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“Joie De Vivre”- Joy of living

“Joie De Vivre”-Joy of living… The many contributions the French have made to skin health -“Joie de la peau”-Joy of the skin


I shared the world’s heartache last week whilst watching the events that unfolded in Paris and the continuing unsettling events occurring all over the world. It has been a particularly difficult year for France on many counts as we have heard in the news; with this in mind as a neighbouring European I hope to end this year by highlighting the many positive and groundbreaking contributions the French (one of the leaders in skin health) have given the world. Of the many beautiful things the French have given us; The most time appropriate expression may be “Joie de Vivre” or the joy of living life to it’s fullest no matter what challenges life puts forward.


In this blog post I share some groundbreaking contributions the French have made in the field of skin health “Joie de la peau”.



My top five French skin health contributions:


  1. The French have always been leaders in beauty and skin care research. Cosmetic skin care companies producing high quality dermatological products such as L’oreal, La Roche Possay, Vichy, Chanel to name a few are all French and remain world leaders in skin care products. French women and men have led the way in teaching us the importance of how to look after and maintain youthful skin by means of following a good skin care regimen from an early age therefore teaching the world the art of growing old gracefully whilst remaining très chic!
  2. The French taught us to take skin disease seriously! Baron Jean-Louis Alibert (1768-1837) advocated for skin problems to be included in internal medicine and therefore its care be performed in hospitals (prior to this hospitals were rest havens for the homeless). The French therefore contributed to establishing Dermatology practices within hospitals. Alibert was one of the first generation of doctors to be known as Physicians who looked at skin diseases, described skin diseases and represented skin conditions in paintings and atlases.
  3. The face transplant was pioneered by the French; Dr. Bernard Devauchelle. A face transplant is a surgical procedure where all or a part of one’s face is restored to maintain its function and appearance. The first partial face transplant was carried out in France led by Dr. Devauchelle in 2005 for a lady who had suffered a dog attack.
  4. Louis Pasteur a famous French Microbiologist discovered a fact that is so intuitive to us today that “germs cause disease”. Pasteur also pioneered vaccines and the concept of treating milk to prevent bacterial contamination called “pasteurisation” which is named after him. We therefore have the French to thank for vaccines, which can prevent skin infections such as anthrax and safe to drink milk, which with its calcium and vitamin content helps keep our skin and bones healthy.
  5. Blood vessel collections children called infantile haemangioma are now treated safely with beta-blockers, pioneered by the French, Léauté-Labrèze C et al. Infantile haemangiomas can be incredibly disfiguring in children causing problems such as loss of vision, difficulty breathing and bleeding. Until 2008 Dermatologists often had to treat children with high dose steroids, which can have harmful effects if used long term. This breakthrough has led to the successful and relatively safe treatment of haemangioma resulting in many happy children worldwide.


As one of the world leaders in skin care and as a country with so many talents, let’s hope many more innovations and success stories come from our neighbours across the Channel. Liberté, égalité, fraternité…

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