Quick background on my skin (or reviews are redundant when deciding if these products are right for you); my skin can be described as normal, not oily and not dry. I struggle with thin skin, which is not to be confused with sensitive skin- I can tolerate moderate chemical exfoliation but anything that entails friction is a disaster. I rarely suffer from inflammatory acne but occasionally I develop congestion in the t-zone. I’ve always found that minimal routines suit me best.
Whenever I have both good and bad news, I insist on telling the bad news before the good- I feel like it leaves things on a better note. I also apply this juvenile tendency to blogging.
La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo
I bought this after reading this rave…and this rave, this one and here. People LOVE this stuff. I trialled the product, hoping it would deliver gentle chemical exfoliation (via Beta Hydroxy Acids) and treat localised redness (via Niacinamide, dubbed a cure-it-all ingredient).
EDIT: One should note that there are two formulations of this floating about; a French version and a US version. I am reviewing the French product.
La Roche Posay claims that “Effaclar Duo is a complete skincare product, Niacinamide and Piroctone Olamine to fight against bacterial proliferation and eliminate imperfections…The combination of LHA and Linoleic Acid unclogs pores…These active ingredients are combined with soothing, anti-irritant La Roche-Posay thermal spring water to reduce redness.”
A few tidbits about the product itself…
The product is housed in a tube so no hygiene issues. The consistency is gel-like and the texture rather siliconey- somewhat comparable to Avene Diacneal. It smells rather aquatic and dries down to a slightly tacky finish that appears to provide minor hydration (thumbs up). I applied this nightly for almost a month.
In a sea of elated reviews, I am the dissenting squeak. Effaclar Duo illicits a resounding yuck, from me. Minor congestion I was hoping to treat was exacerbated, probably due to an ingredient in the base (which I have been unable to determine). It must have been doing something because my nose began to resemble sandpaper, my skin’s objection to over exfoliation. After a month of persisting to ensure I wasn’t experiencing ‘purging’, I gave up- I had stubborn clogged pores on my forehead and a nose that could sand timber.
I purchased this from FrenchCosmeticsForLess, a great option for all your French skincare needs (not affiliated).
Makeup Artist’s Choice Mandelic Acid 25% Treatment
Good ol’ Mandelic peel to the rescue. I’m on my second bottle of this stuff yet it always takes a skincare emergency for me to dig it out.
Makeup Artist’s choice claims that this peel will “…rapidly exfoliate dead skin cells and surface debris…. has antimicrobial/antibacterial properties… Less irritating than Glycolic or Lactic acids, due to it’s larger molecular structure.”
A lowdown on Mandelic 25%.
Looks and feels like water, the only giveaway is the scent which is reminiscent of ethanol. The bottle has a spout so minimal chance of cross contamination. Sensation wise, it stings a LOT less than Glycolic or Lactic on my skin, I wouldn’t even call it discomfort because I barely notice any feeling at all.
Initially, I would pour a few drops onto my fingers and pat onto desired areas but I’ve found that saturating a q-tip and then lightly rubbing it on the skin yields much better results (for reasons I cannot explain). After about 3 minutes, I cleanse thoroughly to remove the acid entirely from my skin (important step to avoid irritation). Sometimes I notice minor peeling after two or so days but frequently, not at all.
Performance and effect on my skin was nothing short of miraculous. I may or may not have over applied a bit to compensate for the horrors of the Effaclar Duo experiment, therefore I did experience quite a bit of peeling on the third day. Unveiled was perfectly smooth skin- void of cloggy forehead and sandpaper nose. Minimal irritation and maximum results are the reasons I prefer Mandelic over other Alpha Hydroxy Acids like Glycolic and Lactic.
Makeup Artist’s Choice recommends using this on a weekly basis but this would be overkill on my skin, I plan to use it every few weeks. I would recommend this to both oily and dry skintypes that respond well to chemical exfoliation. SD alcohol is listed third on the ingredient list- an unfortunate necessity to create the right environment for Mandelic to penetrate the skin. However, the contact period of alcohol on the skin is short so it hasn’t posed any issues for me (but be wary if you have strong sensitivities).
Mandelic peel, I promise to never throw you to the back of the drawer again.