Adult acne is the scourge of the modern woman. We've written about the problem before and it's an issue that needs to be tackled within the medical and pharmaceutical sectors, because acne is a hormone-led condition caused by a surge in testosterone. In that case, there is only so much topical skincare products can do - sure, they can work to treat the symptoms, but they cannot re-balance hormones that are out of whack.
The medical approach is to prescribe antibiotics to battle infection and the pill to tamp down excess testosterone. There's also Roaccutane, an intensive treatment that's been delivering results, but it's not without side-effects - the drying out of your mucus membranes is just one. Arguably, none of these solutions are of use to women who are uncomfortable with regularly pumping their bodies full of penicillin, or who don't want to have to take an oral contraceptive every day of their lives. On the natural side of things, you can also look at taking evening primrose oil, agnus castus and vitamin B, which can help to balance female hormones.
But until there's a really good, workable medical solution, we'll continue to look to topical skincare for ways to manage the problem. And there are some really good products out there, especially if you've got a lot of money to spend. Vitamin A, sulphur and benzoyl peroxides tend to feature in acne preparations, and brands like MD Formulations, Murad, Dermalogica and Environ would all be ones I'd tip the nod to for the problem.
Not a lot of use if you're on a budget though, eh? In which case, you'll probably check out what's available on supermarket shelves, and that can make for depressing shopping. So I may have a solution for you: Nelsons, the homeopathy people, have recently launched a cleansing and treatment suite of products to treat blemishes affordably - nothing is over €12.95.
Pure & Clear includes ingredients like anti-bacterial tea tree oil, healing arnica and hypericum, plus soothing calendula. Add carageen moss into the Purifying Daily Facial Wash, €11.95, and you've got a sulphate- and fragrance-free product that will purify skin kindly; there's also an Oil Control Toner, €11.95, which, while it does contain alcohol, also includes witch hazel and aloe vera. Plus there are cleansing wipes, €8.95 and an Anti-Blemish Treatment Gel, €12.95, to be used directly on top of spots.
There's also Sulphur 30c, €8.25. A targeted treatment, it contains tiny little pills which you swallow. Sulphur is known for its abilities to help skin regenerate - it's essential in collagen production, for example - and you can buy tablets in health food stores, usually at a 6c strength. The 30c indicated on this label mean it's meant for a short course of use - typically about a week.
So, it all looks good on paper - I'm not a test subject, having dry skin - and the only thing that's immediately apparent is the lack of any follow-on products: you'll need to whack on your regular eye and face creams, so it would be good to see Nelsons developing a line of moisturising products that complemented this line.
You'll find Pure & Clear at pharmacies nationwide now.