Dr. Marmur on science and simple skin beauty
Dr Ellen Marmur is Medical Doctor, an author, a skincare entrepreneur, and a working mother of four. A true inspiration! Having recently launched MM Skincare and with a revised edition of her book, Simple Skin Beauty, scheduled for release in 2019, we spoke to Ellen about her philosophy of beauty, youth and science that drives her innovative work.
LM:What inspired you to become a medical doctor and specialize in dermatology?
EM: My journey to becoming a doctor has not been linear. Everything in my life has been about gut feeling and passion. I went to Vassar College to study Japanese and philosophy and then led wilderness canoe trips for a couple of years that exposed me to hands-on medical emergencies, igniting my passion for helping people. This was the catalyst for taking medical school classes. Interested in women’s health, I worked at UCSF in San Francisco and wanted to go into OB-GYN, however after taking my first class I realized that with dermatology you can have encyclopedic knowledge about the body inside, just from pattern recognition on the outside. This means that you can go anywhere in the world, look at a person’s skin and understand what is happening in their body.
LM: What are your principal interests concerning dermatology?
EM: The practice of dermatology has changed profoundly since I started in the field. During my fellowship, I worked with Dr. David Goldberg, one of the leaders of laser medicine at the time. Also, I was the lead investigator on multiple cosmetic filler studies in the US and the use of blue LED lights on pre-cancers. These experiences merged with my interests in genetics and cosmetics. I initiated scientific studies and a genetic database where we biopsied skin after using beauty products to show whether it made a difference compared to moisturizer, which was the placebo, and I found that active ingredients in cosmeceutical beauty products do work! Then we wanted to find out which components worked best, depending on skin type, age, lifestyle factors, and so on. After ten more years of research, we have developed products that, I think, really fill this void.
LM: MMSkincare products comprise serums and masks combining "Natural + Tech + Beauty." Can you tell us more about the philosophy behind the brand and the products?
EM: We first considered how to take natural, sustainable ingredients from the world and use technology – like cell phones and LED technology – and bring that to beauty. MMSkincare aims to transform your skin as well as change the way you think about your skin. We have three serums and three masks, infused with protective and active ingredients called adaptogens, which nourish and produce the appearance of beautiful, youthful skin. MMRevive is for sensitive skin, MMBalance is for inflamed skin, and MMRepose is for stressed and exhausted skin – each contributes to the repair cell damage in some way.
Skin used to be considered the largest organ of the body, but as of 2018, scientists announced a new organ that is just underneath the surface of the skin. I’ve nicknamed in The Internet of the Skin. It is Interstitial Fluid and acts as an information exchange. Our products harness this fluid to motivate things to come to the skin and repair it. Using an LED light photo-activates the ingredients of our products. We use this for skin cancer treatment, as well as cosmetics dermatology. Our LED light ring complements our skincare range and has been FDA-approved, so this what we mean by Nature + Tech + Beauty concept.
So much of the beauty world has been about aspiration and marketing. There’s a bit of a downside to that. Beauty is health and wellness, and everybody can be beautiful. Because our skin is not static, MMSkincare is photodynamic, biodynamic, and adaptogenic, so it can change with you.
Also, our products are gluten-free, vegan, and cruelty-free. We are very proud all the mindfulness behind this brand.
LM: You founded Marmur Medical in 2012. Can you tell us more about the clinic?
EM: After serving as the Chief of Dermatology & Cosmetic Surgery at the Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York and the first woman Vice Chair of the Department and the Division of Dermatology & Cosmetic Surgery, I wanted to spread my wings in my own private practice, so I started Marmur Medical. Then in 2017 we started MM Squared, which we call “in-and-out-derm”, that is staffed with board-certified dermatologists. I think we deliver a type of care with a personal small town feeling, in the big city.
General dermatology is still at the heart and soul of our clinic so we treat psoriasis, eczema, rosacea, skin cancer, and skin cancer prevention, of course. We have also incorporated cosmetic dermatology treatments including laser treatments, injections and fillers.
LM: You have established several businesses thus far. What drives your entrepreneurship and what do you like most about it?
EM: First of all, it’s creative. With entrepreneurship, if you can see a solution to a problem you just try and solve it by being resourceful. The hardest lesson I’ve learned so far is that with entrepreneurship. is that it’s that one step forward, 12 steps back, 30 steps forward, two steps back, nine steps forward, and so on. However, if it were too easy, it would probably not be as gratifying!
Interview by Linda Mateljan