Ranking up there with who built the pyramids, who really killed Marilyn Monroe, why Pippa’s bum has attracted such international attention, and how Newt Gingrich has managed to have three wives, is the mystery of clear skin. Some lucky people, who presumably have made a deal with the devil a la David Blaine, sleep in their makeup and wake up with perfect skin. Others credit a vegan lifestyle, eschewing sugar, dairy, and flour, with theirs. Some use extremely vigilant skin routines like Proactiv, monthly facials, and Retin-A. Others had pretty perfect skin through a traditionally acne-riddled period (adolescence) but woke up in their 20s, to what looked like delayed puberty. I fall into the latter category, and am still trying to figure it all out. But for those of us clear skin detectives, Renée Rouleau, celebrity skin care expert and disbeliever in a one-fits-all skincare methodology, is taking the mystery out of the equation by adding science and practicality. Her self-named skincare line caught my eye when I saw bloggers and beauty editors raving about her famed Anti-Cyst treatment all over Twitter. So for you TDO readers, I put together a comprehensive listing of queries and reader questions for Renee, to find out what do we really, really need to know about skincare? Read on:
1. Sum up your skin philosophy in a few sentences.
A one-size-fits-all approach is not in-sync with what the modern client wants, or needs, in their pursuit of balanced, healthy skin. Rather than pigeonhole clients into basic skin types (dry, normal, oily), I’ve created customized, benefits-driven regimens and high-performance formulations that garner meaningful results. With the proper tools, effective products, knowledge and a disciplined regimen, anyone can have great skin.
2. One of the ways that your line is unique in that you describe nine different skin types. Tell us about how you went about identifying these different types.
We know there is more to skin than dry, normal and oily. That’s why we’ve created NINE unique skin types to give your skin the best results. Dry, oily and combo really only tells you how much oil your skin produces. Most people have additional concerns they want to address from hyperpigmentation, teen and adult acne, aging, etc.
3. A lot of people think that acne is a teenage affliction, but adult-onset acne is on the rise. Why do you think that is? What kind of environmental/internal factors are at work?
Men’s hormones calm down after age 20, while women’s will continue on into their adult years. Women can get adult acne and men rarely do. Many women will find as they get older, they get more blemishes before their period and stress-related breakouts due to hormonal shifts in the body. When estrogen drops, the androgen hormones stimulate sebaceous glands to produce more oil and therefore, breakouts occur.
Hormonal-type breakouts usually come in the form of acne cysts—those hard, sore, painful bumps under the skin that linger for weeks. Traditional surface drying spot treatments do not work effectively on those as the infection is deep within the skin. For the deep cystic blemishes, getting a cortisone shot is certainly an option but even easier is a product I developed exclusively for diminishing and preventing cysts called Anti Cyst Treatment.
4. How should you vary your skincare routine from night to day?
It is imperative your skin care routine be different in the morning than at night – or at least for a few products. The reason why you have to use a different routine in the morning than at night is because your skin has different needs during the day than when you are asleep at night. During the day, your skin is in a high level of stress. It’s exposed to makeup, excessive oil production, dirt, bacteria (from touching your skin all day with or without realizing it), UV exposure, pollutants, and other environmental elements. Because of this stress, harmful free radicals are damaging your skin cells and causing wear and tear to your skin’s collagen and the cells’ DNA. Because of this, it is important to use skin care products that will provide proper defense for your skin to control the stress and help prevent damage to your skin.
During the day you want to use a mild cleanser to remove any products you used over night. Then, apply an alcohol free-toner and an anti-oxidant serum (My favorite type of antioxidant is magnesium ascorbyl phosphate – a form of Vitamin C that doesn’t sting or irritate the skin) to the face and neck. Apply a sunscreen (minimum of SPF 30) to the entire face, neck, chest, ears, and any other exposed areas. Apply mineral-based makeup to provide added sun-protecting benefits to the skin.
At night, wash with a mild cleansing lotion to remove the day’s dirt, oil, bacteria and makeup. Apply an alcohol-free toner, and use a nighttime specific anti-aging serum on the face, neck and chest area to help nourish and repair the skin and its cells. Apply a nighttime moisturizer suited for your skin type to hydrate skin cells. Finish by applying a lightweight eye cream.
5. How important is diet in reducing acne? Why is dairy considered to be so bad for the skin?
The challenge is that every person’s body will always react differently, so there is simply no one-size-fits-all culprit for which foods will cause your skin to breakout – if any at all. But one tip I like to share with my clients who experience acne is to keep a food diary, and write down everything you eat, every single day in detail. Generally, food-related blemishes occur 24-48 hours after eating the potential culprit. So when you do get new breakouts, assuming nothing else has changed in your lifestyle or with your skin care products, you can look back and see what you were eating. It may be hard to pinpoint what it is, but if you continue to track your diet in detail, then you may start to see a pattern in eating certain foods when new breakouts appear.
I do recommend avoiding dairy products if your skin is prone to cystic breakouts on the chin and jawline. Many people have heard that greasy foods and chocolate cause breakouts. We don’t find that to be true. When breakouts are cyst-like in the chin and jaw area, most often this is related to excessive ice cream, yogurt, milk, and cheese. Try cutting back on dairy products, and watch your skin clear up!
6. Which of the following has the greatest impact in affecting the health of our skin: diet, skin products, or skin routine?
A combination of all three affects the skin. What’s most important is to understand your skin type and what your skin’s needs are.
7. Reader question: When is the tipping point for taking prescription acne medication? How do I know when is the right time?
While antibiotics can be extremely effective and there are certainly times when they are necessary, I believe that antibiotics can often act as a ‘band-aid’ to give short-term relief. When going off the medication, many find they are right back where they started.
With all of the advancements in skin care ingredients, oral prescriptions aren’t the only option for achieving clearer, blemish-free skin. I personally believe all options should be explored before having to resort to taking pills, and I believe many others feel this way too.
8. Reader question: Does the SPF30 in my makeup provide adequate sunscreen coverage, or do I need to apply an additional layer?
No, makeup containing SPF is not enough. You must have it built into your moisturizer to properly coat and protect the skin cells. Sunscreen is the best anti-aging product and must be used everyday. Makeup with SPF provides an added layer of protection, but it’s not enough.
9. Reader question: I have a monster breakout that always occurs around my period. The pill was effective in preventing it, but I can’t be on it anymore. How do I go about caring for my skin and getting rid of the breakout?
Many women can experience a surge of blemishes at the start of their monthly cycle. This is completely normal, but can be very frustrating. Taking Vitamin B-6 daily one week prior to your cycle will help regulate hormonal imbalances, which can lead to breakout. Calcium-magnesium supplements can also help when taken during this time. It’s also advisable to use an antibacterial cleanser such as the Renée Rouleau AHA/BHA Cleansing Gel during the time when you know that you’ll get blemishes.
10.Reader question: Does washing your face really matter? It seems like it’s a matter of genetics as to whether you break out?
While genetics do play a role, washing your face is very important in controlling acne. Washing your face at night is especially important. Oil on the skin makes for a breeding ground of bacteria, and bacteria will cause blemishes. Sleeping with not only your makeup on, but also the addition of oil, dirt and debris that has built up on the skin during the day, can absolutely trigger new blemishes.
11. Reader question: Is there any way to treat cystic acne apart from prescription medication?
Yes. Cystic acne, whether chronic or intermittent, is one of the most frustrating types of acne lesions to deal with. They are most often resistant to most topical acne treatments since products designed for treating acne generally work on the surface to dry out the bacteria – but in the case of cystic acne, the infection is not on the surface of the skin but rather down in the deeper layers of your skin. If you suffer from cystic acne, I really suggest you give the Renée Rouleau Anti-Cyst Treatment a try. It uses a purified form of lactic acid along with an advanced delivery system to get into the cyst to dissolve and digest the cystic infection and encourage a quicker recovery. Most users find that it heals the cyst 50% quicker than when using nothing at all. I consider it a miracle and so do our clients as it’s been best-seller for 15 years.
12. Reader question: How do you get rid of whiteheads that build up below the skin?
Since whiteheads have no infection (meaning, they are not sore), using harsh acne products will only make them worse by causing dry skin cell build up trapping oil in the skin longer. Exfoliate! Keeping off dead skin cell buildup will help whiteheads purge naturally; however, a good deep pore cleansing facial is also beneficial for removing the impurities within the pores. Whiteheads can be caused from heavy pore-clogging oils like Mineral Oil and Petrolatum so be sure to avoid these ingredients in your products.
13. Reader question: Do facials really make a difference? I feel like I break out more following a facial, and then my skin is immediately clogged again.
Yes, facials are very beneficial. If you are getting a professional facial appropriate for your skin type, a facial should never encourage breakouts. There is one exception. If someone has a lot of acne and we have done a tremendous amount of manual extractions, sometimes the skin will do a self-cleansing by purging old oil and bacteria resulting in a few post-facial breakouts—and that’s actually a good thing.
Getting a facial will clean out pores and balance the skin. When it comes to clogged pores and blackheads, there is not a more effective way to remove them than with manual removal (gentle squeezing) as skin care products will not remove blackheads.
You can visit Renée’s site here, where she also writes for a very informative blog. I particularly like her post about how to care for your skin in your 20’s, which includes all sorts of helpful tips like, drinking hot water lemon first thing in the morning can reduce breakouts.