Dr Michele Squire
Dr. Michele Squire is a Queensland-based PhD scientist, science educator, and former Registered Nurse who has been researching skincare science for more than 17 years. Identifying the important link between science and results-driven beauty, Michele founded Qr8 (pronounced ‘curate’) in 2019, to provide simple, skincare advice based on scientific evidence, rather than marketing.
Keeping up to date with all peer-reviewed research from medical journals, products and available technologies, and through constant interaction with industry experts; aesthetic physicians, dermatologists, pharmacists, beauty providers and skincare suppliers, Michele is a go-to source for innovative and results-driven skincare. As a Vida Glow Skin Professional Panellist, Michele is committed to driving the positive conversation around the beauty of ageing and the significance of research and education.
“Great skin isn’t just about what you put ON it – it’s an inside job.
As a PhD Scientist with more than 17 years of experience, why did you choose skincare science as your area of focus?
Skincare is a big business, and one that is constantly evolving. There are an enormous variety of skincare products available, each promising different (and oftentimes miraculous) results. New products and ingredients appear on shelves almost daily. As a consumer, I was spending a fortune on products, without getting the results I was after. I realised I wasn’t alone.As someone who is trained in the rigour of the scientific method, I began investigating the research underpinning products and ingredients; teasing out the pseudoscience from what actually works. Once I began to understand the difference between hearsay-based and evidence-based skincare, the results I had been searching for started happening!
How has your beauty regimen evolved over time?
People are generally surprised at how simple my regime is, but it wasn’t always like that! I too, have fallen into the trap of more is more, and trying every new thing on the block. These days I’m focused on fewer, but evidence-based, products that get results, and a deep understanding of how to manage other factors (lifestyle, diet, sun exposure, exercise, nutribiotics) that positively and negatively influence skin physiology. The Blueberry flavoured Vida Glow powder has pride of place on my desk and I just dissolve 1 scoop in a glass of water 3 times/day. Because of its small molecular weight, it dissolves completely and is delicious as a stand-alone drink.
What is a supplement and what role do supplements, such as collagen, play in your personal routine and in your consultations with clients?
In truth, most nutribiotics/supplements (oral vitamins, minerals and herbal products) will not do anything for skin, or prevent disease, unless there is an underlying nutritional deficiency.
There are a couple of notable exceptions to this. Research has shown a beneficial relationship between specific strains of oral probiotics, at specific dosages, and improved skin barrier function in healthy skin (decreased water loss from the epidermis, increased skin hydration and decreased skin sensitivity). There is also data supporting the use of targeted oral probiotic strains in treating acne, psoriasis and eczema.
Collagen supplements are the other exception. There is an ever-increasing body of evidence supporting the safety and efficacy (objectively measured in randomized controlled trials, the gold standard of scientific evidence) of ingested hydrolysed collagen’s ability to improve skin elasticity, hydration and plump fine lines and wrinkles. There is also some promising evidence of its antioxidant ability, and capacity to reduce signs of UV damage in skin. Vida Glow’s own studies (performed at the renowned research institute, Centre de Pharmacologie Clinique Appliqueé à la Dermatologie, which specialises in skincare clinical trials) support these findings.
Our bodies start losing collagen in our 20s, increasing to 1% loss each year after 40, with 75% overall collagen loss by our 80s. So, I recommend supplements to my clients (and take them myself!) as an evidence-based, future-proofing strategy to complement great skincare and lifestyle choices.
What do you recommend consumers look for when choosing a collagen supplement?
First, look for a brand that can demonstrate the scientific data supporting its claims, preferably using randomized controlled trials, and transparency around ingredients and their source. Second, look for a product that you don’t need to ingest in huge quantities to get results (making it more reliable and better value for money). I recommend marine collagen vs that from land animals, collagen derived from fish scales vs fish skin/bones, and with a high hydroxyproline and proline concentration. Lastly, it’s key that the product is palatable to encourage regular and long-term consumption.
Vida Glow Marine Collagen is my go-to collagen supplement as it ticks all those boxes. Additionally, Vida Glow Marine Collagen is ultra-purified and free of heavy metals that can contaminate marine collagen products, and it has a high concentration of the amino acids hydroxyproline and proline. The higher the concentration of these, the more resistant the peptides are to gut enzymes and the better they are taken up into the bloodstream.
What is low molecular weight collagen?
Collagen extracted from fish scales is broken down by enzymes (like the ones our own gastrointestinal tract uses to break down dietary proteins) into lots of smaller pieces called peptides. This process is called ‘hydrolysing’ and the end product is called ‘hydrolysed collagen’, HC.
Molecular Weight (MW) is a measure that helps us understand the size and behaviour of a protein molecule, and is measured in Daltons (Da) or kiloDaltons (kDa). A whole collagen molecule is around 300 kDa in size, whereas the HC peptides can be as small as 2-4 kDa (2000-4000 Da).
The smaller they are, the more resistant the peptides are to further breakdown in our gut, and the more readily they are absorbed into the bloodstream (so the more likely you are to see results).
What is your professional opinion on nutricosmetics and do you see it becoming a staple of your clients’ skincare routines?
I believe our enthusiasm for nutricosmetics (ingestible products with beauty benefits) will expand as the boundaries between wellness and beauty continue to blur and ‘beauty as an inside job’ takes off. For example, there is a huge research effort currently targeted towards unravelling the secrets of our skin microbiome, and how we can manipulate it to improve skin health and quality.
I hope the result of this research will be scientific data supporting the benefits, dosages and specific types of ingredients that underpin effective nutricosmetics, allowing consumers to make choices, and get results, based on evidence.