Her book on sunscreens and hyperpigmentations, Skin In The Tropics, helped establish her reputation as an expert in pigmentation disorders among patients with various skin tones. She is also a specialist in acne, psoriasis, diseases of the skin, and cosmetic dermatology.
Since the early 1970s, Dr. Vermén M. Verallo-Rowell has been a pioneer researcher in the field of cosmetic and clinical dermatology. She has conducted multiple clinical trials on pharmaceutical and cosmetic products for companies such as Abbott, Galderma, Pfizer, Roche, Schering-Plough, VMV Hypoallergenics, and Wyeth, many of which she has published or presented at international dermatological symposia.
In 1979, she founded VMV HypoallergenicsTM, a unique brand of hypoallergenic cosmeceuticals, skin care, personal care, and cosmetics whose hypoallergenicity is validated with a proprietary rating system (like an SPF, but for allergen omission). She also founded the VMV Skin Research Centre + Clinics (VSRC) to respond to the research and clinical trial requirements of patients, dermatologists, and the cosmetics and pharmaceutical industries.
Vermén M. Verallo-Rowell, M.D. is a board-certified clinical and research dermatologist, dermatologic surgeon, dermatopathologist,* and clinical researcher. She completed her internship in Dermatology at Uniontown Hospital her Dermatology residency at Cleveland Clinic Educational Foundation under Dr. John Haserick, and her fellowship in Dermatopathology at Wayne State University under Dr. Hermann Pinkus, later working with Dr. Bernard Ackermann at New York University. She is a board-certified member of the American Boards of Dermatology and Dermatopathology, and holds membership in prominent medical societies in the United States and Asia.
Currently, Dr. Verallo-Rowell performs clinical research on cosmetic ingredients, laser and advanced therapies, and pharmaceuticals through her own research protocols, and performs multiple clinical trials annually.
She is considered an expert in procedural, cosmetic, surgical dermatology, phototherapy, dermatopathology, and psoriasis (VSRC features a successful bath-PUVA psoriasis and phototherapy center).
Dr. Verallo-Rowell is on the international editorial boards of Dermatitis Journal and Archives of Dermatology, and is a Fellow and Diplomate of the American Academies of Dermatology and Dermatopathology. In Asia, she is the chair of the Department of Dermatopathology at Makati Medical Center, a frequent lecturer at the Regional Conferences of Dermatology, an emeritus council member of the Asian Dermatological Association, and an active leader of the Asian Regional Psoriasis Forum.
* a specialist in the histopathology and diseases of the skin
Click here for Dr. Verallo-Rowell's CV
Dressed for lunch, Dr. Vermén M. Verallo-Rowell the powerhouse behind the over 20-year-old VMV Hypoallergenics skin care and cosmetics line, is sophisticated in black and white, taking the style-wise staple and making it her own, with a soft scarf at the neck and stunning diamond hoops. Fit and looking far from 66, you would buy anything she sold you at the cosmetics counter if it meant looking like her at that age.
Her quiet but commanding presence, a formidable combination of gracious hostess, skillful diplomat and articulate scholar, catches your attention, tugs you in and keeps you at bay.
But unlike flashy cosmetics that charm with a whiff and a shine but score zero in staying power, listening to her talk you realize that she’s not in the business of powder-puff fluff. With a Cleveland Clinic training in dermatology and a subspecialty in dermatopathology, she is the equivalent of a skin CSI. Disciples of her self-named VMV line will be impressed to know that as R&D head, she’s hands-on when it comes to product formulation. But for someone so involved, getting her to animatedly walk you through her beauty counter conquests is like pulling teeth. Further down the conversation you get the impression that she would rather not be bothered by merchandising details so she can focus on the foundation of healthy skin: research and testing. At this point, a lunch guest promptly pipes in that VMV is the result of the marriage of two brilliant brains, a combination of Dr. Vermén’s scientific smarts and her husband Glendon’s business genius.
Coaxing her to open up about her personal life is not as smooth as slathering on her peony-scented body oil either. But from the layers she does allow us to pull back, we unwrap a beautiful love story between her Leytehanon father and Bogohanon mother. Smitten with the youngest daughter of a well-to-do family, Felipe, with his humble origins, set off to better his fortune.
With a scholarship from UP Los Baños, he worked his way through school, cooking soup on the side, earning a degree in agriculture. As luck would have it, in the 1930s, tracts of land were being handed out as incentive for people to move back to the hinterlands. Tucking a diploma and 24 hectares under his belt, Felipe returned to ask for his ladylove’s hand in marriage.
And this is how Dr. Verallo calls Cebu home and is probably more Cebuano than some of us, spending elementary days in Bogo, high school at St. Theresa’s College and pre-med at the University of San Carlos.
But causing her to talk animatedly is her latest “baby”. Neither powder, cream nor sunscreen, this brainchild is a 271-page book that makes a compelling case for an “old oil with a shaky reputation.” Rx: Coconuts! (The Perfect Health Nut), the result of nearly 10 years of scientific clinical research, “takes on the challenge of debunking the well-entrenched myth that coconut oil is a bad oil.”
To ease us in, we read about the '80s and how coconuts fall into disfavor through bad press engineered by a US activist group with the hidden agenda of protecting home-grown oil industries. Then, with easy-to-understand analogies and explanations, it tackles the big job of undoing untruths and uncovering truths: saturated fat does not equal bad, coconuts are good for the heart, they can help in making us more resistant to cancer, improve and reinvigorate skin and are a source of natural antibiotics that that can control acne and disinfect skin. Most fascinating are the documented case studies wherein patients with complications like recurring herpes simplex, skin glandular disease and psoriasis were treated with the application or ingestion of enzymatic coconut oil. The book goes on to remind us of the first clinical study on the healing effects of coconut oil on the HIV virus by Dr. Conrado Dayrit, pointing us in the direction of coconut oil as a cost-effective way to possibly treat major diseases.
And with news this good, it’s hard not to share it with the world. This, her second book, published by Philadelphia-based Xlibris, is not only available in the Philippines, but in the US as well through bookseller giant Barnes and Noble. Last month, she completed a series of print and radio interviews in various US cities, which included a chat with broadcast heavyweight ABC.
As lunch transitions nicely into dessert, you find that the less she talks about herself, and the more she talks about her work, it’s apparent that here is no mean marketing Mary Kay machine that gives out pink Cadillacs to hot sellers who sweet talk to top the quota. For this famous derma, well known on women’s dressers everywhere, the thrill is not in the sale, but in research, discovery and validating truths.