One of the most common and oft discussed skin concerns is acne. We previously explored how to cure acne and congestion. In that article, we focused on achieving a balanced and settled skin.
We were prompted to write another article on this topic thanks to the metaphorical grey cloud looming over us in the midst of the hazy Summer warmth. Acne prefers a more temperate weather, and the heat causes excess sebum and clogged pores. Thanks to this conundrum, we are always inundated with acne-related questions over the Summer months – so if you are suffering, rest assured you are not alone!
Without further ado, let’s take ourselves on a little scientific journey to understand the hormonal triggers of acne, and the Biologique Recherche regime that we recommend for acne-prone skin.
Understanding hormones and the skin
There are certain periods of our lives that lead to a fluctuation in hormone levels. When female hormones (oestrogen) are low, and male hormones (testosterone) are higher, there is an increase in sebum secretion in the skin.
The greatest secretion occurs through periods when the body is transforming, including puberty, menstrual cycles, pregnancy and menopause. Conditions such as Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) are also caused by an imbalance in hormones, which can show on the skin.
Sebaceous glands form at the hair follicles and secrete sebum (an oily substance) into the follicle. Muscle contractions push the sebum out from the hair follicle, towards the surface of the skin. From left to right in the image below, you can see visually how a sebaceous gland will look when the skin is smooth. In the middle, you can see that too much sebum is being produced, bacteria are reproducing, and the pores are blocked. Finally, the bacteria can cause inflammation, showing on the surface as a red, infected spot. What’s more, skin cells stick to each other easily in this instance, creating a ‘plug’ which prevents the sebum from flowing normally.
Acne tends to appear across the chin and jawline and on the neck and upper back. It may manifest as blackheads and congestion at stage two of the above, and appear as larger, inflamed spots at stage three.
When the infection gets really deep into the skin, cystic acne occurs – you will know when this happens, as you will see a red, tender cyst that is full of puss under the surface of the skin – it’s really important not to try and pop it, as this can spread infection further.
Our suggested skincare routine
Let’s explore a routine suitable for skin with acne, concentrating on regulating sebum secretion whilst calming and protecting the skin. For every skin, we need to concentrate on maintaining a balance between hydration (water), lipids (oils) and protection (antioxidants) - this is no different with skin prone to acne and congestion.
Good things come to those who wait, and it’s important to give it time to regenerate itself when treating it. An epidermal cycle tends to last around 25 days, so we need to wait two epidermal cycles (around two months) to really work on the skin. The results won’t occur overnight, but we wouldn’t abandon a journey halfway to our destination, and so we need continue through our course.
Step one: Cleansing
We know that skin with acne has clogged pores that are infected with bacteria. As teenagers, some of us may recall being recommended astringent filled cleansing products that would leave the skin with a tingly 'squeaky clean' feeling. Though astringents are designed to clean pores, they can irritate skin with acne, and encourage more sebum secretion - therein lays a problem.
We recommend the gentle milk cleanser, Biologique Recherche Lait U, which has been formulated for both oily and sensitive skins. This milk cleanser will preserve the skin’s barrier and protective layer and has a light texture that doesn’t leave an oily film.
Step two: exfoliation
The next step is the Biologique Recherche Lotion P50W. This is an acid exfoliant packed with AHAs and BHAs that can be used daily to resurface the skin, resulting in tightened pores, decreased oil secretion and improved congestion. We don’t recommend using this on active acne (save it for when the irritation has settled). However, when the skin isn’t irritated, this is perfect for unbalanced skin. It has added arnica, so is gentle whilst still packing a punch.
For deep, cystic acne, the product needs to work a little bit harder and penetrate deeper, so we recommend the Lotion P50.
Step three: Masking
If skin is inflamed with acne, the Biologique Recherche Biomagic Mask is gentle but powerful. One of the most popular masks in the range, it is packed full of white clay to purify and mattify the skin. Use it for 20 minutes several times a week to really enjoy the purifying benefits.
When acne is not irritated, inflamed, the Biologique Recherche Masque Vivant is the more potent one. It is a potent blend of yeast, cucumber and lactic acid to control oil, bacteria and detoxify the skin, leaving it mattified, revitalised and minimising pores.
Step four: serums
Serums are uniquely formulated – the small molecules work to quickly penetrate the skin, and Biologique Recherche serums are unique in that you can cocktail up to four to give the skin the different things that it needs.
The Biologique Recherche Complexe Iribiol is packed with Salicylic Acid, so it’s perfect for regulating sebum secretion and is anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial.
The Complexe Iribiol be quite drying, and even though you want to regulate sebum secretion, skin must will be hydrated so cocktail it with the Biologique Recherche Sérum Amniotique E. which is supremely hydrating but doesn’t clog pores and doesn’t contain oils.
Step five: cream
For the morning, the Biologique Recherche Crème Placenta is light and non-comedogenic (won’t clog pores). It also heals imperfections and damage, so is a perfect option for the long-term in achieving a more unified complexion.
In the evening, the Biologique Recherche Crème Dermopurifiante is a purging cream that regulates sebum, purifies the skin, tighten pores and reduces inflammation. Because it purges the skin, it is best used at night and the oils that raise to the surface washed off with Lait U in the morning.
This is no good for cystic acne though, as the infection is deep under the skin, and so the light Emulsion Gel Biosensible S.R. will regulate sebum whilst calming and protecting weakened and sensitive skin.
We have discussed the main products recommended for an oily and unbalanced skin. But every skin is different, so always consult a skin professional to discuss your individual concerns.
You can also take our Skin Analysis online which has an innovative algorithm to understand your concerns and prescribe products based on your answers.
Alternatively, call us on 020 3358 9997 or email email@example.com.