Sunday, August 26, 2012

The amazing treatment for acne: La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo

[Edit: The original title of this review was "The amazing cure for acne" but I changed it after realizing that "cure" is a misuse of the word.]

In case you haven't heard: I have oily and acne-prone skin. I've only said it about a gazillion times. ;-)

The breakouts never seem to end, and they get especially worse in the summer when heat and sweat enter the scene. Previously, best results were achieved with Aveda's Outer Peace regimen, Murad's anti-acne line, daily use of Clarisonic Mia (with Normal brush), REN Resurfacing AHA Concentrate and pure tea tree oil. When I ran out of the Murad treatment that worked fairly well, my wandering heart wanted to try something different. One of the products recommended by many readers and fellow bloggers is La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo.

La Roche-Posay is a popular French pharmacy line that has been carried by both Shoppers Drug Mart and Rexall in Canada for many years. It sits in the more expensive skincare aisle which I happily ignored in the past for some reason, even as I struggled with acne for years. I think a part of the reluctance was confusion over which product to use and avoidance of the somewhat aggressive sales staff/skincare specialists who tend to jump on anyone poking around that area of the drugstore. (The Vichy staff are especially vigilant.)


LRP Effaclar Duo is sold individually for around CAD$26 but I found a set with the full size along with a sample of the sunscreen and matching cleanser for less than that. Apparently these sets are carried seasonally and the staff at both Shoppers and Rexall are never sure when they'll have the sets in stock or not. The point is: grab 'em when you see 'em. I usually don't purchase back-ups, but in this case I had to.



Here's a look at the contents:


Travel size of Effaclar Gel - I haven't tried this cleanser yet but am told that it is excellent. Since I don't have any issues with the other cleansers in my routine right now, this can wait until my skin decides to go nuts and I'm forced to use it and hope for the best.


Full size of Effaclar Duo - I'm not one to concern myself with visible pores but I liked the sound of "fights severe imperfections." Yep, I have a lot of severe imperfections!


Sample of Anthelios Ultra Fluid Lotion - And I've also heard great things about the Anthelios Ultra Fluid, which is supposed to provide excellent physical sun protection without clogging pores.

Great deal all around, huh?

Effaclar Duo Ingredients:


Do you see what I see? 0.5% salicylic acid. Usually the treatments I go for in the past are 2-5%. It's difficult to break away from the mentality that more isn't necessarily better, but it can't be helped when comparing one product against another. And at the very end, there's even the dreaded word parfum.

But let me tell you: this thing works. Whatever scent there is is very very subtle and I can't even detect it. It's a white cream-gel that applies clear to the face and is instantly absorbed without any weightiness or greasiness. During summers I tend to forgo moisturizers completely (which I know we're not supposed to do but I honestly think less products on my face the better), so my routine has been:

Morning: Cleanser, toner, Effaclar Duo, primer, foundation, etc.
Night: Cleanser + Clarisonic, toner, Effaclar Duo

During the months of May-early July, my face glowed. I'd wake up with almost clear skin. Breakouts would dry overnight and I could even feel its effect underneath the makeup when I'd wipe it off at the end of the day and see that a blemish had shrunken instead of grown.


On top of that, it doesn't sting or irritate in the slightest. It may feel different for dryer skin types, but I felt nothing and simply felt clean. It's been four months of almost twice daily usage and this 40ml tube is still going. (It may show up in next month's empties post though.) I slather it all over my face, starting with a dab of pea-sized amount on each cheek where the large spots tend to accumulate, then the forehead (even though it's clear), the nose (where blackheads took up permanent residence) and the chin and even along the jawline. Luckily I don't break out further south, but I'd extend the application all the way down and around if you suffer from neck-ne/chest-ne/back-ne.

And you just let it do its thing. It doesn't get crusty or become a filmy mess because the skin seems to absorb it, unlike some other topical treatments that just sit on top of the skin.


Now, I say it only worked until early July because that's when I got stressed and started picking at the face and generally let things go crazy. My skin was at its best when I followed the routine stated above twice daily, kept my grimy hands off my face, tried to sleep at a reasonable hour, take vitamins and eat properly. I was also diligent about taking makeup off as soon as I got home instead of letting it stew on the skin for another couple of hours. I slacked off in July, and now I'm paying for it with breakouts again. Recently I also started testing some new products which was clearly a mistake. (Right now I'm sporting a brand new zit above my left eye (!!!))

So the plan is a swift return to the simple routine: cleanser, Clarisonic, toner & Effaclar Duo. I hope that the balance will be restored once more and my skin will forgive me yet again for mistreating it. I have a brand new tube of the Effaclar Duo in waiting in case the current tube dies a sudden death, and I highly highly recommend this product to those out there struggling with oily and acne-prone skin. I can't believe that it took me this long to discover it.

If you struggle with acne, TRY IT. It won't work against hormonal monthly pop-ups or intense cystic acne, but for the every day breakouts that plague skin due to bad reactions or too much makeup wearing - this is your answer. Short of the formula changing or the price skyrocketing, I'm a fan for life.

33 comments:

  1. So glad you found something Liz! I agree-this stuff works! I use it when I get occasional breakouts, and on the large pores around my nose. Cleans the pores right out in a couple of days.
    Most of the La Roche Posay stuff I've tried work great!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's so amazing! Could have saved me years of hassle but at least I found it. :D

      So the stuff for dry skin works too? I want my sister to try those.

      Delete
  2. Yay! I remember seeing these kits at Shoppers when visiting Toronto in the spring! I wish we had those here... Lucky you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You were here in spring? You seem to travel a lot!

      I think being stocked with random European brands is the one advantage Canada has over US. Heard that the French brands aren't as easy to find down there.

      Delete
  3. I've been exploring Vichy lately - I'm trying one of their skin tone correcting serums and I really like it so far! It is higher priced than most drugstore items - probably on level with mid-range brands, actually, but I like that they often go on sale, while department store brands never do. I'm interested in a few of the La Roche-Posay items but skincare is such a slow process :P I haven't seen those sets before, though! Will have to keep an eye out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I had a Vichy sales rep put a bunch of anti-acne stuff on me as well as their foundation stick (which Lisa Eldridge used in her video to cover acne marked skin) and I broke out three hours later. :( I want to like it but doesn't work on me.

      I think a part of what works for me is being diligent and simplifying the routine. Stepping out on either one ends in disaster!

      Delete
  4. Ooh, this sounds very promising! I'm currently trying out some other new skincare stuff, but if it doesn't help (which seems likely, since my skin tends to react poorly to 90% of the things I try on it) I'll hunt this down and try it out. I hope your skin gets back to behaving itself soon!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Amy! It's better now (I drafted this a week or two ago) and almost back to normal. Hope you can find it!

      Delete
  5. Ooh I think I have this--or maybe it's the Effaclar K. But I only use it for huge pimples since I already use Epiduo, a prescription acne gen that contains benzoyl peroxide and adapalene (vitamin A derivitive). I was having a really weird recurrence with my acne some months ago and tried EVERYTHING, but nothing would make it go away. My dr gave me Epiduo and it vanished within a week. LOVE this stuff, but trying to wean off daily use since I read somewhere that excessive BP use dries out the skin and can speed up the appearance of wrinkles/aging

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've only gone to the derm once for prescription but that one didn't work at all, whatever it was. The derm was also awful and really turned me off of going to a doctor for this sort of thing. Glad yours worked! I've tried products with BP but they didn't really work that well on me, but I'll remember Epiduo in case later on. :)

      Delete
  6. Hi Liz, I love the effaclar duo too. At first I was skeptical as to whether it worked or was too harsh for my skin, however now I'm quite sure it works for me. I don't think it necessarily cures acne, but it can control those new outcrops from getting out of control!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah, you caught my misuse of the word cure! Definitely not a cure of course but such a godsend. :DDD Glad to hear it worked for you, too!

      Delete
  7. I'm so pleased for you Liz that you've found something that rocks your world! I know you've struggled with acne and flare ups and it must be such a great feeling to find something that's effective. I know if I ever found something to work on my eczema I'd be praising the heavens!!! The search continues... ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It really really is. And I'm doubly glad that it's half the price of a lot of other great products out there. Have you tried the dry skin series from LRP? Maybe they'll work for your eczema!

      Delete
  8. I love when things work out! This sounds great, but due to having dry skin I may settle for a sample first to see if my skin decides to play ball or freak the eff out. Usually it does the latter...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, we should always test first! I took a leap of faith with this one but it worked out. Hope it works for you too!

      Delete
  9. I love this stuff! This and the Effaclar K saved my skin from the cystic acne that I'd had since last summer! Can't wait to try some Vichy products!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Vichy made me break out but I hope it works for you!

      Delete
  10. It's great when you find something that reliably works :) I'm lucky that I don't struggle with acne but I'm far from perfect too. My skin can get uber sensitive with random eczema patches - just when I don't need them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I really feel for people who breakout AND suffer from dry skin. But I'd take dry skin any day if my face could remain clear. You'll come back to shake your head at me for this. ;)

      Delete
  11. I just picked up a tube based on your recommendation over twitter a few months ago and now your review! I am still in France so I was able to stop in a Pharmacie for it - it's 9.90€ here - the price difference is insane! Now I'm thinking I might go grab a few more to bring back!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Awesome!!! I'm so glad that it worked for you. Yes, I'd recommend stocking up - could make great gifts too. That really is insane. Thanks for letting me know because I had no idea it was that drastic!

      Delete
  12. So glad LRP is working out for you! I had acne-prone skin about a eight years ago and Effaclar totally saved my skin. :) YAAAAAYYYYY!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You were probably one of those people who recommended it to me ages ago - wish I had known about it eight years ago! I think that's when my skin really took a down turn. Have you used the rest of the series? I think I'm fine without it but maybe using the cleanser and toner and moisturizer will make my skin super awesome.

      Delete
  13. I am desperately searching for new skincare myself. Not that I have problems, but I am finally doing some real damage on the samples and have to think about restocking. Night cream running seriously low. And I am addicted to masks, I got a mud one and I don't really love it too much. It's has a drying quality to it. I think my skin isn't oily enough, it is OK for summer, but come winter it's a no-no. I'm also searching high and low for that too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Excellent! I'm trying to plow through some samples this month as well before they expire. I never feel like mud masks actually do anything, and I have oily skin. It seems to work more as a second cleanse more than anything else. I wouldn't spend a lot of money on mud masks.

      Delete
    2. I got it at the drug store. But I am thinking I "need" this Korean brand overnight mask. It's so fun...I need help...like intervention...I've got an organizer for just lip products. And I haven't really bought anything this year, not that I can remember. This summer since I haven't been using make up too much my ambition of using color products up is kind of at an all time low. Grrr summer heat.

      Delete
  14. The "Made in US" version is a lot better for Asian skin and weather (and diets) than the ultra-super-mild "Made in France" version. Yes, there are two very different versions. Be careful what you spend on. The French version is made for the ever so delicate caucasian skin.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's interesting. We only get the French ones here in Canada so I can't speak for the US version. But I am Asian and the French version worked well for me repeatedly. Not sure what you mean by weather and diet because that varies wildly within the Asian continent, not to mention the fact that Asians live everywhere across the globe.

      Delete
  15. Hi Liz,

    It was wonderful reading your site. Currently I am suffering from acne problem and I believe it is due to the dry weather here in Saskatoon. It has been almost two years that I am leaving in Saskatoon, a really cold and dry place. The weather seems to go against my Asian skin all the time. I tried lots of oil-free products but that left my skin extremely dry and peeling and the acne problem showed up even more. I have heard of the La Roche-Posay and thinking to try it this time. By the way, do you use any moisturising cream beside your daily skin care routine? I am afraid that in this dry weather the Effaclar Duo won't keep my skin moisturised enough for the day. My second question to you is do you follow the same routine for all seasons? Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Shahzabeen! My skin has changed since I wrote this post and is much drier now than before. I now have combination skin instead of pure oily, so it is important that I moisturize at this point. But I still break out! And I realize how difficult it is, trying to keep the skin from drying out with anti-acne products. Effaclar Duo is still quite gentle on me but I now add moisturizer on top. Right now I'm using Clarins Multi-Active creams for both day and night.

      In the winter, I actually use a lot more moisturizer. Skincare definitely changes each season. I really liked NUDE ProGenius Oil and it didn't break me out. Another good moisturizer was REN Hydra Calm Global Protection Day Cream. Both kept skin plump and happy.

      My strategy is to treat whichever problem is worse and see if it helps the other problem as well. If you're interested in the products I mentioned, see if you can obtain samples from Sephora and slowly test them out. Shoppers Drug Mart also has samples of LRP Effaclar Duo but it may vary by location. Good luck!

      Delete
  16. Does this stuff work on whiteheads? :(

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Elizabeth. I rarely get whiteheads, so I can't say. :(

      If you're in Canada, stop by a Shoppers Drug Mart and ask for a sample. All I know is that it works well for me as a preventative measure and as a treatment.

      Delete

Thanks for your comment! Commenting is open to any registered user.

In order to reduce spam, comments containing self-promotional links and URLs will not be approved. Also, comments for posts older than 10 days are moderated and will not appear on the page until they have been approved.