diet to consider is the health of your gut. You can eat the best diet possible but if you aren't digesting properly then you aren't receiving maximum benefits. Additionally, we synthesize key nutrients in the gut that the skin requires (as well as other functions of the body), so if your microbiota is lacking or there's increased inflammation, you may be deficient.

Start by thinking about your digestive history (food trends, eating habits, antibiotic use, etc.) and identify areas that might need improvement. Initial goals are: 1) daily bowel movements, 2) no bloating/discomfort after meals, 3) appropriate levels of hunger. If you have trouble in any or all of those categories then consider seeking support from a specialist who can help identify root causes and help you troubleshoot. 


Oral Health

Oral health is a big consideration in our approach to skin care, especially with symptomatic skin, and considering systemic health. It’s also become more of a focus in the past few years due to mask wearing during the pandemic. Properly cleansing the mucous membranes of the nose and mouth is beneficial for overall microbial balance and support of the skin (in addition to microbial balance in the oral cavities and healthy respiratory function). 

  1. Mouth rinse: Gargle 1 tsp. sea salt + warm water daily (both am & pm, after meals, or before/after wearing a mask for an extended period of time). Salt helps maintain appropriate pH balance in the mouth to reduce inflammation and promote bacterial balance.
  2. Toothpaste recommendation: Important to use a toothpaste that is supportive of healthy mucous membranes, microbiome, and isn’t full of unwanted ingredients as well. Just the same as we do not want to sterilize the skin we do not want to kill all bacteria in the mouth. Brands we recommend: RevitinRisewellJāsön.

Sleep 

Sleep is a natural reset for your whole body which has a positive impact on all systems, specifically the nervous system, immune function, digestion, hormonal balance (thyroid hormones, cortisol and melatonin levels), healthy detoxification & liver function - all which impact skin. Establishing healthy sleep patterns is one of the first steps to supporting both internal balance and skin function. If your skin is symptomatic and your sleep is problematic, supporting healthy sleep habits should be a priority. Our top recommendations for healthy sleep habits: 

  1. Get in bed 30-60 minutes earlier than you normally do.
  2. Limit daily caffeine intake.
  3. Spend time outdoors every day.


Stress 

Stress is not always avoidable, but managing it is key. Learning how to identify which lifestyle choices are contributing to sensations of stress (e.g. unbalanced blood sugar levels, too much caffeine, lack of sleep, etc.) and which ones reduce it is an important first step for all of us. 

Additionally, how someone feels about their skin is increasingly important to how we approach skin health. Skin is very emotional, and is not only a reflection of how one feels (both literally and figuratively), but of one's overall systemic health. Equally, there is a lot of societal pressure on how we all “should” look or feel. Finding healthy ways to address your individual emotional needs around your skin (worry, fear, frustration, confusion, etc) is key.


Movement and Exercise 

Movement and stimulation (circulation, blood flow, sweating) is very important for skin health, digestion, immune function, and nervous system support. We encourage mindful movement for all our clients, and if you need extra motivation, current research suggests that it really can impact healthy aging skin, on a vascular and muscular level, as well as a healthy microbial system. 


Environment

External and environmental factors are important to consider in our modern world, especially because our skin is both our barrier system and receives many elements from the outside world. 

Our best advice: skip plastics whenever possible, get into fresh air and green/natural spaces daily, be diligent and mindful of all topical products you use every single day.

Summing Up

Taking care of yourself is a lifelong endeavor. The most important thing is to give your body – and your skin – the support it needs to be at its healthiest. 

After all, healthy skin is a wonderful thing to gaze upon. At a certain age it can – and should! – bear signs of a life well-lived in order to be truly beautiful. Call a wrinkle a laughline and it changes everything. 

 

Any topic discussed in this article is not intended as medical advice. If you have a medical concern, please check with your doctor.


Have a question or need more information about how this applies to your specific skin concerns? Click here to get personalized advice from our estheticians, or browse our Product Recommendations.