Hello everyone and welcome back to The Selfish Column. This week, I wanted to bring it back to skincare and talk about something that is new to me but yet extremely exciting. Last week I took a master class with the Avène Skincare team. During the online meeting, I was able to be surrounded by some incredible and knowledgeable experts on the panel. The team consisted of the senior regional educators for Avène, Maxine Ryan, and Board-Certified Dermatologist, Dr. Sonya Adbulla. As dark skin woman, with lots of textural skin concerns and dark spots, I felt heard, valued during the meeting and understood. I wanted to ask some questions on behave of my fellow dark skin, deep tone chocolate mamas, who may have skin concerns as well.
If you have any concerns about your skin or wanted to learn more about Avène skincare, you have come to the right place. Maxine Ryan was kind enough to take my questions and answers them on behalf of so many of us. To learn more please see below.
1. Question: The Selfish Column
As a woman of colour and darker skin, I struggle with extreme dark spots around my cheeks, this usually occurs after inflammations. What chemicals should I look for when needing to resolve these spots and what products from Avène would you recommend?
Answer: Maxine Ryan,
Residual marks and scars are common with acne breakouts, especially on darker skin tones. This is called post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. When areas of the skin become inflamed, it increases the amount of melanin. The good news is that it’s a temporary pigmentation and will eventually fade. However, to reduce these marks quickly, you can use specific ingredients such as Glycolic acid and Lactic acid. It will help remove skin cells at the surface that are full of pigment to lighten spots and brighten the complexion overall. Another great ingredient is Vitamin A. It boosts the skin’s cell renewal process to encourage new skin cells and push off the old. It also stimulates collagen and elastin to reduce acne scars. Avène has a range of products called Cleanance Woman, it’s designed to treat acne and reduce scars and marks. At the heart of the range is a molecule called Synovea®. It’s a triple action innovation that treats acne, reduces inflammation, and targets pigmentation. It is complemented by Glycolic acid, lactic acid, and Vitamin A. There are 3 products in the range, Cleanance woman corrective serum (30 ml ), Cleanance woman DAY (30ml), Cleanance woman NIGHT cream.
2. Question: The Selfish Column
Sunscreen has always been somewhat of a myth when growing up, even to this day I have people in my life that feel like they don’t need it because they have extra melanin. How is important is sunscreen for deep tone skin and what products should we be looking for in our store?
Answer: Maxine Ryan
Sunscreen is essential no matter what your skin tone is. People with darker skin tones tend to skip sunscreen however melanin only provides the equivalent of an SPF of about 1.5 to 2 so the risk of cell damage is still quite high. The melanin acts to diffuse some UVB rays and may protect against sunburns, to some extent but UVA damage is not blocked by melanin in the same way and can lead to premature skin aging, wrinkles or skin cancer. One study demonstrated that skin cancer survival rates were lowest in people with darker skin, including African-Americans, Asian-Americans, Native Americans, and Pacific Islanders. This indicates a need for better screening and awareness of the risk of skin cancer. The best products to look for are those with a transparent finish. Sunscreens with 100% mineral ingredients tend to leave a white cast on the skin so looking for hybrid formulas or chemical filters is ideal. Try the Avène SPF 50+ spray (200ml). It’s a broad-spectrum lotion that is suitable for the Face & Body or the Avène SPF 50+ Emulsion (50ml) for the face. It has a dry touch finish and is adapted for normal to combination skin.
3. Questions: The Selfish Column
Maxine really sold me on the Thermal Spring Water. What should we the consumer be looking for texturally on our skin when we start using the Spring Water? What is the care we should take to keep the longevity of the Spring Water and why is it different from anything in the market?
Answer: Maxine Ryan
The Avène Thermal spring water (50ml, 150ml, 300ml) is a multi-purpose product that has been scientifically proven to soothe, reduce irritation, and calm inflammation. It can be used alone or in any routine to maximize results. The skin looks more supple and radiant instantly and the feeling of discomfort is reduced. The thermal water is used to reduce symptoms of Eczema, psoriasis, help burn victims and post-cancer patients regain comfort. It can also be used in daily life situations such as after shaving or waxing, to set make-up, for insect bites, and even as a compress to reduce allergic reactions on the skin. What makes this particular water unique is that it’s the lowest in mineral salts so it soothes without drying it out. It’s packaged at the source of the spring in a sterile environment therefore it’s safe on open wounds and never expires. And lastly, it contains a powerful combination of natural minerals to calm, silicas to soften the skin and repair the barrier as well as being a powerful anti-itch. It is the best-selling thermal water in the world!
4. Question: The Selfish Column
As a black African Canadian Woman, we often feel unrepresented in many advertising fields, especially those with my skin tone. The Avène website doesn’t show much of different skin tones, have there been researched done on those with dark skin tones?
Answer: Maxine Ryan
The Eau thermal Avène brand has made major strides in recent years to reflect all nationalities and skin tones with the most recent campaigns ( XeraCalm, Cleanance, Tolerance control, Cicalfate) Today, more than ever, there is a need to represent the diversity of Canada. It’s more representative of the world we live in and the diversity that we reflect. As far as research, our clinical studies include a variety of age groups and nationalities. The criteria for our research are always based on Skin or scalp conditions and the effects of the products.
5. Question: The Selfish Column
If you can list Avène top three go-to product must-haves, what would they be?
Answer: Maxine Ryan
The top 3 go-to products in Avène are, in my opinion, are the Avène thermal spring water, because everyone can use it and it’s such an amazing product to soothe. I like to store it in the fridge for an extra cooling effect. The XeraCalm A.D range for Dry to Atopic skin because we live in Canada and our skin can become dry and itchy. The XeraCalm A.D Cleansing oil leaves the skin soft and comfortable and the XeraCalm A.D Cream/Balm nourishes and soothes dry skin while reducing the risk of flare-ups in those who suffer from Eczema. Lastly, I can’t live without the Cicalfate+ restorative protecting cream. It soothes and repairs damaged or irritated skin. I use it for everything! Such as dry patches on my face or body, cuts or scrapes, bug bites, blisters from new shoes, and even as a repair mask on my face if it gets dry and irritated. My skin heals so quickly and I’m not left with scars.
A big thank you to Maxine Ryan for taking her time to answer these questions and helping so many of us with our skincare journey. Thank you to the Eu Thermal Avène team for all their hard work as well. To stay in touch with Maxine Ryan and the Eu Thermal Avène, please follow them on Instagarm @euthermalaveneca
As always, thank you for making it this far Selfish Readers.