la roche posay

DEALING WITH HORMONAL BREAKOUTS : PART I

Firstly I'll make it clear that what we're discussing here is not the likes of a single nasty blemish which pops up at a certain time of the month and lingers in pain for a few days before disappearing for three weeks. Although by all means any of the products below would be ideal for said blemish, the topic on the table today is of a slightly more long-term variety...

Hormonal acne typically consists of incredibly sore, inflamed cystic blemishes. These can mostly be found on the cheeks, jawline, chin, temples, and around the mouth; and rather than disappearing completely, they tend to fade into pink marks which can scar incredibly easily. Like many women, when I hit my twenties my skin made a complete turnaround; my highly blemish prone T-zone cleared up, and my previously flawless cheeks and jaw were beset with such a swarm of angry red blemishes... Not ideal!

I'd curated a fantastic lineup of skincare to cater for my skin prior to this turnaround, but as the cause of hormonal acne is [as the name suggests!] based upon hormones, my failsafe blemish busters were no longer having the desired effect. I soon realised that no matter what I was using, the breakouts on my cheeks continued to appear. If I did happen to use an unsuitable product, then a tell-tale sign of its incompatibility with my skin would be a breakout on my T-zone.

Over the past few months I've made considerable changes to my what's going into my body [this can really effect hormone balance], and have seen considerable changes in my complexion. Making a conscious effort to drink more water, swapping out coffee for green tea, and cutting back on my dairy and sugar intakes have done the world of good [I'll speak more about this next week]. Whilst skincare may not be able to prevent hormonal breakouts, certain ingredients can certainly help to calm the redness, reduce inflammation, and heal scarred skin. Below I've shared the products which through cleansing, exfoliating, and treating, have proven successful in dealing with the aftermath of my hormonal breakouts.

CLEANSE La Roche-Posay Physiological Cleansing Gel : Finding a simple, hydrating cleanser which purifies and nourishes the skin without causing irritation is key to managing hormonal breakouts, and this French pharmacy favourite is a bona fide crowd-pleaser. Since blemish-prone skin can also be dry and dehydrated, harsh cleansers can easily aggravate the condition, but this gentle gel cleanses thoroughly, and without compromising on hydration levels. Dead Sea Spa Magik Black Mud Soap : Whether or not you believe in the healing benefits of Dead Sea mud, this soap is rich in minerals and sulphates which are well known for having a purifying and calming effect upon acne-prone skin [and is free of all nasties!]. Since using this I've found inflammation has been massively reduced [thanks for the recommendation Bridie!].

EXFOLIATE Radical Exfoliating Pads* : Rich in AHA and BHA exfoliants [acids which gently exfoliate skin cells and encourage cell turnover], these pads are your queue-jump ticket to clearer, brighter skin. The red marks left by blemishes are usually only a few layers deep, so with each use you're one step closer to fading the pigmentation. PIXI Glow Tonic : In much the same way as the above, this toner smoothens, exfoliates, and brightens the skin. The formula is alcohol-free and a little less concentrated than Radical pads, so is ideal for those with dry or especially sensitive skin types. Raccine Ultimate Hydra Gentle Refining Scrub* : Typically, manual exfoliants are not quite as deeply penetrating or effective as their chemical counterparts, but this gentle scrub contains AHAs, BHAs, and a finely-milled formula which gently buffs away dead skin cells [the best of both worlds]. Ideal for bi-weekly pre-mask exfoliation.

TREAT Eve Lom Rescue Mask : This deep cleansing clay mask does a little bit of everything, including working a treat in instantly fading redness and reducing the size of blemishes. It heats up upon application with a slight tingling sensation and leaves my skin noticeably clearer, calmer, and brighter upon removal. Literally the only mask I used when my skin was at its worse as nothing else has quite the same calming effect. Mario Badescu Buffering Lotion : Mario Badescu has something of a cult following in the States, where the brand is a favourite of anyone who is serious about outting congested and blemish-prone skin. This astringent lotion is best used upon targeted areas, as it is drying. Dotted onto blemishes however it reduces pain, swelling, and redness in a matter of hours. In comparison to other targeted spot treatments I've found this to be the most effective when dealing with cystic acne.

Stay tuned for Part II next week, in which I discuss dietary tweaks and the products which have helped to repair, protect, and hydrate my skin during hormonal breakouts.

If you have any product suggestions I'd love to hear them, so do share below!

G

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**As always, I am not a dermatologist and I speak only from what experience I have gained either in dealing with my own skin, during my training as a beauty advisor, and in assisting friends and family with similar issues.

LESSONS THROUGH SKINCARE : PART I

Recently I've been thinking about the lessons I've learnt over the years when it comes to skincare; and in turn the products which helped me to put these lessons into practice. The below edit features a few 'hero products' of mine, pieces which mark significant milestones in my skincare history, and which I credit with saving my skin [each in their own unique way]. Think of this as a skincare journey in stepping-stone form.

Ditch the facial wipes : Bioderma Sensibo H20 I cringe to remember the days when my skincare routine consisted solely of face wipes [always and only the cheapest I could find] - and in hindsight swapping out wipes for a decent makeup remover is one of the best [and let's face it, easiest] steps you can take towards practicing better skincare [whilst it may still not be the most virtuous of products, a micellar water is a significant step closer!]. I never think of micellar water as a cleanser, and would by no means advocate using it alone [I always follow it up with a second cleanse - usually a balm or oil which provides a bit of a moisture boost], but a few cotton pads soaked in this clear fragrance-free solution is a speedy and efficient way to remove the majority of my makeup without drying or aggravating my sensitive skin.

Do your research : La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo + Instead of just buying whichever spot-treatment was on offer/had fun packaging, deciding to do some research and invest a bit more cash really paid off with this one; I can 100% credit it with saving my skin after years of teen acne. I'm still a devoted user of Effaclar Duo today, and always recommend it to those suffering with blemish-prone skin. A light, cooling lotion, which [when applied on a regular basis] works to remove blemishes as speedily possible; whilst simultaneously preventing new ones from occurring, and reducing redness and the appearance of pores. Unlike a spot-on treatment this can be applied all over [but should not be used in place of a moisturiser, and is best applied with a light hand - it's strong stuff]. Many [including myself] will find that ED+ requires something of a "purge"; I broke out terribly during the first few weeks of use, before being left with the clearest skin I'd had in years.

Don't skip moisturiser : Origins Drinkup Intensive Overnight Mask I spent my teen years convinced that my skin was drastically oily and therefore required no extra moisture. How wrong I was! My skin was overcompensating for its lack of oil [which I was repeatedly stripping away with harsh and dry scrubs], so it was only when I established a moisturiser within my routine that it started to calm down and become much more balanced and "normal". These days I wouldn't dare skip out on moisturising, and I always apply my night cream super thick and mask-like. Investing in a dedicated moisture mask was something I would never have considered doing in my teens, but has made such a difference to my [dehydrated] skin. After applying this one [which smells like peaches and apricots!] I always wake up with a noticeably brighter complexion the following morning.

Don't be afraid of oil : Jurlique Skin Balancing Face Oil* As above [but possibly 98443125417 times more terrifying] the thought of consciously and curatively applying oil to my face would never have crossed my mind pre-2012, but is today a commonplace element in my skincare routine. Even if you do have oily skin, using a cleansing oil or treatment oil can really help to balance out your skin, and I find that my makeup sits so much better when I'm using a facial oil on a regular basis. The first oil I used was pure rosehip oil [for the purpose of fading blemish scars], but these days I usually reach for a blend of oils such as this one which boast multiple skin-perfecting properties.

Use multiple masks : Aēsop Primrose Facial Cleansing Masque* + Antipodes Aura Manuka Mask Face masks have always been a staple feature in my skincare routine, and there are a few absolutely stellar masks which I can 100% rely on as one-stop wonders to the worst of my skincare problems; however for a real boost of skincare goodness I've learnt that using multiple masks in series can have even more impact. The key is to separate your masks into categories [exfoliating, cleansing, hydrating, moisturising], before selecting two or three which will best address your concerns. My favourite combination is the above; a deep-cleansing decongesting mask followed by a soothing moisturising one.

Part II is set to land next week - but in the meantime, which products have taught you your skincare lessons?

G

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Skincare Diary #9

Well, it's been a long time since one of these posts graced the homepage of TGG [almost three months!] - the reason being that my skincare routine has remained fairly constant since my last diary. Aside from a few recent additions, I've been sticking to products which I'm familiar with and which work well with my skin - calming, hydrating, and [most importantly!] not aggravating.

MONDAY Morning : La Roche-Posay Physiological Gel Cleanser, Clarisonic Aria*, La Roche-Posay Serozinc*, Radical Restorative Moisturiser*. Evening : Avene Extremely Gentle Cleanser, Pixi Glow Tonic, Hydraluron, La Roche-Posay Serozinc, Racinne Ultimate Aqua Blanc Treatment*, Verso Night Cream*, Dior Hydra-Life Eye Cream.

A makeup-free day calls for constant application of Serozinc and moisturiser - what can I say, my winter ravaged skin is in serious need of some TLC. I'm adoring Serozinc - it's been the perfect antidote to the inflammation and redness currently blighting my complexion so I don't miss an opportunity to apply it [as you'll see below].

TUESDAY Morning : La Roche-Posay Physiological Gel CleanserLa Roche-Posay Serozinc, Sisley Tropical Resins Complex*. Evening : Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water, Radical Hydrating Cleanser*, Pixi Glow TonicHydraluronLa Roche-Posay SerozincRacinne Ultimate Aqua Blanc TreatmentVerso Night CreamDior Hydra-Life Eye Cream.

A long day today, so this morning's skincare was all about creating a sound base for my makeup. The Sisley serum is light, silky, and formulated with a powder blend which absorbs excess oil - ideal if you have a long day of makeup wear ahead of you and don't trust your foundation to survive intact until evening.

WEDNESDAY Morning : La Roche-Posay Physiological Gel CleanserClarisonic AriaLa Roche-Posay SerozincSisley Tropical Resins Complex. Afternoon : Garnier Micellar Cleansing WaterRadical Hydrating CleanserLa Roche-Posay SerozincJurlique Purely Bright Spot Treatment. Evening : Aesop Exfoliant Paste*, Eve Lom Rescue Mask*, Radical Instant Revitalising Mask*, HydraluronLa Roche-Posay SerozincRacinne Ultimate Aqua Blanc TreatmentVerso Night CreamDior Hydra-Life Eye Cream.

Wednesdays call for a mid-week facial - I don't think I've actually used any masks but these two in recent weeks, they're both ideally suited to counter the skincare concerns I'm battling, and do so with a serious A-game. The Eve Lom mask is amazing at calming redness as well as giving my complexion a really thorough deep cleanse and overall boost. Followed up with Radical's uhh-mazing offering [seriously I'm smitten with this guy] my skin is left super soft as well as noticeably brighter and calmer [for real, I usually spend a good 5 minutes marvelling over just how good my skin looks after these two skincare powerhouses].

THURSDAY Morning : La Roche-Posay Physiological Gel CleanserLa Roche-Posay SerozincRacinne Ultimate Hydra Advanced Luminous Gel*. Evening : Garnier Micellar Cleansing WaterRadical Hydrating Cleanser, Pixi Glow TonicHydraluronLa Roche-Posay SerozincRacinne Ultimate Aqua Blanc TreatmentVerso Night CreamDior Hydra-Life Eye Cream.

A new number today - this light gel from my new favourite skincare brand Racinne, is ticking all the AM skincare boxes for me. A 2-in-1 skincare miracle-product, it gives intense hydration whilst simultaneously providing my skin with the smooth, matte surface required before makeup application. If you find that primers aggravate your skin/clog pores etc, then this would be a brilliant alternative. One use and I'm hooked.

FRIDAY Morning : La Roche-Posay Physiological Gel CleanserClarisonic AriaLa Roche-Posay Serozinc, Radical Restorative Moisturiser. Evening : Aesop Exfoliant PasteEve Lom Rescue MaskRadical Instant Revitalising MaskHydraluronLa Roche-Posay Serozinc*, Racinne Ultimate Aqua Blanc TreatmentVerso Night CreamDior Hydra-Life Eye Cream.

My evening skincare is ALL about fighting redness and reducing blemish scars, and between these carefully collated picks I'm really noticing a difference. The Racinne treatment is a silkily textured serum which absorbs instantly and works to brighten pigmentation - it has an instantly calming effect and smells tantalising. The Verso night cream is an old favourite which contains a super powerful dose of retinol [the good kind] and antioxidants to calm and repair damaged skin. Just what I need.

SATURDAY Morning : La Roche-Posay Physiological Gel CleanserLa Roche-Posay SerozincRacinne Ultimate Hydra Advanced Luminous Gel. Afternoon : Garnier Micellar Cleansing WaterRadical Hydrating CleanserLa Roche-Posay SerozincJurlique Purely Bright Spot Treatment. Evening : Aesop Exfoliant PasteEve Lom Rescue MaskRadical Instant Revitalising MaskHydraluronLa Roche-Posay SerozincRacinne Ultimate Aqua Blanc TreatmentVerso Night CreamDior Hydra-Life Eye Cream.

Another brightening/scar-fading wonder-product comes in the form of the above Jurlique spot treatment. Firstly, thumbs up to Jurlique for producing a product which not only prevents blemishes, but also deals with the after-effects [we need more products like this!]. Formulated with a blend of Niacinamide and Citric Peel [powerful anti-inflammatories] it is quite strong so you really don't need to apply a lot, but after just a few weeks of daily use it has made such a difference.

SUNDAY Morning : La Roche-Posay Physiological Gel CleanserClarisonic AriaLa Roche-Posay SerozincRadical Restorative Moisturiser. Evening : Aesop Exfoliant PasteEve Lom Rescue MaskRadical Instant Revitalising MaskHydraluronLa Roche-Posay Serozinc, Sarah Chapman Skinesis Overnight FacialDior Hydra-Life Eye Cream.

Ending the week with another makeup free day and a facial - my skin LOVES days like these. If you're in need of a serious skincare boost, I'd really recommend using two masks in succession - follow up a deep cleansing one with something a little gentler/more hydrating, and you'll notice a real difference. A note on the Dior eye cream : if you have sensitive eyes and seek a cream which soothes ad de-puffs, then here is the one.

Which products make up your staple skincare diary these days?

G x

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French Pharmacy Favourites

The list of the things that the French do right is (in my opinion) infinite, ranging from breakfast to couture, street style to macarons, and architecture to (inevitably) beauty.

ESPECIALLY re. skincare. Mid-priced and affordable, I truly believe that the French brands have the best products and formulas if you’re attempting to up your skincare game but don’t want to break the bank. Look no further than the likes of Avene and La Roche-Posay - their formulations are no nonsense, simple, and based upon science - you’ll find no cheap fillers or attempts to cater to the latest fads here.

The main French skincare brands (Avene, Bioderma, La ROche-Posay) have extensive ranges with products for every skin type, and are peppered with cult favourites - the products which every beauty lover stocks up upon the second she hops The Channel, and begs her best friend to bring back for her after a week in the Dordogne (and truly, no romantic weekend in Paris is complete without dragging your loved one to a French pharmacy. If carrying your basket around City-Pharma for you isn’t love, then what is??).

And if a trip on the Eurostar isn’t high upon your imminent agenda then beauty’s best kept secret (at least where French skincare is concerned) can fulfil all of your demandes de pharmacie. Online beauty retailer Escentual have the best prices when it comes to stocking up on your French favourites, and currently have 1/3 off on ALL French brands. Who needs Paris??

Here are my recommendations…

La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo+ Everyone’s favourite preventative/corrective spot-treatment. This HAS to be the most raved about product on my blog, and you’re probably all sick of hearing about it! However, if you’re new to TGG then allow me to introduce you to blemish-prone skin’s best friend. This gentle lotion not only clears up existing spots and works to fade scars and marks, but keeps blemishes at bay, minimises the appearance of pores, and reduces redness. If I could only use one skincare product, it would be this.

La Roche-Posay Effaclar A.I. The perfect accompaniment to the above, this spot-on treatment has a stronger formula which works by reducing individual blemishes as quickly and effectively as possible but without drying out the surrounding area. This mini tube lasts forever, and unlike many other similar treatments fails to become less effective as time goes by.

Caudalie Beauty Elixir* For instant refreshment and smooth glowing skin there really is no other option. I spritz this on pre and post-makeup application in order to set my makeup and keep my complexion dewy and fresh all day long. It also works a treat as a hydrating evening treatment underneath moisturiser. The perfect antidote to dull and lacklustre skin, and a luxe way to refresh on a hot summers day.

Avene Extremely Gentle Cleanser The gentlest cleanser you will ever use. This cool, soothing lotion will remove the last traces of makeup and cleanse even the most sensitive of skin without causing any irritation or redness. I would recommend this for any and every skin type as an effective but calming evening cleanser.

Avene Soothing Hydrating Serum* A moisturiser in serum form which also doubles up as a makeup base. This is one of my favourite products to use ahead of a long day as it keeps my makeup in place and prevents it from clinging to and accentuating dry patches (the only downside to Nars Sheer Glow).

Bioderma H2O Micellar Solution I’ve used many a micellar solution, and whilst the high street does have some great (and more affordable) alternatives, I still think that the original is the best. A few cotton pads socked in this miracle water is guaranteed to remove the majority of my makeup in one go (another wipe would remove every last trace but I prefer to double cleanse with something a little richer). I have incredibly sensitive eyes and find that this is the only micellar solution which doesn’t cause them to sting and tear up. It’s also the best one when it comes to removing mascara quickly and effectively - an essential in my daily skincare routine.

La Roche-Posay Physiological Cleansing Gel* I love nothing more than a gel cleanser in the AM - they're perfect for refreshing the skin and clearing away all of the built-up product from the night before, and leave the complexion clean, smooth, and ready for makeup application without a hint of oiliness or residue. However, gel cleansers are notoriously drying, so I always opt for those aimed at dry skin. This is my favourite - gentle, simple, soothing but effective. Another hero product from La Roche-Posay, and perfect if you have blemish-prone skin.

Avene Cleanance Mask Finding a really good, deep cleansing, blemish-battling mask is a hard task if you live in fear of irritating your dry or sensitive skin. But you can ALWAYS rely on Avene to perform when it comes to tackling delicate complexions, so if you're still on the hunt, allow me to introduce you to your new skincare saviour. This mask is an essential in any blemish-battling artillery, and I wish I'd discovered it sooner. It leaves my skin feeling deeply cleansed, but at the same time calm, nourished, and soothed.

Klorane Nettle Shampoo Finally, a haircare favourite which I couldn't possibly pass up on mentioning. This is my once a week detox shampoo. Guaranteed to break down product buildup, and leave my hair weightlessly soft, full of volume, and clean for days on end. I wouldn't recommend it for everyday use as it has quite a strong formula - but when it comes to bringing balance to the scalp, this performs just as brilliantly as (if not better than) its high-end competitors.

What are your French pharmacy favourites?

G x

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