October 19, 2013

A review of the Vichy Normaderm essential line and some thoughts about treating acne

I was sent a couple of products to try from the Normaderm Range, a range engineered to target blemishes and imperfections for asian skin types. This is my first time trying the Vichy line and I'm glad to be given a couple of products to use for a few weeks. I have always encountered the Vichy line in French pharmacies, but have always preferred Caudalie, Bioderma, and La Roche Posay for their carefully selected range of products. 

Altogether, I have used cleansing - toning - spot treatment - moisturising steps for 3 weeks now, which gives me a good sense of how my skin is doing with this new series of skincare. 

First of all, let me first explain my skin type. My skin is quite sensitive after a year's worth of Roaccutane treatments, lasers, and many prescription acne creams. After years of suffering from adult acne, my skin is now trouble-free. I am left with acne scarring that appears as blemishes or small pits on my cheeks. I no longer get angry zits, but instead, have small occasional white heads from bouts of stress or grimy exercise. 

When my skincare is concerned, I use products that contain skincare ingredients that I am familiar with -- so these would be salicylic acids, hyaluronic acids, AHAs, etc. I am a skeptic with other kinds of patented or pending-patented skincare ingredients are advertised on new anti-aging products. I think my dermatologist would only agree with me on this. So I stick with the basics and so far a simple regimen of cleanse-tone-moisturise has been easy to follow and effective. I used to spend hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars on skincare in the past. Today, my skincare is so simple that I wouldn't even dream of forking hundreds for a new anti-aging cream. If I remember correctly, Normaderm products are priced at $20-30 for the basic cleanser and toner, and less than $40 for the moisturiser. You can get them for a discount of course... and Watsons is having their usual 'up to 30%' sale this week.  

Briefly, the Vichy Normaderm range is targeted for age groups from teens to early thirties. The common theme with their products is to minimise pores, improve texture and imperfection of the skin, target blemishes, and cleanse effectively to prevent further acne break outs. So if this sounds like your kind of product then read on. 

Lets start with the Vichy Normaderm Purifying Cleansing Gel. This was a tough contender between my beloved IPSA Cleansing Smooth Foam. To me, cleansers must give me the awesome experience -- so scent, rich lather, cleansing and the texture of the skin are important features.  This cleanser was ok at producing lather and leaves my skin feeling cleansed but not tight. It promises to eliminate impurities and unclog pores... all wonderful. But I guess it really boils down to 'experience'. I find that it lacks the super dense rich lather that I so enjoy with many of the Japanese cleansers. However, lathering experience (for lack of better term) is purely a personal preference since lather has very little to do with cleansing. 

Active ingredients: salicylic acid, glycolic acid and LHA. In short, these are acids that help to texturise the skin. 

The maximum lather I achieved...

After the cleansing and towelling off, Vichy Normaderm Imperfection Prone Skin Lotion would be the next step. It gently tightens pores and contains 0% alcohol. Good for skin that is acne prone and oily. 

'Toner is just a marketing gimmick' - nod your head if you agree with this statement. I certainly did in the past. I think it's funny how toners are never called toners anymore -- instead, they are termed beauty waters, lotions, essence waters, elixers, etc. I think I'm going to get into trouble for saying this, but I seriously believe that SK2 Treatment Essence is just a toner with SOME skincare ingredients. There, I said it. So if SK2 Treatment Essence has been effective for you, then please ignore my comment OR contend with me on this because I have not achieved $100-$200-worth of spectacular results. Ok, fine... I'm frugal, but I'm realistic too. Save those $$ for lipsticks instead! 

Anyway, lets resume. The Vichy Normaderm Imperfection Prone Skin toner was good at best to prepare the skin for serum/moisturisers. It has a slight clean scent too which I liked. Would I buy this next time? Maybe. I would really like a toner with more hydration. 

I soak normal cotton pads I get from Watsons and tone my entire face and neck.

Interestingly, the Vichy Normaderm Hyaluspot Treatment was the only product from the line that caught my interest immediately. I've always been a creature to wander into pharmacies and hunt for the elusive pimple cream. ALWAYS. I don't think I am the only one either. 

So hey, this little guy seems to be able to combat the bacteria that loves to create eruptions in our oily skin... this is none other than the P.acnes bacteria. This annoying bug loves oily skin too because it can only survive in conditions that is devoid of oxygen -- quite like vampires being afraid of sun, the P.acnes bacteria is afraid of oxygen. So this spot treatment helps to reduce excess sebum production, and thus prevents the 'ideal conditions' for P.acnes bacteria to flourish and party. 

It claims to eliminate 99.9% of pimple causing bacteria in 2 hours! I can't validate this claim. I hardly get zits as frequent as I used to. I certainly would try it out if this product was available 10 years ago. This Normaderm spot treatment contains hyaluronic acid, an ingredient that provides a protective coat over the active pimple, to prevent bacteria from entering. 

It comes in a nearly-transparent gel that is somewhat viscous when first applied. In a few seconds, it dries down matte and non-sticky finish. It's lovely all in all and is something I would recommend to my friends dealing with acne. It also seems to keep my t-zone oilies in control.

I usually apply the spot treatments around my t-zone and cheeks.

Finally and foremost, my most favorite product of the range -- The Normaderm Tri-Activ Moisturiser. I would credit this moisturiser, together with the spot treatment, for keeping my skin less oily throughout the day. It claims to work on blemishes, pores, redness, shine, pimples and uneven complexion. I think I am in agreement for most of the above. I love the texture; it spreads easily and dries down within seconds to a matte feeling. It comes in a tube that squeezes the moisturiser out to a pointed tip so there is great control in getting the desired amount of product out. AND, it is within the affordable price range for moisturiser that works. This is the product that I will continue to repurchase once my skincare backups run out. 

Overall, the Vichy Normaderm line is great for those looking to manage their acne actively and great for those in the early 20s. I like many aspects of the Normaderm product range. They stick with skincare ingredients that even dermatologists would be familiar with and the packaging is fuss-free. Perhaps my favorite of all four products would be the Tri-activ Moisturiser because my skin experienced less midday oiliness. I'm not sure if this line would suit those living in non-humid climates because it seems to lack the oomph in hydration.

While it is important to have good skincare, it's also important to be well-rested, hydrate with at least 8 glasses of water daily, and have healthy bowels. Good lifestyle habits results in better skin. No skincare product is able to compensate unhealthy habits, such as smoking, drinking, dehydration, eating fried foods, etc etc. BUT, assume that you do have all the healthy habits then extra good skincare can really help. From someone who used to suffer badly from acne, nothing could ever replace the advice given from a dermatologist. My dermatologist gave me skin that is much more manageable today and has given me the confidence to wear makeup once again. 

1 comment:

Jen Lavenders said...

Your skin is lovely :) i'm glad that you're now happy with your skin and let's hope for sure that it'll stay this way. I really want to try this set!

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