I received my first e-mails over the weekend so I thought I would answer it on here. Paraphrasing just the questions here.
"I have been on every acne medication and my prescription just increases more and more. Even my 10% Benzoyl Peroxide cream is not doing anything to hold the breakouts. I'm using maximum strength cleansers, toners, creams but my skin seems to be getting worse. I feel like the only answer is to go on Accutane, what do you suggest?"
I definitely think you should see a dermatologist regarding your acne. Without seeing you in person, I really can't give you a set plan. It does seem like your response to break outs is to up the ante by strengthening your products. I get the logic behind it, but in general I don't advise anyone 'fight' with their body, it never goes well. I'm assuming when you say maximum strength products, your cleansers have exfoliating acids, your toners have astringents and alcohols, and you're using a 10% BP solution. You're declaring chemical warefare on your skin. Instead, I would urge you to try and 'work' with your body by giving it a more gentle regimen. Try to use a gentle, non stripping cleanser that won't irritate your skin or cause imbalance in sebum level. Switch your toner to a healing one that doesn't have alcohols. I know you probably see the benzoyl peroxide solution as an essential product but try to just let your blemishes go down on their own for 2 weeks. You won't see immediate changes, but I believe helping your skin heal itself will be the best thing you can do at this point. Depending on your severity, a dermatologist might prescribe Accutane but see if you can manage your skin on your own first. Just remember: your skin WANTS to be healthy, help it, don't hinder it.
"I have really sensitive skin and since switching to natural skincare, I have experienced redness and irritation. I am currently using the Marie Veronique Organics line and while I really love the ingredients and philosophy, I find my skin has broken out like never before. I contacted them to ask about it and they said that my skin is just purging, is this normal?"
I haven't personally used any products from MVO but I do like the ingredients list. I also see a lot of good comments for their products and I like the science behind it. What is important to remember is that every one has their own unique skin chemistry so just because the formula of a product is high quality and good, it doesn't mean that it will work with your skin. Purging and 'adjusting' can indeed happen, but if it's been over a month, your skin is no longer 'purging', I think you might be sensitive to a particular ingredient. Natural skincare is often times more potent than the alternative because you're getting less chemical fillers, so this belief that natural skincare is best for sensitive skin isn't necessarily true.
"I have been using Arcona's Night Worker which is a Vitamin C serum. I really like how it makes my skin feel but the active ingredient is ascorbic acid, which I read from La Bella Figura is a lab synthetic derived from GMO corn in China so it is less effective than a product that uses a natural complete form of Vitamin C like the one in their Modern Radiance Concentrate. Is this true?"
I think using a natural complete form of any vitamin or supplement is a good idea in the same way that getting your vitamins from fruits and vegetables are preferable to getting it from a pill. Let's go beyond the large words for a minute: natural complete form just means a natural ingredient that has vitamin c, of which many ingredients in Arcona's Night Worker all contain, such as Black Currant, Evening Primrose, Borage, and Lemon. So even with all these ingredients, why would a company still choose to use Ascorbic Acid? Because although the natural ingredients do provide Vitamin C, what matters in dermatology is the concentration. Anything less than a certain threshold is not going to produce results when applied topically, and Ascorbic Acid offers a more concentrated dosage that naturals cannot provide. I understand that La Bella Figura has a product to sell and I think based off of the ingredients list, they have a great product. I don't think they mean to be misleading but the conclusion they drew comparing a natural whole source Vitamin C to being an effective topical active is indeed a fallacy. I really wish there was a better system of accountability in the natural beauty industry but as it's still very small with individual who might not have the education or industry experience to understand the intricacies of dermatology and skin care, not every statement is scientifically vetted, which leads to misinformation for the audience.
Any other questions, just e-mail me: greentechderm at gmail dot com