Flare-ups, breakouts, acne, blackheads, congestion, oiliness, and the million other terms used for this unwanted affliction are all down to a simple truth, the skin is unbalanced.
Unbalanced skin usually worsens in extreme heat or extreme cold, and fares better in the more temperate months; which is why we’re all talking about it at the moment in this searing (but in my opinion) blissful heat.
Every part of our lives requires balance, whether it be a work/life balance or an unhealthy/healthy diet (we can’t all live on kale for years, without any chocolate!), so why wouldn't our skin also need balance? For our skin to be absolutely perfectly balanced, we need to have a balanced trifecta:
- Balanced Hydration Levels (water)
- Balanced Lipid Levels (oils)
- Protection (antioxidants)
My experience and training have always compounded the fact that every skin is different, so although the trifecta is absolutely true, how much of each element individual skin needs is always different. This is the bit where professional advice is needed, but you also need to listen to your skins’ needs, watch how it reacts and adjust the levels accordingly.
Unbalanced skin also requires strict routines over a minimum of a 2-month period to achieve the results you’re looking for. Breaking the routine will result in unbalancing the skin again, so I like to think of it like taking a course of antibiotics; if you stop sooner than your course requires, your body isn’t strong enough to fight the infection. The same is true for an unbalanced skin, you need to achieve the balance to strengthen your skin, otherwise it reverts back to its unbalanced state all too quickly.
STEP 1: CLEANSING
The quality of a cleanser is often thought of as unimportant. The reason being that it is washed off quite quickly and doesn’t stay on the skin long enough to have much impact. Although I understand this logical explanation, experience has shown me that it isn’t quite correct. I believe that the key to balancing my own skin, was stopping the use of a gel cleanser, and starting the use of aMilk Cleanser. Cleansing is also the foundation of any skincare routine, although it is rinsed off, it has prepared your skin for the next steps of your routine and does leave some product behind.
The Lait U is our absolute go-to as our first step in balancing the skin. This cleansing milk contains various nut oils which act as magnets to gently coax the oil and dirt from your skin, without drying it out.
STEP 2: EXFOLIATING
Everyone enjoys a good exfoliator… the idea of acids removing all that dirt and oil, tightening our pores, renewing our skin, and revealing this baby new layer is all too enticing, isn’t it? But let’s go gently with it. When trying to balance the skin, going in hard with a really strong acid will never benefit your skin. It will only irritate it and make your skin produce more oils, making more congestion or acne.
The Lotion P50W is almost always the formulation we recommend when a skin is unbalanced. All of our P50 formulations arrive at the same destination, but it’s how they get there where the formulations differ. The Lotion P50W version gets there in a more gentle way, not like a bull in a china shop! So the skin will gently shed its layers, your pores will slowly tighten, your oil secretions will decrease and your congestion will improve; but you won’t experience an irritated skin. Don’t be scared of the gentle approach.
Steps 1 & 2 above consist of the PREPARATION of your skin. They create a clean and alkaline base for the next steps which are the TREATMENT steps of your skincare routine. This is where recommendations of products can differ slightly or greatly depending on your levels within the trifecta.
STEP 3: MASKING
Applying a mask 2-3 times a week when you’re trying to cure a skin concern such as acne/congestion/unbalance is vital. It’s only 20-30 minutes each time, and I know it’s a pain, but what a reward it will bring!
There are several masks recommended for a congested skin. The first would be the famous 'marmitey' Masque Vivant! The living mask. Named so because it contains yeast which will eat away at all that bacteria and dead skin, unclogging your pores, sanitising your skin, adding in some antioxidants and purifying it all at the same time. But it’s a little too strong for a sensitive skin or for one which has active acne (acne with inflammation or infection).
For a sensitive tendency skin, or one affected with active acne, we would recommend to either mix the Masque Vivant with the Masque VIPO2 to add some hydration and boost antioxidant levels, or we would recommend the Biomagic Mask. The Biomagic Mask really focuses on purifying the skin through the use of bentonite clay, but it doesn’t contain yeast, so it is a gentler option.
For a strong skin which secretes a lot of oils, with no acne; the best option is the Masque Bain de Plantes. This refreshing and multi-faceted mask has been formulated to apply to the face, body and scalp, to regulate oil secretions and to detoxify the skin.
STEP 4: SERUMISE
Serums are very important and effective as they are usually liquid in texture and contain small molecules which penetrate the skin faster and deeper, compared to products which have larger molecules and sit on the skin. To treat specific concerns such as congestion, the use of serums are key, and your exact cocktail can be mixed and adapted on a daily basis. There are a few serums which can be recommended in this instance, but which ones are for you?
For active acne, the Complexe Iribiol is absolutely brilliant! It’s anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial, so you can pop it onto the targeted area when you feel your acne brewing, and if you get the timing right, it might not even pop up! This serum can also be used as an all-over serum if you’re trying to regulate your oil secretions, but it is quite drying, so watch and listen to your skin if you take this approach and stop when needed.
Hydration is key when it comes to balancing your skin (read more in our dedicated hydration article). If your skin doesn’t receive enough hydration, it will produce oils to compensate …. Which is the last thing we want! Furthermore, hydration in the serum format is the best type, it will penetrate the skin quickly and deeply. We mostly recommend the Sérum Amniotique E. for an unbalanced skin as it’s supremely hydrating, doesn’t clog pores and doesn’t contain any lipids at all (oils).
If your pores are getting particularly troublesome, and they’re just not shrinking fast enough for you, the Sérum Dermopore is particularly adept in this situation. Pores are small openings on the surface of our skin, where microscopic particles can pass, but also where sebum is produced. Each pore has a band around it, and the Sérum Dermopore works at tightening that band to shrink it. Sometimes, it needs a little helping hand!
Last, but definitely not least, the much loved Sérum Placenta will repair all the damage the congestion has caused. With its well-known healing properties, the placental proteins reconstruct the skin, eliminating those acne marks, whilst still regulating the oil secretions in the skin.
All the serums within our range can be mixed together to form your bespoke serum cocktail.
STEP 5: CREAM
This is the final step in our routine, the cream will treat the skin, but also form a protective barrier on the surface of the skin to keep it balanced. There are many possibilities within this step, so stay with me to find out which one is best for you!
Because there are quite a few options within this step, I like to split it up into Day Creams and Night Creams. Day Creams can be used day or night, however I wouldn’t recommend the night creams to be used during the day. This will be for various reasons, such as acid content which would sensitise your skin in the sun or simply for comfort levels.
The Crème Placenta is one of our most popular creams, it’s the cream version of the serum Placenta above, so it’s highly repairing and fantastic to eliminate post-acne pigmentation. However, it’s also non-comodogenic, delivering light hydration without clogging pores, and brightening the skin at the same time. Seriously popular!
Another popular option is the Crème Echinoderm au Complexe Bio-Marin. This cream is also non-comodogenic, slightly more hydrating than the Crème Placenta, and focuses on evening out skin tone. So if you have any blemishes, blotches or redness, this is the one for you!
If you’re looking for a very mattifying cream, and your skin is expelling way too much oil for your liking, the Crème Amnios is your perfect solution!
One of my absolute favourites is the Emulsion Gel Biosensible. It’s more like an emulsion rather than a gel, but it’s extremely hydrating as it’s packed with Hyaluronic Acid, but doesn’t leave a wisp on the skin. If you suffer from monthly mild break-outs and your skin is combination and sensitive, this is a definite for you!
Another version of the one above, is the Emulsion Gel Biosensible S.R. It’s similar, but focuses much more on mattifying the skin and is much less hydrating. Perfect if you suffer from ongoing break-outs and a sensitive skin.
Literally, our most sought-after acne cream is the Crème Dermopurifiante. This is our nighttime treatment cream for moderate to severe acne. It will purge your skin as you sleep, bringing all the oils, bacteria and dirt to the surface of your skin, so that by the time you wake up, you simply have to wash it all off with the Lait U. Containing antioxidants, exfoliating acids, oil regulating agents, purifying agents, anti-inflammatory agents and regenerating agents; this cream has it all!
Another option is the Crème aux Acides de Fruits, which is the Fruit Acids Cream. It’s similar to a cream version of the Lotion P50, so it focuses on resurfacing the skin and is really strong. Mostly recommended as a post-acne treatment to repair pigmentation and scarring, and can be used to target problem areas.
In this piece, I have gone through the main products recommended for an unbalanced skin, but to be sure, it’s always best to be consulted by a skin professional. Or, you can take our Advanced Skin Analysis, which has been carefully calibrated to understand which products would cure your skin concerns, depending on your answers.
And, of course, like always, should you have any questions whatsoever, please do call or email us to speak to me or our highly trained skin consultants on 020 3358 9998 or email@example.com.