Beauty

Skin Protocols for Acne, Rosacea, and Dry Skin That Actually Work

Kristina Holey (left) and Marie Veronique (right).

Skin Protocols for Acne, Rosacea,
and Dry Skin That Actually Work

She’s one of the world’s most sought-after aestheticians, so it’s hard to believe that The New York Times called her “the beauty industry’s worst nightmare.” But it all starts to make sense when you see SF-based Kristina Holey in action, creating unique, totally individual protocols for each of her clients. “Everyone’s skin is different,” she says. Which means there’s no one product that fits all—nor are products even half the story. Food, supplements, and lifestyle changes all figure prominently in her prescriptions.

Holey’s knowledge, honed first as a chemist, then as an apprentice with a prominent aesthetician in Paris, is encyclopedic: We off-handedly mentioned a recent, uncharacteristic breakout on the phone, and she immediately asked if we’d started taking B12—blowing our minds, because we had. “Too much B12 can do that to you,” she notes. (She does Skype and phone consultations, as well as in person ones.) Her chemistry/beauty sides come together at last in a collaborative product launch with her friend, the also-legendary aesthetician Marie-Veronique in Oakland. All are clean—intolerant skin of any sort needs absolutely clean and non-toxic products, both women insist. “It all started when I had three clients in a row with cystic acne, rosacea, and dermatitis—and I wanted to make something for them, started researching, and came up with solutions that were 100 percent microbiome-friendly for the skin,” Holey says.

The three resulting skincare concoctions are nothing short of miraculous; here, she gives protocols for five particular skin issues, all based in the new products:

  • Skin Protocols Marie Veronique
    Barrier Restore Serumgoop, $110

    This brilliant everyday face oil reestablishes and strengthens barrier function in any skin type, leaving it resilient, hydrated, and radiant. It encourages optimum function of the skin’s essential microbiome, so it replenishes the skin’s natural moisturizing factor, prevents moisture loss in the first place, so skin is healthier overall.

  • Skin Protocols Marie Veronique
    Soothing B3 Serumgoop, $90

    Made with 10% niacinamide, bioflavonoids, and licorice root to support the skin’s natural microbiome, this treats all kinds of skin, from acne or rosacea-prone to sensitive and dry. It reduces inflammation (and the causes of inflammation) and replaces vital nutrients for naturally healthy, glowing skin.

  • Skin Protocols Marie Veronique
    Intensive Repair Serumgoop, $90

    Formulated with breakout-prone skin in mind, this supports the skin’s natural microbiome to help it naturally fight off breakouts. Hyaluronic acid plus vitamins B5 and B3 hydrate and balance skin’s oil production, decreasing inflammation. It’s also brilliant for normal or even dry skin as a weekly was to gently exfoliate, brightening skin and giving an amazing glow.

protocol #1 & 2: Acne

The primary focus here is inflammation (hormonal imbalances are often the source). Our overall approach to controlling breakouts (or indeed treating any skin disorder) rests on maintaining a healthy microbial balance in the skin and supporting healthy resident microbial populations to keep pathogens in check. So we use a bacteriostatic preservative system to maintain the potency of the many active and live ingredients found in our products. Thriving colonies of beneficial bacteria help minimize the risk of pathogenic overgrowth, which can lead to breakouts and other skin disorders.

To have a breakout/blemish you need the following to be present:

1. Clogged pores and excess sebum—normally, sebum travels to the surface of the skin in order to lubricate it, but too much can clog pores and result in an over colonization of certain bacteria.

2. Overabundance of the wrong bacteria. Resident bacteria must be present to maintain strong skin—thousands of different species exist within the skin’s microbiome for various functions like balancing the pH, producing anti-inflammatory oils, and minimizing unwanted, pathogenic bacteria like P. acnes. P. acnes feeds on sebum within the hair follicle; with excess sebum production, they may over-colonize, setting up conditions that lead to infection and eventually to inflammation.

3. Inflammation within skin tissues, which causes the entire ecosystem to shift in a detrimental way. It can shift pH and oil balance, creating an ideal environment for pathogenic bacteria and eventually breakouts. It can also physically make the actual pore more prone to congestion and blockages by forcing it into a bulbous shape (aka cysts) in place of a clear and open pore. To treat this kind of skin, we want to balance oil production and bacteria, and reduce inflammation—all internally and externally.

Adult Acne Protocol

Teen Acne Protocol

The primary focus here is controlling oil production and maintaining bacterial balance. The sudden increase in hormones can activate the sebaceous glands, signaling increases in sebum production. If there are subsequent bacterial imbalances or inflammation, external or internal, then the likelihood of acne increases. So we focus on balancing oil and sebum production, which is very much related to the fluctuations in hormonal levels associated with the onset of puberty.

  • Cleanser

    Skin Protocols May Lindstrom
    THE HONEY MUDgoop, $90

    Stick to something easy like an oil based cleanser or a milky cleanser—avoid anything stripping or purifying.

  • Toner

    Skin Protocols The Beauty Chef
    PROBIOTIC SKIN REFINERgoop, $75

    Occasionally using apple cider
    vinegar on a cotton pad can be really effective, or something like Marie Veronique’s Daily Mist with pre and probiotics.

  • Moisturizer

    Skin Protocols Herbivore Botanicals
    LAPIS FACIAL OILgoop, $72

    A simple oil can be a good idea; avoid occlusive creams that are heavy in waxes and pastes. If the acne is severe, then Marie
    Veronique Treatment Oil is a
    good idea.

  • Protection

    Skin Protocols Ursa Major
    FORCE FIELD DAILY DEFENSE
    LOTION WITH SPF 18goop, $54

    A zinc-based/physical block rather than chemical is great—avoid
    anything with coconut oil, as it can be comedogenic.

  • SERUM

    Skin Protocols Marie Veronique
    Soothing B3 Serumgoop, $90
    +
  • AM

    Skin Protocols Marie Veronique
    Barrier Restore Serumgoop, $110
  • PM

    Skin Protocols Marie Veronique
    Intensive Repair Serumgoop, $90

    Intensive Repair Serum (start at 2-3 x/ week); plus Marie Veronique Gentle Retinol Night Serum to help clear the pores and reduce
    inflammation. If acne is chronic, you may use
    Intensive Repair + Treatment Retinol every night, and use Treatment serum in the morning to regulate sebum production, decongest pores, and help control inflammation. Treatment Serum helps balance sebum levels with vitamin B5. Pantothenic acid and co-enzyme A help break down fats, including sebum. Vitamin B5 is also necessary to make hormones, so it’s easy to see where, especially during puberty when the need for vitamin B5 is very high, insufficient vitamin B5 can lead to clogged pores and more breakouts, especially in teenagers.

protocol #3: Dry/Aging

The primary focus is to increase hydration, emolliency, and collagen and elastin production. As we age, the skin experiences multiple biological changes: Circulation weakens, reducing nutrient delivery to the dermal layer, collagen production slows, elasticity breaks down, the dermal matrix weakens, and dehydrated tissues become inflamed, triggering autoimmune response. The lipid layer weakens as the body produces less oils (especially post-menopause), disturbing microbial and pH balance, leading to more inflammation and skin symptoms.

So the effort is to compensate for the body’s changes and provide crucial nutrients to fill in the blanks.

  • Cleanser

    Skin Protocols goop by Juice Beauty
    LUMINOUS MELTING CLEANSERgoop, $90

    Stick to something easy like an oil based cleanser or a milky
    cleanser- avoid anything stripping or purifying. An oily cleanser is a nice option to remove makeup/
    sunscreen without removing/
    stripping the lipid layer of the skin.

  • Toner

    Skin Protocols The Beauty Chef
    PROBIOTIC SKIN REFINERgoop, $75

    I like something pre and probiotics like the Marie Veronique Spray Day Mist.

  • MOISTURIZER

    Skin Protocols May Lindstrom
    THE BLUE COCOONgoop, $180

    A simple oil is great; avoid occlusive creams that are heavy in waxes and pastes.

  • Protection

    Skin Protocols Naturopathica
    DAILY UV DEFENSE CREAM SPF 50goop, $58

    A zinc-based/physical block rather than chemical is great—apply with face oil.

  • SERUM

    Skin Protocols Marie Veronique
    Soothing B3 Serumgoop, $90
    +
  • AM

    Skin Protocols Marie Veronique
    Barrier Restore Serumgoop, $110

    Soothing B3 Serum + Day Serum (vitamin C/E) + Barrier Restore Serum to improve barrier function by providing key micronutrients which compensate for the reduction in nutrient
    delivery from the aging process.

  • PM

    Skin Protocols Marie Veronique
    Intensive Repair Serumgoop, $90

    Can use the Intensive Repair Serum a few nights a week with Marie Veronique Gentle Retinol Night Serum to help boost penetration, + Barrier Restore serum, all to reduce inflammation, the major cause of aging.

protocol #4: Rosacea

Since barrier function and microbial balance are essential to reducing rosacea, the key is to consistently replace the key ingredients needed by healthy skin, promoting a strong ecosystem of healthy bacteria, thus improving immune function. All of these measures ultimately decrease inflammation and the symptoms of rosacea.

  • CLEANSER

    Skin Protocols Tata Harper
    NOURISHING OIL CLEANSERgoop, $68

    Stick to something easy like an oil based cleanser or
    a milky cleanser—avoid anything
    stripping or purifying.

  • TONER

    Skin Protocols The Beauty Chef
    PROBIOTIC SKIN REFINERgoop, $75

    I like something pre and probiotics like the Marie Veronique’s Daily Mist.

  • Moisturizer

    Skin Protocols May Lindstrom
    THE BLUE COCOONgoop, $180

    A simple oil is great; avoid occlusive creams that are heavy in waxes and pastes.

  • Protection

    Skin Protocols Naturopathica
    DAILY UV DEFENSE CREAM SPF 50goop, $58

    A zinc-based/physical block rather than chemical is great—apply with face oil.

  • SERUM

    Skin Protocols Marie Veronique
    Soothing B3 Serumgoop, $90
    +
  • AM

    Skin Protocols Marie Veronique
    Barrier Restore Serumgoop, $110

  • PM

    Skin Protocols Marie Veronique
    Intensive Repair Serumgoop, $90

protocol #5: Sensitive/Reactive

It’s critical to use products formulated with zero potentially sensitizing ingredients, in particular eliminating the two primary culprits for sensitive skin: fragrance and preservatives. And it’s important to restore proper barrier function—which gets to the root of sensitive skin problems—and rather than “suppress” inflammation, to work through it to heal the skin and move it away from a place of vulnerability.

  • CLEANSER

    Skin Protocols May Lindstrom
    THE HONEY MUDgoop, $180

    If very sensitive, you can cleanse with organic sunflower seed oil, yogurt, or honey.

  • MOISTURIZER

    Skin Protocols RMS Beauty
    SMALL DELUXE RAW
    COCONUT CREAMgoop, $18

    If the skin is very sensitive, then
    eliminating essential oils/fragrance and unwanted preservative systems is important. Try a simple carrier oil such as organic sunflower seed oil as your moisturizer, or a cream without any fragrance.

  • TONER

    Skin Protocols The Beauty Chef
    PROBIOTIC SKIN REFINERgoop, $75

    Occasionally using apple cider
    vinegar on a cotton pad can be really effective, or something like Marie Veronique’s Daily Mist with pre and probiotics.

  • PROTECTION

    Skin Protocols Naturopathica
    DAILY UV DEFENSE CREAM SPF 50goop, $58

    A zinc-based/physical block rather than chemical is great—apply with face oil.

  • SERUM

    Skin Protocols Marie Veronique
    Soothing B3 Serumgoop, $90
    +
  • AM

    Skin Protocols Marie Veronique
    Barrier Restore Serumgoop, $110
  • PM

    Skin Protocols Marie Veronique
    Soothing B3 Serumgoop, $90
    +
  • Skin Protocols Marie Veronique
    Barrier Restore Serumgoop, $110
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