As I went back to France for the Christmas holiday, I went to one of my favorite beauty stores in France: French Pharmacies! Even if I’ve switched to a clean beauty routine recently, I’m still very obsessed with French Pharmacies; especially because they offer an extensive array of effective acne-focused products for high-street prices. I’ve been dealing with acne/breakouts, redness and oily skin for one year. As you can see in my last video, my skin is way much better compared to what it used to be, however, I’m still dealing occasionally with breakouts (and acne scars) around my chin. Skin care products of French pharmacy brands like Avene, Vichy, and La Roche-Posay are reputed to solve oily skin’s problems and are even prescribed by French dermatologists. That’s why I wanted to go back to basics and I listed for you the best French pharmacy acne-focused products that are really effective to beat acne –the French way.
French Pharmacy Products French Girls Use To Treat Their Acne
As I said previously in this post, I’m not a huge fan of conventional soap-based cleansers, which are made with industrial surfactants that strip and dry the skin. Stripping the skin by using a harsh soap-based cleanser can lead to dryness, imbalanced pH, and removes some of the healthy bacteria you need to keep your skin healthy. It seems logical to use a soap-based cleanser on oily skin that will blitz the grease away, but the fact is if you go too harsh you’re making the problem worse, as skin’s natural response when it’s stripped is to just produce more oil and sebum (and acne).
Whatever the condition of my skin, I’m always using a micellar water or a good cleansing milk which perfectly whisk away dirt, oil, and makeup without drying the skin. Bioderma H2O is a clear, odorless fluid that you soak a cotton round with, sweeping it over your eyes, face, wherever, to remove makeup and impurities. I much prefer it to oil-based makeup removers, especially during days when I have oily skin. Then, I remove any makeup and impurities left with a mist of Avene Thermal Water.
During bad skin days, I will use the Vichy Purete Thermale French Cleansing Gel; a lightweight gel cleanser with glycerin to moisturize the skin, with Amilite Technology to soften the effect of hard water and with Moringa to cleanse dust, excess sebum and pollution from the skin. A couple times a week you can use as well the Vichy Normaderm 3 in 1 as a scrub, cleanser, and mask, or the Avène’s Cleanance Cleansing Gel; the soap-free gel helps regulate oil secretion and prevents blemishes without irritation as the pH adjusted formula respects skin’s natural balance to mattify and moisturize the skin.
The Serozinc toning spray is one of the best-selling products from La Roche-Posay and I’m not surprised as it works wonders on my skin. Serozinc is created with just three ingredients: water, healing zinc sulphate (0.10%) and astringent sodium chloride (0.75%). Together, these three ingredients target blemishes, marks, and excess oiliness, ensuring your complexion feels fresh and comfortable at any time of day.
The versatile formula is perfect for use as a toner between cleansing and moisturizing, or it can be used at any time of day to refresh and treat your skin. It’s a simple and effective solution to help mattify oily skin, prevent excess shine and tighten the appearance of pores every day. This lightweight mist rebalances oily complexions, leaving it with a matte finish which actually lasts all day; an absolute must for people who suffer from regular breakouts (like me).
A true anti-acne hero, La Roche-Posay’s Effaclar Duo is a favorite among French dermatologists who prescribe the effective oil-free formula to those plagued by blemishes (like me). Effaclar Duo+ is pretty much the product that made La Roche-Posay the loved skincare brand that they are now, and it definitely has cult status. Designed to unclog pores and refine skin texture whilst providing essential moisture, it is suitable for even sensitive skin.
Anti-inflammatory niacinamide intensely soothes, zinc PCA controls sebum to mattify and control shine, while LHA and salicylic acid gently exfoliate the surface of the skin. The bestselling Duo formula is enhanced with Procerad, a patented ceramide that rebuilds the skin’s surface and prevents the red and brown pigmentation marks left behind by acne. I love this treatment as it corrects the appearance of blemishes while unclogging blocked pores, controlling shine and refining the skin’s texture. During bad skin days, I usually apply to the face and neck every morning and evening after cleansing, and I follow with a moisturizer to avoid dryness.
Whatever active ingredients you’re using to fight acne (benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, niacinamide, etc.), never stop moisturizing. Moisturizing is vital to the appearance of healthy skin—even if you’re oily or acne-prone. This step allows your skin to replenish its natural storage of hydration and moisture to maintain a strong barrier, prevent water loss and maintain balance. Those with dry skin should gravitate towards richer oil-based creams and normal to oily skin types should seek humectant ingredients such as hyaluronic acid to help hydrate the skin.
I’m usually using two different moisturizers: one for the day and one for the night. A day moisturizer should aim to soothe and protect the skin from all skin’s aggressors (UV, pollution, stress, etc.). For this purpose, I’m using La Roche-Posay’s Toleriane Sensitive Fluide or Avene’s Hydrance Light Hydrating Emulsion in combination with Clarin’s Sun Wrinkle Control Cream UVB50+ in order to protect my skin from the sun’s harsh rays. Skin is perfectly hydrated and protected from sun-induced aging, such as pigmentation, wrinkles, and a loss of firmness. On the other hand, a night moisturizer should aim to help to mimic the skin’s key repair activity during deep sleep in order to leave the skin smoother, radiant and well-rested. In combination with La Roche-Posay’s Effaclar Duo, I’m using La Roche-Posay Hydraphase Intense Light Intensive Rehydrating Skincare which provides intense and lasting moisturization for skin that lacks suppleness and hydration (infused with glycerin and sodium hyaluronate).
I love to use this mask especially when my skin is oily and my pores are clogged. La Roche-Posay Effaclar Sebo-Controlling Mask is the first clay mask that clarifies congested skin. Designed to gently remove excess sebum from the skin’s surface without over-drying or causing inflammation, the Effaclar Sebo-Controlling Mask is an ideal skin care treatment for oily and blemish-prone skin types.
Formulated with Argilla and Kaolin clays, which remove sebum from deep within the skin, the innovative mask will help to mattify skin over time. La Roche-Posay’s Effaclar Sebo-Controlling Mask contains 5% Panthenol B5, which soothes and calms the skin after sebum-extraction, minimizing the risks of over-stimulating sebum glands, while CellubeadsTM helps to remove all impurities for an in-depth cleansing action that leaves skin clear, calm and shine-free. I’m using this mask once up to twice a week depending on the condition of my skin. After cleansing, I apply a thin layer and leave it to dry for 5 minutes, then I wipe off gently with cold water and a towel.
Hexomedine Transcutanée is a cult French pharmacy product, which cost around 3 euros and which is fantastic to treat either acne flare-up or cystic acne pimples. The antiseptic gently penetrates the skin to dry out acne from the inside out and reduces redness, swelling, and bacterial infection in 48 hours. This product is magic; at night I just put Hexomedine on cystic acne pimple with a Q-tip and I leave the product in for ~1-2 minutes. It takes around two to three nights to dry up any acne flare-up or cystic acne.