BEAUTY CLINIC: Banishing blemishes for spring

Jo and Sarah answer real questions from readers: to put your query, go to

Q I’m prone to breakouts and, as I am getting married in late Spring, I want to find something that will help my skin look good. I would prefer not to take antibiotics or use harsh topicals.

A We’ve just come back from the launch of La Roche-Posay’s new updated version of their dermatologist-recommended product Effaclar Duo. This latest version of the global best-seller is called Effaclar Duo (+) and to its previous list of claims – correcting, unclogging, anti-imperfections and anti-marks – it has now added ‘anti-recurrence’.

This latest version has been shown in clinical trials to start working on oily acne-prone skin within 12 hours and to give clearer skin in four weeks. La Roche-Posay says that, after 12 hours, blemishes appear less inflamed and redness reduced; skin looks mattified and texture feels smoother. After four weeks, the size and appearance of spots and blemishes are reduced by 52 per cent, blackheads reduced by 41 per cent and marks left after spots reduced. Remember, those stats are an average so some people in the trial will have seen better results, others less good. But the science from this leading French skincare company is truly impressive.

La Roche-Posay has been researching the bacteria on your skin – the microbiome – for 20 years. We literally wear a second skin of bacteria, which like the microbiome in our guts, is unique to us. No company could produce an individual recipe for each user so La Roche-Posay scientists took a different line.

They discovered that a natural bacteria called staphylococcus is found in abnormally high levels in people with acne versus people with normal healthy skin. This tends to cause inflammation of the skin barrier and thus acne and other blemishes.

The new ingredient in Effaclar Duo (+) is a natural prebiotic, which La Roche-Posay cultures in their signature Thermal Spring Water. Aqua Posae Filiformis (that’s a mouthful so lets call it APF) helps to ‘police’ the skin’s bacteria and rebalance the microbiome. APF is helped by a naturally occurring sugar called mannose, which gently kicks the skin’s immune system into activity. The dual approach helps regulate staphylococcus production, calm skin inflammation and stimulate its natural defences.

It’s worth adding that the new version of Effaclar has all the old faithful ingredients, including niacinamide, salicylic acid and zinc, which have made it such an extraordinary global success story.

Consultant dermatologist Dr Justine Hextall prefers ‘to prescribe a skincare solution rather than antibiotics, where possible’. She describes Effaclar Duo (+) as ‘a great long-term solution for maintaining healthy skin and one I will often recommend to my patients’.

Effaclar Duo (+), £16 for 40ml, from Boots nationwide and 

Beauty Bible loves… Yope Natural Kids’ Hand Soap Coconut and Mint, £7.49. Most kids would rather lark around in the mud than wash their hands. (Well, the kids we know and love, anyway.) This, however, is a great way to change that: the funkiest-looking hand wash we’ve ever clapped eyes on, from an all-natural brand which is paraben-free and vegan-friendly.

The funkiest-looking hand wash we’ve ever clapped eyes on, from an all-natural brand which is paraben-free and vegan-friendly

Like something out of South Park, the squat pump dispenser Coconut and Mint version has ears and a very cross expression. (As may the child you’ve just instructed to wash their hands.) There’s a smilier version in Natural Jasmine – but we like this cross-patch of a design (and the scent, too).

We think kids will love the gentle and effective formula (kind enough even for sensitive skins – and of course, the so-fun packaging.

Will it be enough to stop them splashing in mud puddles? Nah. But you never know: they might even wash their hands voluntarily, now.