This Scientist Made a Skin-Care Brand That Mimics the Effects of Exercise on Your Skin—Here’s How

Photo: Getty Images/Igor Emmerich
It's no secret that exercise is important. We know that it's great for our hearts, lungs, bodies, and mental wellbeing, and while the impact of exercise on our skin is lesser known, there are a few ways it can have a big impact. When your heart rate accelerates, the increased blood flow and circulation helps to nourish and revitalize skin cells. Additionally, exercise means sweat can help speed up the turnover dead skin cells. And lastly, since exercise is also a great stress reliever, the resulting lower cortisol levels can also help decrease inflammation throughout the body. This is where the new brand HERB+FLORA skin care found their niche.

HERB+FLORA, founded by Marie-Pierre Stark Flora and Guillaume Herbette in 2019, takes an innovative, holistic approach to youth energy recovery with both topical and ingestible products. By combining the founder's passions for sports, science, and clean beauty, the brand created the Exercise Mimic Youth Complex, which marries exercise science and skin care. Curious about the science behind the products? The brand's scientific partner Mark Tarnopolsky, MD, PhD, who brings 30 years of groundbreaking research in the field of autophagy and mitochondria health is here to answer how the brand works.

Experts In This Article
  • Mark Tarnopolsky, MD, PhD, Dr. Mark Tarnopolsky, MD, PhD, is a professor of Pediatrics and Medicine, CEO of Exerkine Corp, and scientific partner at Herb+Flora.

What are the three main impacts of exercising on the skin?

According to Dr. Tarnopolsky, exercise is known to be associated with a thicker dermis and thinner stratum corneum in older adults. This means that exercise can help reverse the increased oxidative stress, which can result in signs of aging in the skin and it can increase the body's ability to jumpstart autophagy which cleans out old, dead skin cells in place to make room for revitalized new ones. Additionally, an increase of sweat, as caused by exercise can help to clear the skin's pores and deliver minerals to the complexion. Finally the commonly used phrase, “post-workout glow,” refers to the vasodilatation that occurs with exercise and lasts from a few minutes to an hour. According to Stark Flora, the brand's "topical serum was studied in a consumer test and 97 percent of people perceived that after just eight days of use, the product gave their skin this 'after-exercise glow' and made it look healthier, more radiant, and luminous." This is due to the antioxidants and alpha- and poly-hydroxy acids within the formula that slough away dead skin and authophagy-activating asparagus extract.

What aspects of exercise is the brand trying to mimic in these new offerings?

There are three main biological factors that are altered that contribute to aging—mitochondrial dysfunction, lower antioxidant capacity, and lower autophagy capacity (the removal of damaged cellular material that accumulates during the aging process). Exercise can activate all of these processes through activation of a signaling molecule called AMPK. Thus, to enhance or mimic these benefits, the brand uses topicals that contain ingredients, which have been shown to have antioxidant, mitochondrial enhancement, and autophagy-activating properties and ingestibles that have a combination of nutraceuticals.

At what point in one's regimen should one incorporate the Exercise Complex?

According to Stark Flora, the Exercise Complex products should help everyone from the most sedentary person all the way up to the elite athlete to improve skin health. "The Skin fit Program is a full holistic regimen from the outside in and the inside out to see a synergistic effect. The serum and the eye gel should be applied morning and evening for best results, the ingestible should be taken in the morning with breakfast and our clinically-proven anti-aging pillowcase functions as a night treatment." In other words, you don't have to pound the pavement to reap the benefits of exercise for your skin.

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