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Expert Advice, Hints & Tips from the Professionals

Florence Benech
Pharmacist
Director of Vichy Laboratories - Active Cosmetics

Anti-blemish

Find answers to common questions asked to experts like dermatologists, pharmacists and nutrionists with hints and tips on achieving healthy-looking skin, scalp & hair.

Dermatologist's Advice

How can teenagers prevent skin imperfections?

Did you know?
Skin imperfections occur frequently during puberty. More than 76% of teenagers have skin problems between the ages of 11 and 18! At this stage of life, hormonal secretions, especially androgens (male hormones), are at their peak. They are what triggers puberty, but they also cause an increase in secretions from the sebaceous glands. Other factors, such as stress, fatigue and pollution, also contribute to this excess production, which tends to generate micro-inflammations that cause imperfections.

What to do on a daily basis:
Good skin hygiene is essential at this stage of life in order to avoid excessive irritation of the sebaceous glands, especially by micro-organisms. However, avoid being too aggressive with the skin since it will react by producing more sebum. Every morning and evening, eliminate impurities and sebum with a gentle cleanser that respects your skin’s pH. If imperfections become too invasive, consult a dermatologist.

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Dermatologist's advice

During adulthood, imperfections can reappear periodically. What should I do?

Did you know?
Teens are not the only ones who have skin imperfections. Adults, especially women, are also faced with this recurring problem. Women often have particularly sensitive skin, probably for genetic reasons, and have sebaceous glands with a large number of nerve endings. Cyclic hormonal variations, as well as stress, fatigue and pollution, can stimulate these glands’ sensitivity on a daily basis and disrupt sebum production. These small aggressions generate micro-inflammations that result in imperfections and irritate the dermis. This is why skin problems can be recurrent.

What to do on a daily basis
Using a gentle cleanser every morning and evening is essential to avoid prolonged contact with impurities that can cause irritations and to eliminate excess sebum. You need to make sure your skin “trusts you” – don’t treat it harshly to avoid stimulating secretions from the sebaceous glands and destabilising the cutaneous flora. Use protective, regulating and soothing skin care products adapted to your skin type. Your skin will appreciate them and you will be able to use them over a long period.

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Dermatologist's Advice

I have fewer imperfections during the summer. Are UV rays a good cure?

Did you know?
Since the sun dries out imperfections and improves the sebum’s fluidity, the skin seems cleaner. However, UV rays can cause the skin to thicken and the sebum ducts become thinner, so the sebum accumulates in the deeper layers of the skin. When you get back from your holiday, the accumulated sebum comes back to the skin’s surface and creates new imperfections, often more than before – this is what is known as the “rebound effect”.

What to do on a daily basis
During the summer, it is important not to change your good skin care habits. Continue gently cleansing your skin every morning and evening and applying your soothing and regulating skin care product. You should also control how much sun exposure you have. Avoid tanning too quickly; instead expose yourself progressively after applying a sunscreen lotion with an SPF of at least 30. If you are following a medical treatment for acne, avoid sun exposure altogether.

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Dermatologist's Advice

I have fewer imperfections during the summer. Are UV rays a good cure?

Did you know?
Since the sun dries out imperfections and improves the sebum’s fluidity, the skin seems cleaner. However, UV rays can cause the skin to thicken and the sebum ducts become thinner, so the sebum accumulates in the deeper layers of the skin. When you get back from your holiday, the accumulated sebum comes back to the skin’s surface and creates new imperfections, often more than before – this is what is known as the “rebound effect”.

What to do on a daily basis
During the summer, it is important not to change your good skin care habits. Continue gently cleansing your skin every morning and evening and applying your soothing and regulating skin care product. You should also control how much sun exposure you have. Avoid tanning too quickly; instead expose yourself progressively after applying a sunscreen lotion with an SPF of at least 30. If you are following a medical treatment for acne, avoid sun exposure altogether.

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Gynaecologist’s advice

Is the pill helpful for women who have problem skin?

Did you know?
Androgenic hormones tend to stimulate production by the sebaceous glands, which can cause skin imperfections. Since the birth control pill stops the ovaries secreting hormones (especially androgens), and since it contains synthetic oestrogen, it can be beneficial for women with skin problems. However, this positive impact depends largely on the progestin it contains. Some birth control pills contain progestins that are testosterone derivatives, which can aggravate the problem, but this is not always the case.

What to do:
If you’re experiencing skin problems, mention it to your gynaecologist. There are several birth control pills on the market, and he or she may be able to recommend a pill that will be a good contraceptive and also help solve your skin problems (for example a pill containing new, less androgenic progestins).

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Nutritionist’s advice

Should I stay away from certain foods to avoid skin imperfections?

Did you know?
We have a tendency to think that there is a link between food and acne. At the top of the list of incriminating foods, we find fatty and sugary foods such as cold meats, cheese and chocolate. Controversial studies have suggested that foods with a high glycaemic index could increase the risk of skin problems. However, as yet there is no consensus on this subject.

What to do on a daily basis:
If you repeatedly notice that your skin seems to get worse after you’ve eaten a particular food, limit your intake of that food. Don’t forget that a balanced diet rich in fruit and vegetables is always recommended.

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Nutritionist’s advice

Should I stay away from certain foods to avoid skin imperfections?

Did you know?
We have a tendency to think that there is a link between food and acne. At the top of the list of incriminating foods, we find fatty and sugary foods such as cold meats, cheese and chocolate. Controversial studies have suggested that foods with a high glycaemic index could increase the risk of skin problems. However, as yet there is no consensus on this subject.

What to do on a daily basis:
If you repeatedly notice that your skin seems to get worse after you’ve eaten a particular food, limit your intake of that food. Don’t forget that a balanced diet rich in fruit and vegetables is always recommended.

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Pharmacist’s advice

Should people with skin imperfections avoid wearing make-up?

Did you know?
It is quite natural to want to hide your skin’s imperfections. However, imperfections are caused by a combination of mechanisms. There is usually an excess of sebum and an accumulation of dead cells in the sebum ducts, together with micro-organisms that feed on the sebum and trigger irritation, perpetuating excess sebum production. It is therefore important to choose your make-up products very carefully so that they don’t aggravate any of the mechanisms responsible for imperfections.

What to do:
It is always best to choose make-up products that are appropriate for skin with imperfections. Opt for light, non-oily products that are also non-comedogenic and won’t clog pores. Make sure your skin is thoroughly clean before applying the make-up with perfectly clean hands. Don’t forget to carefully remove the make-up at the end of the day.

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Pharmacist’s advice

Can exfoliating help prevent imperfections?

Did you know?
One of the causes of imperfections is the obstruction of the sebum ducts with accumulated dead cells. An exfoliating product can eliminate some of these dead cells. However, skin with imperfections is easily irritated and small inflammations promote excess sebum production. Exfoliating is ideal for skin with light and occasional imperfections, but people with sensitive skin must make sure not to irritate their skin.

What to do
Exfoliation can help reduce imperfections but it must not be too aggressive for the skin. Choose a gentle scrub and don’t use it more than once a week.

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Pharmacist’s advice

Is applying alcohol to my spots an effective way of eliminating them?

Did you know?
alcohol could be beneficial in treating skin imperfections. However, this is not the case. Disinfecting the entire flora without targeting the excess secretion of sebum encourages the return of bacteria that feed on the excess sebum and cause imperfections. Also, alcohol irritates the skin and dries it out, which can ultimately increase the production of sebum.

What to do:
To clean the skin, use a gentle cleansing lotion or cream. Some anti-imperfection skin care products may contain alcohol but in association with other ingredients that regulate sebum production, eliminate dead cells that clog pores and soothe irritations.

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Pharmacist’s advice

Can the skin get used to an anti-imperfection cream to the point that it becomes ineffective?

Did you know?
The skin cannot “get used” to a product. On the contrary, the efficacy of a product depends on regular use and increases with time. At least two months of treatment are generally required to get good results on imperfections, and often the problem persists when the treatment is discontinued too soon. Make sure you choose a skin care product that is suitable for your skin type.

What to do:
Use skin care products that you like and will use continuously for several months. If the skin care product you are using shows no results after two months, it could be that your cleanser is not suited to your skin type, that it is too aggressive or not effective enough. Go over your skin care routine with your pharmacist, or, if the problems increase, consult your dermatologist.

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Psychologist’s advice

Can acne be responsible for a loss of self-esteem, especially with teenagers?

Did you know?
Several studies have shown that acne can have a negative impact on self-esteem and on social and sentimental well-being. Skin imperfections are often the first cause of physical obsessions, way before weight problems. And the way we feel is often out of proportion with the actual severity of the problem. Spots that are almost invisible can become the source of considerable distress. The psychological impact of skin problems on teenagers is all the more serious since it occurs during a formative period of their lives during which they are building their identity.

What to do
Acne is a real source of anxiety and should not be taken lightly. This condition must be controlled as early as possible. A dermatologist will be able to suggest various effective treatments that will clear the skin and restore the self-esteem that is so desperately important at this time of life.

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Psychologist’s advice

Can acne be responsible for a loss of self-esteem, especially with teenagers?

Did you know?
Several studies have shown that acne can have a negative impact on self-esteem and on social and sentimental well-being. Skin imperfections are often the first cause of physical obsessions, way before weight problems. And the way we feel is often out of proportion with the actual severity of the problem. Spots that are almost invisible can become the source of considerable distress. The psychological impact of skin problems on teenagers is all the more serious since it occurs during a formative period of their lives during which they are building their identity.

What to do
Acne is a real source of anxiety and should not be taken lightly. This condition must be controlled as early as possible. A dermatologist will be able to suggest various effective treatments that will clear the skin and restore the self-esteem that is so desperately important at this time of life.

Share this advice

Send this page by email

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