After complimenting a colleague on her skin, she let us in on her secret: “I’m absolutely obsessed with a brand called Marie Veronique Organics.” Intrigued, we started googling. The first thing that caught our attention was the combination of antiaging and acne-fighting ingredients found on the MVO site. Years of fighting our blemish-prone skin with prescription treatments had left it overly dry and in need of some serious antiaging treatments, and the blemishes were still there. We were excited to give MVO’s products a try, not only because of the rave reviews by our co-worker but also because it was so different from anything we’d tried before. The vegan, natural, and organic ingredients found in MVO products were a world away from the harsh prescription creams we’d been using for the past few years. You won’t find toxins, petroleum-based products, or anything else potentially harmful in any MVO product, but that doesn’t mean these products aren’t powerful. “Intelligent Ingredients,” MVO’s tagline, essentially means that the right ingredients can do a world of good—and the wrong ones do the opposite.
Here’s what we tried:
Acne Relief Treatment Cleanser: The cleanser was gentle but deep cleansing at the same time. It contains alpha-hydroxy (lactic) acid and beta hydroxy acids. Our skin felt clean but not tight and dry. Acne-causing bacteria eliminates using usnea extract and rosemary oleoresin, and green tea calms inflammation. This cleanser washes away the day while keeping the top layer of the skin intact.
Treatment Oil: After cleansing, while our skin was still damp, we put a nickel-size drop of oil—yes, oil—on our face. The oil alleviates breakouts by balancing oil production and restoring skin’s natural protection barrier. Acne is caused by excess sebum, and these oils (including tea tree, lavender, seabuckhorn, and pumpkin seed) balance skin’s natural sebum production. The oil made our skin feel moisturized and dewy without being slick or oily.
Treatment Serum: The treatment serum, to be used only at night, uses pantothenic acid to make skin less susceptible to acne. It calms inflammation, restores moisture to skin, and kills bacteria.
Everyday Sheer Coverage SPF 20: This moisturizer really does it all—it’s calming, smells great, and doesn’t contain any harmful ingredients. It’s so safe you could even wear it to bed! We loved that it evened out our skin tone, calmed any redness, and absorbed easily into our skin.
The instructions that came with our kit warned that we should give the product a full 30 days to do its job, and an increase in breakouts could be expected the first week. That first week was rough: It was hard breaking our routine, and after years of drying out our skin, it was bizarre to be putting oil on it. So we definitely experienced an increase in breakouts during the first week or so. But by the middle of week two, we were official converts. Our skin cleared up, felt softer, and looked brighter and healthier. Even traveling, which can be a trigger for our blemish-prone skin, didn’t faze us. After stopping the products for a week and returning to our old routine, we went running back to our MVO products and tossed our harsh prescriptions out the door. We’re hooked.
Marie Veronique Organics Acne Relief Kit
Check out Glam’s interview with the woman behind the brand, Marie Veronique:
Glam: Your skin looks amazing from the photos on the site. What are your go-to MVO products?
Marie: Well, pretty much all of them. But what I cannot live without: Everyday Sheer Coverage, Anti-Aging Oil+, Sun Protective Oil, Anti-Wrinkle Serum and our topical Vitamin C Supplements. Oh, and thank you : )
Many women look for products such as sunscreens and moisturizers that are oil-free. What’s different about the oils in MVO products?
All skin types need oil, just as all bodies need fat. I think oil-free products are as bad for your skin as fat-free diets are horrible for your body. We’ve learned what can happen to a body that does not get its proper supply of essential fatty acids—what happens to your skin that lacks EFAs is equally disastrous; it becomes dry and dehydrated, and if it gets bad enough your skin loses its elasticity as well as its ability to protect against environmental assault. I think of our oils as the topical supplement equivalent to the daily EFA supplement most of us take. Our oils contain essential fatty acids in the proper omega-3-6-9 ratio that is required by your skin to maintain optimum health.
For some acne sufferers, the idea of using oil to fight breakouts can be scary. We’re taught that the best way to clear up skin is to dry it out! Why is drying out your skin even worse for acne?
It can be scary until you know the fundamentals of acne, which is why this is such a great question. Our acne relief kit is designed to treat the causes of acne, not just the symptoms. The root cause of acne is excess sebum production, and the residual effects (symptoms) are surface oiliness and bacterial overgrowth (drying out the surface of the skin is only an attempt to address the symptoms). So, to really treat acne you need to start at the dermal level, where sebum and dead skin cells plug follicles and attract bacteria like P. acnes, which causes inflammation. What eventually shows on the surface is a pimple. Our Treatment Serum works at deep layers of the skin to regulate sebum production and the Treatment Oil performs many other useful functions. Together they address acne from all angles.
People think drying the skin on the surface of the skin will take care of excess oil and dry up pimples, but again, the real trick to clearing acne is to attack it where it starts, that is, at the site of the plugged hair follicle. Oils have two major things going for them: 1) they penetrate more deeply, down to where the comedome is plugging the follicle and setting up the conditions for the pimple to grow. 2) Oils dissolve oils, so oils are much more efficient at breaking up oil plugs than any other comedolytic like, for example, salicylic acid. Some essential oils like tea tree oil not only penetrate, but they work at killing off P. acnes as efficiently as benzoyl peroxide. So, for real cleansing, oils work much better than AHA/BHA washes.
In addition to working below the surface, an intact lipid barrier on the skin’s surface helps to control microbial growth. Ironically, too much cleansing and exfoliation can compromise the protective function of the stratum corneum. If it becomes dry and irritated it attracts more bacteria which in turn exacerbates the breakout problem. The natural reaction is to want to wash even more, but it’s better to resist the urge. Blemishes mainly happen because of poor sebum regulation, not because of surface oil and dirt. I know it seems counter-intuitive to use oil for acne, especially given all the propaganda, but it honestly is the best way to go.
I noticed that the instructions on the acne relief kit recommended avoiding makeup. I love the Everyday Sheer Coverage lotion but need some extra coverage during the day. Can you recommend any makeup that won’t prevent your products from doing their job?
The problem is most make-ups contain wax, which clogs the pores, and as you have probably guessed by now, I am against clogged pores! I think mineral powders are very nice, and they shouldn’t clog pores. They also provide a nice cover-up. Bare Escentuals and Jane Iredale make really nice powders.
Do you have any plans to start an all-natural makeup line?
We have one product that many people use instead of foundation– Everyday Sheer Coverage. In fact, so many people use ESC as a foundation, even at night, that we developed a range of tints so that more people could take advantage of it as their makeup solution. It’s great for acne-prone folks because zinc oxide is anti-inflammatory, very healing and of course, ESC contains no waxes to clog your pores.