The acne solution — or just another imposter?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

What it is: Marcelle’s AC-Solution Blemish ControlThe gist of it: Basically, this is a salicylic-based liquid spot treatment with a brush applicator. Like any other spot treatment, it’s made to be put only on breakout-prone areas… and no, we don’t mean your whole face! According to Marcelle this should not only “help regulate sebum production,” it should also reduce inflammation and clogged pores, soothe redness, and “make blemishes disappear.” It’s a tall order to fill if you ask me!

The packaging: What I really disliked about this was that the brush applicator didn’t feel sanitary — it’s touching your acne, then going back in? Somehow it just doesn’t make sense, if you ask me. After a while, due to the nature of the packaging, liquid would “squish” out, welling up around the edge and drying into the sticky mess above and below. In other words. Major points lost for the packaging.

The effectiveness: Personally, I don’t feel like this is an effective treatment for my acne — but before you freak out, remember that different ingredients help target different things! Salicylic is more gentle than something like benzoyl peroxide, but it’s also less effective if you have closed comodones, etc. I find that sulphur-based treatments work best for my skin… acne treatments are just so finicky, it’s hard to write one off for others’ skin!

The ingredients:

ALCOHOL DENAT., AQUA/WATER/EAU, GLYCOLIC ACID, ALOE BARBADENSIS LEAF JUICE, ARGININE, SALICYLIC ACID, HAMAMELIS VIRGINIANA (WITCH HAZEL) WATER, BUTYLENE GLYCOL, SODIUM HYDROXIDE, CHAMOMILLA RECUTITA (MATRICARIA) FLOWER EXTRACT, HYDROXYETHYLCELLULOSE , BISABOLOL, ALLANTOIN

The verdict? I would pass on this one. Though the packaging was cute, it’s also the product’s major downfall — with the mess that it makes, I really don’t think this blemish treatment’s worth the hassle, even if you’re a salicylic lover. That doesn’t mean the whole line’s a writeoff, though! I’m a fan of the AC-Solution cleanser, as well as the toner (which I haven’t yet found the time to review.)

A cleanser to cure the "cleanser blahs"

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

What it is: Marcelle‘s AC-Solution Purifying Foaming Cleanser

Packaging: I wanted to mention this first because I really love the packaging for this cleanser — it’s sturdy and super easy to use (unlike my Aveeno cleansing pump, this pump actually pops back up. Stunning, right?). The best part about this packaging, though, is that Marcelle didn’t skimp on spending money on quality: the pump not only feels sturdy, but produces a very stiff foam. I’ve dealt with a lot of pumps that turn liquids into foams, and what I’ve found is the “cheaper” the packaging feels, the more watery the foam is.

(I also like how the bottle looks very… clean. Decide for yourself, but I adore the simplicity and minimalistic qualities of Marcelle’s packaging!)

Formula: I can’t say about how effective this is against acne, as I’m testing out the WHOLE regimen and will give results at the end, but this is a wonderful cleanser for anyone with combination and/or oily skin. When used in conjunction with the AC-Solution toner, my face is actually less oily — and yes, I’m sure about this! I used to get oily around 10 and have to oil blot by noon, but now at noon I’m just starting to develop shininess in my t-zone.

The salicylic acid in this means it doesn’t exactly smell like roses, but it’s not particularily offensive and doesn’t hang around like a bad ex-boyfriend. I know that salycilic acid can be too harsh for some, so keep that in mind, but the concentrations are (I think) fairly low — I tend to be very sensitive to things, but this didn’t overdry my skin or worsen the patches of rosacea I have around my jawline.

Ingredients


AQUA/WATER/EAU, SODIUM C14-16 OLEFIN SULFONATE, DECYL GLUCOSIDE, COCAMIDOPROPYL BETAINE, PROPYLENE GLYCOL, GLYCERIN, SALICYLIC ACID, TRIETHANOLAMINE, ZINC GLUCONATE, DIAZOLIDINYL UREA , ALLANTOIN, COCAMIDE MEA, BISABOLOL, DISODIUM EDTA, TOCOPHERYL ACETATE, IODOPROPYNYL BUTYLCARBAMATE

All you really need to know is that this is paraben-free, yay!! It also contains salicylic acid, hence the acne-fighting bit.


The verdict? If you have access to Marcelle (this means you, Canadians!) and have oily, combination, or acne-prone skin, check this out. I really liked it, and will most likely re-buy! At $13.50 for 150mL it’s pricier than some other drugstore cleansers, but certainly not “expensive” — and remember, because this is a foam-from-liquid, you use less each time compared to, say, a cream cleanser.

Apparently what we want does not exist

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The problem? You all know it well — I just finished a massive breakout, and I scar awfully. So, to deal with it, I’ve been working with different mixes and products and methods.

What I’ve come up with is a DIY recipe using foundation, moisturiser, and the non-sulphur-based acne treatment of your choice to create a zit-busting tinted moisturiser. I prefer to do this because a) I haven’t found a TM that also treats acne, and b) this way, I already know that what I’m putting on my face won’t break me out.

  1. To start, put a small dab of foundation on the back of your hand. (I use minerals, so I just tap it carefully onto the flat part of my hand and try not to sneeze or trip).
  2. Match this amount with some moisturiser. I like to keep it oil-free, lightweight, and with an SPF of at least 30.
  3. Add a small dab of your acne treatment. I use 10% benzoyl peroxide and the treatment-to-moisturiser ratio is probably about 1:5. Don’t use too much, as it’ll induce the dreaded flakies!
  4. Blend with your fingertips (of the other hand) and apply.

The exact things I’m using are Everyday Minerals Intensive Foundation in “Sandy Fair,” Bioré SkinPreservation moisturiser (review upcoming… once I’ve tried it for a while longer,) and Clean & Clear “Persa-Gel 10″. Feel free to go here to read more about how I’m dealing with suddenly having acne!

Skin update!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Ever since I returned from Quebec, I’ve been breaking out like mad — perhaps it’s the climate change (to this awful, dry, volatile place,) perhaps it’s the stress, or perhaps it’s the zillion new skincare products I’ve tried out in the last few weeks.

Either way, there’s a problem: Rae’s flawless skin is becoming un-flawless! So, over the next few weeks, starting with today’s Mario Badescu review, I suspect you’ll be hearing about products I’ve been using to treat and conceal. I’ve been fine-tuning my skincare routine over the past few weeks, and so far, so good. My skin and I are quickly on the way to recovery, so I hope we can help you out too!

(For the record, if you have chronic cystic acne and very oily skin, my recommendations still might not be the best for you. I know that my definition of “breaking out” is much different from most people’s, and that’s simply because I’m used to seeing ZERO blemishes on my face… so when I suddenly have four large, painful ones, it really is out-of-the-norm for me, and enough to get me worried.)

Just skin, flesh, and bones.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

After numerous “OH MY GOD I LOVE YOUR SKIN” comments (and the much less startling “may I inquire about your skincare regimen?” ones — thank god for sane people, you keep me… well, sane!) I’m finally posting about my skincare regimen.

Applause.

Skin is one of the things I keep fairly drugstore, simply because I think that you can get great skincare stuff for cheap! Unless you have major problem skin, spending $90 on a .5oz moisturiser just doesn’t make sense.

Scroll down/read all the way to the bottom to see my #1 skin tip.

Cleansing

I’ve been using something that just got discontinued (GOD DAMMIT) so I won’t tell you what it is. However, I’m going to switch over to Aveeno’s Ultra Calming foaming cleanser for the nighttime and a rosewater/glycerine blend in the morning, to try and help with the dryness (which I’m hoping is in part becasue of over-cleansing, though knowing my luck it probably isn’t.)

I have used the Aveeno once or twice out of curiosity, and it looks good so far! No adverse reaction, and it’s quite hard for a cleanser to make your skin breakout in my opinion – they clean, and promptly are cleaned off. The only reason they should be causing acne or oiliness is if they aren’t cleaning enough!

Moisturising

This changes on a daily basis for me, depending on what sunscreen I’m using. But, for the most part, I use Olay Complete for Sensitive Skin creme both in the day and the night. If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it, right? It’s only SPF15 (boo) but I’m hesitant to try other things because I’ve only encountered failure when trying out new moisturisers.

It’s much more likely to screw up your skin with a moisturiser than it is to screw it up with a cleanser, as these stay on your skin all day long! However, you must be sure to wait at least 28 days before judging a new moisturiser – if it truly is clogging your pores, that’s about how long it will take for you to break out. Anything else and it’s either a coincidence or a form of allergic reaction (or irritation. It’s possible that a moisturiser will make it look like you’re breaking out after only 24 hours, simply because your underlying acne surfaces/reddens due to irritation!)

Priming and toning

Quite frankly, I rarely do either. My skin is still young enough that neither is really necessary, though I do on occasion prime. (For this I love The Body Shop’s Vitamin C Skin boost, a gorgeously smooth, fresh, and incredibly luxe moisturiser/serum/treatment.)

As for a toner? I’ll be switching over to morning-cleansing with a toner soon (once I can find a bottle of rosewater, dammit! Everyone is out of stock!) not because I want to tighten my skin, or extract oil, or anything along those lines. Rather, I’m doing it because I don’t want to over-cleanse!! I’m thinking that’s why I’m super-dry during parts of the day and slightly oily during others.

Acne

Fortunately, I’ve never really had a problem with facial acne – my problem is on my back! (ick.) To treat this, I’ve used Neutrogena’s Oil-Free Body Wash religiously (for the past three years or so!) following up with Clearasil Ultra Vanishing Cream (2% salycilic acid, 1.5% benzoyl peroxide). I still have acne, so this isn’t the holy grail duo for me, but they do really help tone it down. Plus, the body wash was released about a year ago in another scent – grapefruit, one of my favourits! It smells fantastic.

When I do have acne on my face – and I almost always have one pesky little zit, don’t get me wrong – I treat it with one of two things: Clean & Clear Persa-Gel 10 (not available in Canada, so my sister and I stock up while we’re in the US. Canucks, you can pick up Persa-Gel 5, but not 10. 5/10% benzoyl peroxide.) or Mario Badescu’s Drying Cream (sulfer). The latter is a new addition to my skincare routine, and it’s been incredibly effective!

(Plus, the Drying Cream is meant to be used during the day and layered under concealer – it’s amazingly opaque and has very good hold, so not only does it treat, it helps
colour-correct/conceal!)

*for those of you with major “teenage acne”, consider $50/month on a facial instead of on tons of expensive skincare products. It’s fun, feels great, and will help a ton (as long as you’re getting the right facial!) Just find a facialist that you like who knows his/her stuff!

** on another note, make sure you keep your phone and cellphone clean to keep bacteria off your cheeks. I’m not even kidding. Spray it with some alcohol every couple of weeks or every month!

LOLfacials.
Did you really think all these images could be serious?!

Suncare

Always wear it! Please see the following links: PureScreen, specific listings, Skincare: sun

Masks etc

I only use one mask on a semi-regular basis: Queen Helene’s Mint Julep Mask. It’s very cheap and very effective – what more can you ask for? And, just for the record, it’s great on both my t-zone and my mom’s very oily one. (I just have to make sure I rinse mine off earlier if it starts to feel too tight as it dries.)

Other

Feel free to ask about any skin-specific recommendations and so fourth! Though I cannot promise I’ll be able to answer all your problems right now (oh god! Busy!) I do have a number of lists compiled for various products and for various skin types, found through reading a lot of reviews on sites like drugstore.com, Sephora, and Makeup Alley.

Aside from that – just don’t stress about your skin. We all have skin problems and they’re all understandable! Stress only makes it worse (yes, stress can cause acne!)

So here’s my big skin secret, and the reason why it always looks flawless:

Powder and foundation suffocate your skin. Let it breathe!


For me, this means spot-concealing only where I have to, and setting only in those areas. Keep those hands away from your face – they get dirty when you’re out and about. Who knows what bacteria you picked up off that doorknob? Do you realy want that on your face? Powder (like my HG silica) is special-occasion-only, and foundation? Blog-look-only! I cleanse right when I get home, cutting down the amout of time my skin spends in makeup by half. And nothing on the weekends!

I know, I know, it sucks. But five years with mild acne and having it fairly exposed, as opposed to ten years with major cystic acne and a slather of foundation over it? I choose the former. Trust me – you’ll thank yourself for it when you’re twenty-two and have gorgeous, scar-free skin! (Unlike all of your friends. Poor things never got a chance to read this post *ahem*)

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