Certified pharmacist, Sylvie Legenne lives in Zurich-Switzerland. For her, it is all about skin! Skin has always been a passion of hers, along with skincare innovations and new trends in the category. Today, as self-entrepreneur leading a medical marketing agency, she has decided to volunteer for the SSPV ( Swiss Society Psoriasis Vitiligo) by writing quarterly Skincare Column in “La Peau Surtout”, a publication dedicated to all SSPV members.
Sylvie Legenne, you have devoted your professional life to skin and skin care. How did you get there and why do you have this fascination for skin?
My passion for skin and my sensitivity to the impact of the other’s gaze on the skin were forged from an early age, growing up with a mother suffering from Vitiligo. I witnessed how, in a blink of an eye, exposing one’s skin suffering from Vitiligo to the eyes of the others, may arouse some apprehension, affecting emotional and psychological well-being. My interest and curiosity for the skin only grew stronger as I met inspiring leaders along my way. An innovative and skincare avant-gardist Pharmacist at the Pharmacy Roge-Cavailles where I did my Pharmacy Internship, then later on an inspiring thermal medical team at the Avène Thermal Spa ( a team passionate about the benefits of thermal water on specific skin conditions ). My passion kept growing through many professional projects that led me to collaborate with dermatologists, researchers and other skin experts in the different countries where I had the chance to live and work.
Our skin is a capital element of our appearance, with which we present ourselves to others. As a skincare expert, what have you seen as the major innovations in the field and what do you foresee as future trends ?
The skin is a precious organ which is complex and magnificent. It is much more than a protective envelope against the outdoor world, it is the first thing that we expose to others and as such, it contributes to the first impression we give to others. We can feel both defined and confined by our own skin. How we think others perceive our skin affects our minds and our well-being but we don’t always realize this. The skin is essential to our identity but also to our wellbeing. To me, this is a fascinating field.
The advances in the skin microbiome, the skin immunity and neuro-cosmetology are domains which have completely revolutionized the comprehension of skin and brought numerous innovations in the skin care world these last years. Tomorrow, these technological advances powered by the artificial intelligence will allow us to offer more personalized approaches to skin care, which will privilege customized cosmetology.
Today, you manage your own medical marketing agency specialized in Skincare & Dermatology, what are the reasons for engaging yourself as a volunteer for the swiss society of psoriasis and vitiligo? What is driving you to write articles for La Peau Surtout?
Today, I am excited to volunteer for the Swiss Society of Psoriasis and Vitiligo for two main reasons. The first one is related to the urgency to change the way the society reacts to Vitiligo by raising awareness of the condition while helping to educate Vitiligo patients to better take care of their skin ( because it means taking care of themselves)
The second reason is more personal. I was diagnosed with Vitiligo about ten years ago, an evolutionary form that is much less visible than the Vitiligo my mother suffered from. Therefore, I am committed to sharing my experience in a comforting and accompanying approach.
When you think about your personal story skin wise: what was the influence of your skin in the development of your personality?
When I discovered I had Vitiligo, it presented itself as two small white patches on the interior side of both of my wrists. Their well-defined contours led me to think that I had discoloured my skin while testing cosmetic products at work!
There was a significant period of deny before feeling energized by the prospect of living with my Vitiligo in a positive way, making sure not to suffer from it the way it had affected my mother’s life. I felt compelled to help others live better with their Vitiligo.
Do you see a trend in the way others perceive your skin or your appearance and the exterior appearance of others in general?(I am thinking about people such as Elisabeth Van Aalderen, bloggers on Instagram which have also a diagnosed vitiligo, the Body-Positivity movement etc.)
I find remarkable the work of some artists, associations or bloggers who have understood that it is the way our society reacts to vitiligo that we need to change as quickly as possible. I was lucky enough to meet Elisabeth Van Aalderen, a Dutch photographer also diagnosed with vitiligo, who used photography as a platform to document and celebrate the body of women diagnosed with vitiligo. Her project “Shades of Pale” is an ode to the beauty and to the uniqueness of vitiligo. It gives hope and confidence while contributing to educate the society on this very rare skin disease.
You are going to discuss different themes on skincare in the next series of La Peau Surtout. Will you answer questions asked from members of the SSPV?
I am glad to answer questions from the members of the SSPV and to listen to their suggestions. I will concentrate on topics that matter the most to them.
Dear Sylvie, On behalf of the SPVG, I would like to thank you for your open mindedness and I appreciate your contribution to the SPVG. Christina Inglin- Chief Redactor La Peau Surtout- SPVG