My Skin Issue- The Culprit and The Saviors

I have been blessed with pretty nice skin that doesn’t have any major problems. I do have a little bit of redness around my nose and on my cheeks (nothing that can’t be covered with a foundation or concealer) and I do get occasional pimples on my chin. I am also very self-conscious about my forehead mimic wrinkles but overall, I am rather happy with my skin.

Blue (8 of 21)A few months ago I decided to buy a La Roche Possay Effaclar sampler kit that I could use when I do get those occasional pimples. I did try a fair amount of La Roche products in the past and I have always been happy with them. The said kit consists of three products- a medicated gel cleanser, a clarifying solution and an acne treatment cream. The gel and the solution both contain 2% and 0.5% concentration of salicylic acid respectively. Salycilic acid is well known for use in skincare products to battle acne, dermatitis and psoriasis. The Effaclar Duo cream contains 5.5% benzoyl peroxide, also known for treating acne.

Each product contains a warning on the packaging that initial use may cause skin irritation and redness. I started using all three products at the same time and after the first night, I woke up with severe redness on my skin. As it was expected, I continued using the trio for a few more days only to find out that the area on my chin, above my lips and around my nose started looking worse and worse and became covered in little blisters looking like a shell. After that, in the state of slight panic, I stopped using all three products immediately. The redness wasn’t going away, my skin was burning and extremely itchy.

First, I applied some cortizone cream on the inflamed areas. That calmed down my skin a little bit but soon enough my skin became extremely dry and although applying foundation did cover the redness, it emphasized the dryness and the tiny blisters on my skin even more. I was really unhappy and desperate and, to be honest, my skin never looked worse. I knew I had to quickly change something in my skin care routine and add some products that would help me battle the problem. But then, I was worried that using products that I had not previously tried could deteriorate the look of my skin even further.

Blue (9 of 21)That’s where two savior products came to rescue. Nude Skincare Omega Cleansing Jelly and Aveeno Ultra-Calming Daily Moisturizer. *Drumroll, please*

H&M NewYears 2014 (13 of 18)The first one, Nude Omega Cleansing Jelly was not an entirely new product for me because I did try a generous size sample of it earlier on and I loved it. It made my skin extremely smooth and clear and after I ran out of the sample, I asked for a full size tube of it for Christmas. The jelly contains omaga 6 and 9 acids derived from sunflower seeds that are supposed to hydrate the skin, bitter orange known for its soothing and clarifying benefits and annatto seed (also known as achiote) extract that’s supposed to purify the skin.

Blue (10 of 21)The jelly is a very interesting product in itself. When squeezed out of a tube it does have a form of a yellowish jelly. Once combined with water it turns into a white, slightly pasty, milk-like consistency. I use it by massaging it into my skin using my Clarisonic Mia 2 brush after I already removed my makeup. Then rinse it off with water. My skin becomes really soft and smooth right away and over time it really helped to clear out my skin, it improved its texture and made my skin supple.

The Nude Skincare Omega Cleansing Jelly is a little pricey as it costs $38 but it does contain 100 ml of the product and after using it for over a month, I still have plenty of it left. It’s also supposed to remove makeup but honestly I haven’t tried it as such as my Garnier Cleansing Oil does the job perfectly.

The second savior was suggested to me by lovely Tracy from Beauty Reflections. I actually asked on Twitter for some dry skin moisturizer recommendations and she mentioned Aveeno Ultra- Calming Daily Moisturizer. I bought it right away since Aveeno is known for products meant for sensitive skin. It claims to “calm and soothe irritated and sensitive skin.” The main ingredient in this cream is feverfew, a plant from Chamomile family known for its use to reduce fever (hence its name) and prevent migraines. It’s also clinically proven to reduce skin redness and irritation, improve skin roughness and texture and it’s also used as an after sunburn or razor burn treatment ( After first application I could feel the difference almost right away. My skin felt extremely smooth and calmed. And after using it in the morning and in the evening in less than a week the redness was gone, the crusty blisters were completely cleared out and my skin was visibly more hydrated. I have continued using it twice a day till now and I am so glad I tried this moisturizer. Tracy, thanks once again!

For the time being I am trying to stick to my current skincare routine and not add any new products. Of course, I do use a few other ones that I had used before to remove my makeup, to tone my skin and exfoliate it. However, I don’t even remember the time when my skin looked as good as it does now. After being at its worst, with a help of two new products added to my skincare routine, I was able to achieve great looking, hydrated, smooth and radiant skin.

Thank you for sticking with me till the end (if you did, kudos to you, I know it was a long post!). If you have any questions about the products I mentioned, please let me know. Do you have any experience using La Roche Effaclar series? Did you have problems like me with irritated, red and dry skin at first? What products are your skin saviors? Any dry skin remedies?

the founder and editor of Her and Makeup.


  1. kwmechelle says:

    Yay! So happy you found the savior (s) to nurse your skin back to health. Isn’t that always the risk we take when we try new face products? I’m always looking for the next big thing in skincare, even though I don’t have problem skin. I bought a Peter Thomas Roth Oilless moisturizing oil. Love it. I got a small bottle for $10 from Sephora. They’re out of that size, sad face, and the full bottle costs $38, like the product you mentioned above. But my skin lurves it.
    Onward to the next big thing! 🙂

    • Agata Piestrak says:

      Hi girl! I know, it is risky that’s why I like to try a sample first or a trial size. I have never tried any Peter Thomas Roth products but I will look for that mini size next time I am at Sephora. I love face oils!

      How have you been? What’s the weekend plan?

      • Kishia says:

        So, I just back from Sephora. And guess what? They restocked the PTR oil! I bought two small bottles for $20 as opposed to the large bottle for $38. I even learned that one customer usually buys all the small bottles in one visit- it’s that good. Gotta be sure to stay on my game to keep my stash stocked. I’m not sure how my skin will respond to this during the summer/spring months. No big weekend plans; though I may do some more retail therapy. What about you?

        • Agata Piestrak says:

          Ha! That’s awesome! Do two small bottles contain more product than the full size bottle?

          I went to Ulta last night and picked up a few things. But there are so many more that I want. I don’t have any exciting weekend plans either. I am working, of course and tomorrow I am going over my in-laws for a small Super Bowl family gathering.

    • Agata Piestrak says:

      Hi Chris! No, I haven’t. But I heard great things about coconut oil. Do you use it on regular basis? Any particular brand you would recommend?

  2. Sunny says:

    Hey Agata, ouch ouch ouch. Actually I did have an episode like yours with Effaclar K when I first started using it, but that’s also because it was the first time I tried anything with BHA, and I was stupid enough to use it twice a day all over my face! My cheeks weren’t happy, and it also took a while for them to calm down. I have since then learnt to OBSERVE my skin when I try something new, particularly something that contains acid or retinol. If you learn to read the signs, you can take a break from the product and it won’t ever come to that! Glad to hear you found stuff that fixed the problem. I always fall back on Caudalie and Pai when my skin freaks out. Been meaning to try Nude tho!

    • Agata Piestrak says:

      Hi Sunny. Yeah, it was a scary experience. I used products with BHA in the past and I have never had such a severe reaction. To be honest, I don’t know a whole lot about different skincare ingredients. You seem to be more knowledgeable than I am but I need to be more careful and research products more in the future. I have only used some samples of Caudalie in the past and they were great but their products are soooo expensive!

  3. LindaLibraLoca says:

    So glad you found something that helped!
    I tried a sample of the new trio, and even though I love and use LRP Effaclar Duo + and will continue to do so, I was not impressed by the other products, as I found them way to drying, even for my normal to oily skin.

    • Agata Piestrak says:

      Me too, Anne! Does the Effaclar Duo dry out your skin? Do you use it every day and did you have problems with it at the beginning?

  4. slowemprzezswiat says:

    I’m not at all surprised by the effect caused by the Effaclar K serie. The benzoyl peroxide concentration is high and I suppose this is the reason of skin irritation. Moreover it really makes the skin dry. Not sure but I think in Poland such concentration wouldn’t be allowed in cosmetics.
    I would surely be carful with combining the benzoyl peroxide with AHA or BHA acids like salicylic acid.

    • Agata Piestrak says:

      Hey Marta, you’re actually right. I compared ingredients in the European and US version of Effaclar Duo cream and it is different. Only the American version contains benzoyl peroxide!Maybe the concentration is too high for my skin indeed!

  5. Kiss & Make-up says:

    Oh no, that’s scary! I am surprised that your skin reacted this bad to the Effaclar products. They never helped me with my acne, but they didn’t irritate my skin either. Thank god you managed to get your skin back under control now.

  6. jenn f says:

    i havne’t tried the nude product before but i have used the garnier cleansing oil. not my favourite oil. i really do prefer the ones that come out of japan a lot more. the tech there seems to be slightly more advanced than the western market for cleansing oils right now.
    A Beautiful Zen

    • Agata Piestrak says:

      Hi Jenn and thanks for stopping by 🙂 I love my Garnier Cleansing Oil, I have been using it for over a year to remove my makeup and I am really happy with it. I have never tried any Japanese skincare to be honest but I agree, they seem to be the masters of skincare in so many ways.

  7. Jaa says:

    This has to be the first negative review I’ve read on the Effaclar! I wonder what ingredients your skin reacted to! It sounds really bad. I once tried using benzoyl peroxide to help with my acne problems but it burned my skin so badly I had to stop using it after one use! It was really bad so I can imagine what you were going through!

    On a different note, how do you like the Garnier cleansing oil? Is it effective on stubborn/waterproof makeup such as liquid eyeliner or lip stain?

    • Agata Piestrak says:

      Hi Jaa. Maybe it was a combination of all the products and it was just too much for my skin. Although I put on a little bit of the cream itself on my spots a few times and it caused redness too. I know everyone loves Effaclar Duo and that was the primary reason of why I tried it.

      Garnier Oil? I love it. Here is the link to a full review, it was one of my first posts 🙂 But, as you know, I only wear waterproof mascara and this oil removes it effortlessly without any rubbing and scrubbing my eyes. It’s the best makeup removing product I have ever had and I am at least on my 5th or 6th bottle of it so I highly recommend it and it’s less than $8!

  8. Xuvious says:

    I’ve used Effaclar Duo and my experience has been a rollercoaster. I once got tiny bumps on my chin which were gone the next day after using it (or maybe they just went on their own). Then I had a large spot where Effaclar AI wasn’t making a difference, so I used Duo. I guess it worked but it dried out my skin so horribly, it looked worse! The only thing I can say about Duo is that despite what people say it should be used as a spot treatment, just like Effaclar AI. Sorry to hear about your experience but glad it’s all better now! 🙂

    • Agata Piestrak says:

      Thanks Advaita. I hear a lot of people got a similar reaction and their skin got really dry. I used the Effaclar Duo as a spot treatment too and my skin was still really red. I guess it’s just not a product for me!

  9. neversaydiebeauty says:

    How awful! I am a fan of La Roche Posay but I have never used the Effaclar line because I don’t need salicylic acid with my dry skin that doesn’t get blemishes at all. It sounds like you didn’t need that ingredient either. I’m amazed you were able to use your Clarisonic on your inflamed skin. Glad you found suitable antidotes! I have Aveeno’s day time moisturizer with SPF that I use from time to time.

    • Agata Piestrak says:

      I think you’re right, I didn’t probably need it and my dry skin is a proof. I feel like Clarisonic is really gentle on my skin and I feel like it’s doing a much better job than just my hands. Aveeno to the rescue! 🙂

  10. kristen @ glambunctious says:

    Yes, Effaclar did not work for me either and my experience was almost identical to yours. I’m glad you’ve found some products that work together to make your skin looks wonderful! I also have a deep forehead wrinkle that I hate. I was trying an organic Apple Cider Vinegar and water toner the last month and my skin is so broken out now and I have clusters of painful acne. Not happy at all and planning on scheduling an appointment with a dermatologist ASAP.

    • Agata Piestrak says:

      Oh no! I was actually considering seeing a dermatologist too but thankfully my skin got better. You should try this Aveeno moisturizer, it really soothes your skin and the moment I put it on my face I feel a huge relief. I hope your skin gets better Kristen!

  11. Lubka Christova says:

    I’ve had similar experience before with a brand that I really loved. It took a couple of days and the product started making my skin so dry in patches.
    It’s very annoying when it happens, but it’s good that you managed to find a quick solution. Hope it’s all well now 🙂

  12. kpsays says:

    Poor thing! I absolutely cannot use anything with salicylic acid on my face. I found out just like you did. It burned my face. I’m glad your skin is back to healing. I received a natural, herbal sheet mask set for review, and tried it, and it burned my skin (about 6 months ago). I checked the ingredients, and didn’t see anything bad. It took about two weeks to repair my skin. It’s terrible isn’t it? I guess spot test when trying anything new.

  13. Give Kitty Good Face says:

    I love a small indie brand from Korea called Benton. Their steam cream is great for dehydrated skin. So are some of their other products. I’ve been trying it for around a month now. I’m obsessed with them. Sorry salicylic acid didn’t work for you. Have you thought about trying AHAs instead? it would work better on drier and more sensitive skins perhaps. Nice blog!xo

    • Agata Piestrak says:

      Hey, I will have to check out Benton’s products. Did you review any of them on your blog? I’d love to read about them.

      I haven’t tried anything with AHAs but thanks for a suggestion! And thank you for stopping by!

      • Give Kitty Good Face says:

        I’m getting ready to post them! I’ve been using them for around a month, and wanted to give as fair a review as possible, even though I fell in love immediately! Check my blog in the next week or so! Xo

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