Tag Archives: acne


Every summer, when it gets really hot, my usual small cluster of bacne starts to act up, and suddenly I have a whole row of comedones and bumps across my shoulders.  Continue reading THE BODY SHOP // TEA TREE SKIN CLEARING FACIAL WASH


Well, if you had asked me not too long ago what I had been using for skincare, the list would have been super long. Continue reading MY SKINCARE // SPRING 2015


Everyone’s favourite acne product from LRP, Effaclar Duo, has undergone a reformulation to make it even better than ever.

Effaclar Duo+ now contains a new ingredient, Procerad, which helps to prevent acne scarring from developping.

Not to worry, Duo+ still contains the ingredients from the beloved original, it’s just been suped up to fight what acne leaves behind.

Ingredients from the original:

  • Niacinamide aka Vitamin B3 (fights inflammation and stops breakouts)
  • Piroctone Olamine (anti-bacterial and anti-fungal)
  • Salicylic Acid & LHA (a precise, gentle exfoliating ingredient)
  • Lineolic Acid (Salicylic acid’s sister)
  • Zinc PCA (regulates sebum)

Did you know that acne scarring can take 3 years to fade away?

Acne scarring and hyperpigmentation affects everyone from fair (red marks) complexions to dark (brown marks). Procerad contains contains cermaides and anti-inflammatory ingredients that prevent melanin from being triggered into developping hyperpigmentation on any skin tone.

Duo+ works to fight inflammation (redness), prevent blemishes and provides hydration to oilier skin. I, myself, have dry combination skin, so if you are like me, I would still recommend a moisturizer over top. It is ever so slightly heavier than the original (Duo+ is like a lightweight moisturizer, the original is more of a gel) and contains a really nice, fresh scent.

Duo+ is suitable for even the most sensitive of skin.

Some other tidbits I learned from the excellent session:

  • There is a different Effaclar product for everyone:
    • Effaclar H for those on Accutane (doesn’t contain exfoliating ingredients)
    • Effaclar K for retentional acne, contains retinol (under the skin bumps, blackheads, whiteheads–you would not be getting any surface pimples any more)
    • Effaclar A.I. for those who get 1 or 2 pimples a month and only need spot treatment
    • Effaclar Mat for dilated pores–this one mattifies and slows down oil production
    • Also in the range: a gel cleanser and toner (which contains LHA!)
  • Effaclar Duo+ can be used as:
    • a spot treatment
    • nightly as a full-face treatment
    • as a preventative treatment on only breakout zones
  • Those suffering from acne-prone skin should be using an SPF every single day to prevent acne scarring, especially if they are taking an oral prescription
  • For those on Accutane, LRP recommends cleansing with their Toleriane cream cleanser and following up with Effaclar H.
    • Did you know: Accutane only gets properly absorbed into your body when taken with a fat (i.e. a tbsp of peanut butter, or a piece of avocado). When combined, you will receive longer-term and better results.

Efflaclar Duo+ will be available in stores August 6th.


This one is for all of you out there that don’t wear sunscreen because you’re scared of breaking out.

I have found your solution.

Not only does Elta MD’s Clear Sunscreen for Breakout-Prone Skin hydrate, but it also protects (SPF), calms skin, fades scarring and prevents breakouts (!!!) with the help of niacinamide (anti-inflammatory) and lactic acid (exfoliating AHA).

It’s a silky white cream that leaves no white residue behind. It completely absorbs into skin without leaving a greasy layer, a sunscreen smell, or pilling (my enemy no.1). Truly weightless and does not leave the feeling of wearing a sunscreen whatsoever. Really, the best sunscreen I have ever used (I know, I said it).

This cream uses the magic of zinc oxide to create a physical barrier from the sun, instead of chemical (which can irritate some sensitive skins or cause breakouts).

A must have for summer in my books.

EltaMD can be found at One to One Studio in Toronto. To find Elta MD at a location near you, complete BeautyNext’s store locator form.



This is probably one of the least glamorous-looking beauty products out there. But, it’s efficacy makes up for it’s un-aesthetically pleasing white tube.

I have now been on Differin for more than three months now (supposedly how long it takes to actually work), and I can definitely see an improvement in my skin.

It has really purged my pores of little under the skin bumps, pimples, blackheads and more. However–don’t get me wrong–I still have some blackheads on my nose, some comedones on my chin and forehead and the occasional cystic pimple. But there are far less of them and this adapalene gel makes them much more manageable.

I used to experience a never ending circle of cystic pimples on my chin and cheeks and now, I may get 1 every two weeks (more likely around my special time of the month) and instead of lurking around for a week before disappearing, the Differin brings down the size and pain significantly in one night and speeds up the healing process to only a day or two. This in itself, for me, is magic.

If you’re expecting Differin to clear up your skin by 3 months, you’re probably dreaming. When I was frustrated and approaching my second month (and going through what seemed like purge cycle upon purge cycle), I found online that Differin really needs at least 4 months to be given a chance. There’s definite improvements so far, so I’m going to stick with it.

Tips for using Differin:

  • Make sure you have thoroughly cleansed your face beforehand, and then wait 15 minutes before applying a pea-sized amount to your entire face. This is not a spot treatment.
  • I usually give the gel a few minutes to sink in before applying my other skincare. If you have oilier skin, you might be able to go without any moisturizer on top, but the retinol can be quite drying.
  • Don’t use any heavy serums, oils or moisturizers over top. Keep it light.
  • If you have uber-sensitive skin, then start slowly by only using it every other night for the first week.
  • Follow the directions: only use a pea-sized amount, cover your entire face and do wait those 15-20 minutes: I read a blog post about a girl who was complaining about it’s efficacy but she was using it totally wrong (using it as a spot treatment after applying moisturizer).
What skincare I’m using along with Differin:
N.B. This might seem like a lot of exfoliation for some, but my skin really needs to be well exfoliated to stay clear. My skin gets congested very easily.

Differin cannot be bought from a department store: you need a prescription from your doctor. As a beauty blogger, I am so lucky to receive many products for free, but all in all, this is the best product that I don’t have to pay for (thank you benefits). So, for now at least, I’ll keep truckin’ and keep you all updated with the results in a few months.


You know how I’m always going on about my chin breakouts being hormonal? Ever wonder how I know I they’re hormonal?

Face mapping is real (even if it sounds fake to you). It’s a combination of Ayurveda and Chinese medicine. Breakouts appear on different parts of your face for a reason, not just by chance. Your face is talking to you! So diagnose your breakouts and see what needs fixing.

Just by looking at where pimples are showing up, you can determine if you might be getting sick, if the air around you is dirty or if certain foods don’t agree with you. It could also help determine any underlying health problems that you might have ignored ordinarily. This little guide will help you determine what could be causing your acne which in turn can help you prevent pimples from forming.

Forehead: Sleep, Stress & Digestion
Get your beauty sleep! Remember that 8 hours is ideal for you to function properly. Sleep doesn’t just affect your brain, it affects your skin too.

Between the Brows: Diet
Take a look at your diet lately. Are you eating too many french fries? Too much cheese? Maybe having one too many glasses of wine? This is definitely where a pimple or two shows up for me if I’ve had a bit too much to drink the night before.

Chin: Hormones
My favourite (not) section of all. If your time of the month is coming up (or you’re ovulating), this is just where some lovely breakouts happen. The sides of the chin are where you will get the most pimples, and the most painful ones too as there are two veins there.  This is also a good place to keep an eye on if you think your hormones might be out of whack.

Cheeks: Respiratory & Pollution
If you live in a smoggy city, or are around smokers a lot, this is where you’re going to see the effects. Also, it could be from that dirty iPhone that you’re squishing into your face every time you get a phone call.

Nose: Heart
This area receives breakouts if your blood pressure ior Vitamin B levels are low. Try to get lots of omegas and cut down on spicy food and meats.


In tune with my acne awareness theme for this week, I come to you with the best acne concealer in the game. Vichy’s Dermablend range is known for their heavy duty results, and while I wouldn’t necessaryily recommend this as a foundation, per say, it makes for the perfect concealer for pimples.

Lisa Eldridge, as usual, discovered and acclaimed this product for it’s high coverage and ability to cover hyper pigmentation and redness. For too long, I was using my under eye concealer as my overall concealer, which resulted in almost highlighted imperfections. Moral of the story; your concealer you use to cover zits, and really anything that isn’t under your eyes should match your foundation.

The combination of this stick‘s coverage, thick texture and easy to apply formula is my best bet when my face just isn’t cooperating. Lisa’s “pinpoint concealing” technique, using a small lip brush and dabbing to blend out edges, gives the best results, but for the sake of how long women actually allot to put their face on in the morning, I prefer the “school-started-five-minutes-ago-and-my-face-is-a-mess” approach and dive right in, lightly dabbing to cover each spot. Set with some powder, you can’t go wrong with this product.

–Anna Raponi


Neither of my parents had serious acne as teens. My sisters seemed to have narrowly avoided that undesirable gene somehow too (and they still freak when they’ve got like one tiny spot). I, on the other hand, have somehow landed a gig with super oily skin (also a gene that no one seems to know the source of), moderate acne and super uneven skin tone.

I started getting pimples in grade eight–so I was like, what, 13? I only wore mascara back then, but eventually invested in a MAC concealer to cover the spots. That’s when I began washing my face night and morning, using some Clinique 3-Step system that completely stripped my skin. I also didn’t know a ton about skincare and generally went for the products that made my skin sting, assuming that that meant it was doing its job.

Since, I’ve tried an abundance of products promising to ‘prevent breakouts’ and ‘even skintone’ and ‘clear spots’ and ‘fade scars’. Just about all I’ve learned is that the majority of them gave me the exact same, mediocre results, and that I needed to talk to someone a little more educated to combat the problem.

In early grade nine, I spoke to my family doctor about what I could do to stop the pimples. She gave me an adapalene/benzoyl peroxide based gel called Tactuo to apply each night. I, hoping for some magic pill to clear my skin, was completely skeptical and not eager to give yet another product a try. To my surprise, it really helped in clearing my skin. Was it flawless? No. But it was the most effective product I had yet to use. I saw consistent results for around a year and a half, and that’s went things went funky. My skin started peeling, I got a lot of cystic pimples, it was a skincare minefield. So since then, I’ve tinkered with products and spa treatments hoping to find a Tactuo equivalent or something to top it altogether. Nothing seemed to be working, and as anyone upset with an aspect of their appearance will understand, it’s so frustrating. Recently, I decided that I needed to approach the problem from it’s roots, and booked an appointment with my doctor.

She basically told me there are three steps to fighting the acne if you feel you need to fight it from within. The most risk-free option is the combination of an antibiotic and an acne-fighting cream for the face. Tactuo, mixed with Minocin, for four months is my current plan. The antibiotics kill the acne bacteria and the Tactuo clears the face of visible spots. If this proves ineffective, she said she recommends birth control in combination with a medicated cream. Birth control, well, controls your hormones, which consequentially better controls how much sebum your body produces (sebum being the oil that your skin naturally produces). Less sebum = less oil and less severe breakouts. Finally, if all else fails, she turns to Accutane (cue the screaming). This stuff has a bad rep, I know. I’m terrified of it too, trust me. This stuff is a form of vitamin A that drastically reduces the amount of oil your skin produces. It has some pretty crazy side effects, like major depression, extreme sun sensitivity, severely dry skin, and well, you can read the long list on WebMD if you want to freak yourself out just a little bit more. The dosage is based on your mass, and once you’ve completed the total prescribed quantity, you stop taking it altogether. What did the doctor have to say about it? It cleared her skin, completely, and she didn’t notice any major side effects, other than a bit of dryness.

Everyone can benefit from a little modern medicine, and while theres a billion and one products out there that promise to give you the face you want, some guidance from a scientific standpoint in my opinion will give you the most effective results.

–Anna Raponi