Dealing with acne can be traumatizing. I say this because I know first hand what it feels like to grow up struggling with the issue and have it linger into my adult years. I remember in my early twenties having to go through college and then job interviews, feeling the least bit confident because I had acne. To everyone that sent in questions last week for my derm class, thank you. I got to spend the evening with the team from La Roche-Posay and listen to Dr. Annie Chiu speak about all things related to acne.
I’ve been testing products from the French skincare brand La Roche-Posay and have to say I’m super impressed. They are a dermalogically driven company and truly focus on healing the skin. Not to mention they are French and I feel like the French always get it right! They are known for their thermal spring water which has a high content of selenium and is known for treating skin disorders. It still remains as one of their key ingredients to this day!
What is the main cause of acne?
While there’s a few factors that cause acne, the largest contributing factor is hormones. Hormonal changes in the body are the number one reason why we deal with acne. This is most present with teens of course, but also can be an ongoing problem as we get into adulthood. Acne is predominately driven by the male hormone, androgenic (go figure!) – so when our estrogen and testosterone levels are off our bodies produce excess oil and hence causes acne.
Why adult acne though?
Most women face adult acne and it’s still largely due to hormonal factors. This is especially noticeable during that time of the month, but others factors like stress and food play a role as well! Also, are you cleansing too often? Stripping your skin? Is your makeup too heavy? While these aren’t the main causes, they don’t help to alleviate the problem if you know what I mean.
Should you be double cleansing?
Double cleansing is a Korean beauty skincare method used to thoroughly clean the skin. It first involves getting rid of makeup, dirt, pollution on the skin with an oil based cleanser. The second step involves a traditional cleanser to get deep into the pores after all the makeup and dirt have been removed. This ensures that the skin is 100% clean and ready for any topical treatments. Dr. Annie Chiu actually recommended that those that suffer with acne try not to use an exfoliant as much – this can cause more inflammation to the already flared up skin and aggravate the skin. Stick to something more gentle like the La Roche-Posay Effaclar Gel Cleanser – this has zinc which will help purify the skin and remove excess oil while keeping your skins pH right. If your double cleansing I recommend starting with Effaclar Micellar Water to remove all of the dirt, makeup and following up with the cleanser.
Debunking chocolate? Does food play a role in acne?
According to Dr. Chiu chocolate has not been proven to cause acne. Yes, you heard right! There have been various studies but nothing concrete to prove that the two correlate. In regards to dairy – the correlation to acne lies in the hormones produced by the cow. The cows hormones, our hormones – you get the point. Would I stay away, yes probably. I think anything that can cause an imbalance of hormones or has certain proteins that can shift the makeup of your body internally, I would stay away from. The real kicker though is refined sugar and carbs – eating foods that are high-glycemic will lead to acne! Why? A spike in our blood sugar can increase hormones and in turn increase oil production which causes acne. Sad story, but honestly eating clean is so much better for you!
Can I treat my acne scars? Hyper-pigmentation?
Most of what people think are acne scares are actually discoloration and hyperpigmentation according to Dr. Chiu. These brown spots can be targeted with a product like La Roche-Posay Mela-D Pigment Control, which helps to reduce the look of brown spots and even skin tone. For actual acne scars, I highly recommend micro-needling and fractional lasers (costly but effective, although definitely start with something like the pigment gel!). Also, SPF is very important so I recommend La Roche-Posay Anthelios Ultra Light SPF 60. I’ve heard incredible things about it and it seems to be everyone’s holy grail (they sell one every 15 seconds!). A must for shielding your skin from the sun. I just started on the SPF this last week and loving it so far!
Having a basic skincare regimen to help with your acne is the best thing you can do. Sometimes we overdo it and end up hurting our skin more than helping it. I’ve been using the La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo Dual Action Acne Treatment on some of my acne spots that tend to flare up (even on my body) and I’ve been so impressed by it. What I truly love about this product is that it has two agendas: #1: clear up the acne, #2 hydrate the skin while doing so. It prevents the benzoyl peroxide from drying out our skin, which is a huge problem for so many of us.
I hope some of these answers and tips helped. If you have questions for me, leave me a comment below or DM me! Happy to chat. xx