Years ago, I did a half-day training on process improvement and, of all the slides and corporate scenarios, there is one thing that stuck with me ever since: when something is not working and you’re making changes to your process, always do so one change at a time. This way, you will be able to track the progress of each change and verify which of the steps has improved your process. Skincare is also a process in itself, as all of you, from beauty junkies to extreme novices, can confirm, but I can never resist the urge to go on a shopping frenzy every time I come across new products (or, even better, seasonal sales)! This is how I constantly end up with a bunch of new acids toners, serums and cleansers every now and then, finding myself in a difficulty to introduce all of these into an already crowded pre-existent routine, and having to use my creativity to ensure the active substances and textures don’t clash with each other, then running to the mirror every morning in the hope for miraculous results quite literally overnight.
This is what happened a few months ago when I decided to incorporate Alpha-H Liquid Gold and Paula’s Choice 1% Retinol into my beauty rituals for the first time. I have been using acids for about a year, although none of them as powerful, but in what concerns retinol, this was my very first experience with this rebellious child of the vitamin world (I’m definitely coining this phrase for posterity!). Turning 30 at the end of December was probably the decisive element in finally taking the plunge into what is believed to be beauty’s most life-changing anti-ageing, anti-wrinkle, anti-acne, anti-everything substance.
I started by using the two products on alternate evenings, first Liquid Gold for an intensive treatment on its own, without any moisturiser, then 1% Retinol the evening after. I could see almost instant results for both formulas after the first use – this time my running to the mirror in the morning did bring visible changes! However, this only lasted for the first 4-5 days, after which my skin started to peel so badly that I had to start emergency moisturising treatments three times a day! I initially thought that some morning hydration would fix it and I applied my foundation before going to work, as per my usual make-up routine, but I quickly noticed that my skin was drying out at a quicker pace throughout the day and I ended up having to remove the foundation and top up with moisturiser every time I saw myself in the mirror.
So I changed my routine once again by taking a week’s break from both products, then reintroducing Liquid Gold 3-4 times a week, alternating with intense avocado oil treatments, which seemed to pay off, giving me my glow and my mojo back. Or until I decided to apply retinol once again which, paired with a severe runny nose and flu symptoms, ended up drying my face even worse than the first time! Unwilling to give up on retinol, I spent quite a lot of time trying to figure out how to magically turn it from an enemy into my skin’s bestie… And thanks to this experience, I discovered the genius of the now-cult La Roche-Posay Cicaplast Baume B5 Soothing Repairing Balm, which has managed to do what seemed to be impossible, meaning to save my skin from a painful, unpleasant and frustrating dryness that not even oils succeeded in healing.
La Roche-Posay Cicaplast Baume B5 Soothing Balm (£13.50/100ml)
With a mix of 5% vitamin B5, madecassoside, glycerin, shea butter and La Roche-Posay Thermal Spring Water, Cicaplast is a good option for irritated skin that feels tight, especially in the winter season or on windy days. It is something in between a thick lotion and a balm, which feels oily and even a little gritty, especially on dry skin, making it a bit of a hard work to apply. But it sinks into the skin surprisingly quick and soothes straight away, especially at times when my skin is too irritated to tolerate any other product. I like applying a few layers of this over the whole evening, or a few times a day when I’m at home, since I’ve actually started to enjoy the rich feeling it leaves on my skin. Having been using the balm regularly since December, it has been helping me adapt my skincare routines around retinol, vitamin C and powerful acids, which despite the magical results, still end up leaving my skin full of dry patches.
La Roche-Posay Serozinc Spray (£8.50/150ml)
Cicaplast is my off-days treatment, and I’ve also started pairing it with La Roche-Posay Serozinc Spray (mostly inspired by the reviews of Caroline Hirons and Arly at Detail Oriented Beauty). Based on zinc sulphate and with only two other ingredients in the formula (water and sodium chloride), this toning mist for oily and blemish-prone complexions is a gentle and light soothing treat for when my skin needs it the most. The dense mist feels like water on the skin and absorbs quite quickly especially at times of dryness, making it great for use both in the morning and evening.
La Roche-Posay has slowly become my go-to brand for emergency care and, given the affordable prices, I will definitely make sure to stock up on these two products for when my skin is desperate for an S.O.S. intervention.
What is your experience with dry, irritated skin? Do you use any La Roche-Posay products?