Skincare Secrets of the French Pharmacie

  • by IMAGE

The secret to eternal skin health and beauty may not be as elusive as it seems. In fact, if you look to the French, you'll find the answer is just around the corner. We delve into France's best kept secret - the pharmacy, and discover the Irish chemists who are following the lead of French beauty bastions Vichy and La Roche-Posay.

Ask any beauty editor what their first port of call is on a trip to Paris, and ?a pit stop at la pharmacie? will be their response. They'll gleefully join the hordes of impeccably groomed Gallic ladies who've been ransacking their local pharmacies? beauty shelves since their mothers first introduced them to moisturiser. In France, the pharmacy has always been an endless library of solutions for all skin complaints and beauty needs. Staff members wear white coats, and are trained in all the dermatology know-how. Just like their approach to fashion, the French have this innate sense of what works to achieve and maintain healthy skin. They don't do fads or trends, but instead build trusted relationships with their pharmacist to unearth what works best for them, and stick with strict skincare regimes from their teens to their eighties.
Fortunately, there's no need to book a ticket to Charles de Gaulle to get in on the action, as many of the big hitters are available here, and Irish pharmacy staff are becoming just as well versed in skin science and solution-driven regimes, and being trained directly by the leading French brands.
Leading the French beauty invasion here are La Roche-Posay and Vichy, two cult brands renowned for their highly effective formulas and use of hydrating thermal waters. The products are first class and the prices won't give you a headache, but their trump card, we feel, is how well us northern Celts, beset with sensitive and problematic skin concerns, tolerate their gentle but effective formulas. If you're super-sensitive, you might find a life-long companion after your first encounter with La Roche-Posay, which won the esteemed Most Innovative Skincare Brand accolade at our 2014 IMAGE Business of Beauty Awards, thanks to the impressive research behind its many formulas. Vichy's remit boasts similarly impressive skin-saving credentials, with formulas centred around the famous rejuvenating and thermal waters from Vichy, France. We reached out to Irish pharmacy skincare experts to find out their solutions to common skin concerns.

Routine For Blemish Prone Skin
Patricia Rusiecka, skincare expert, Matt O'Flaherty Chemists, Shop Street, Galway


If you are an adult or teenager with oily, imperfection prone skin, the pharmacy is a great place to come for advice. As a trained skin expert for La Roche-Posay, I have the confidence to advise the right skincare routine for all forms of oily skin. It is important to know that oily skin can present itself in different ways, from shiny skin with open pores to blemish prone skin. Following a good skincare routine is a must. The majority of customers I see with oily skin tend to have blemishes and often have tried and tested may different ranges in search of clear skin, but have yet to be satisfied.
A range I highly recommend is Effaclar from La Roche-Posay because of the choice of products and proven results. It is really important to cleanse oily skin with a cleanser that respects the skin's pH level to avoid drying it out; the Effaclar Purifying Cleansing Gel is one of our most popular cleansers for oily skin. It effectively removes impurities while respecting skin sensitivity. It can be used on the face and body, so good for those who have imperfections on the chest or back. The hero product in La Roche-
Posay for blemished prone skin is Effaclar Duo+. This daily moisturiser will keep skin hydrated while refining the skin texture and unclogging pores, its anti-inflammatory active ingredients work to reduce blemishes. The texture us fresh, non-greasy and non-comedogenic, allowing it to be absorbed instantly into your skin.


roche posay

Anti-Ageing Skincare For Sensitive Skin
Tina McHale, skincare expert, Stauntons Pharmacy, Castlebar, Mayo

Tina McHale

I have been working in a pharmacy for over 30 years, garnering a wealth of experience in the whole area of skincare, and have the utmost confidence in the Vichy range. I encounter customers daily who have sensitive skin issues, but invariably their prime concern is that of anti-ageing. A range I trust for customers with ageing concerns such as wrinkles and loss of firmness is Vichy LiftActiv.
The signs of ageing can appear to intensify over the day; I have many customers who tell me that they feel they look older in the evening versus the morning. This is a biological reality as our skin goes through many changes throughout the day. LiftActiv Supreme addresses not just the visible signs of ageing, but the changes we may see in our skin throughout the day.
It has a unique formula which boosts radiance, helps wrinkles appear smoother and skin feels firmer. The texture penetrates quickly and provides a fresh and comfortable feel all day long. This product proves very popular, as it is suitable for sensitive skin, is hypoallergenic, and contains no parabens. To complement the LiftActiv Supreme daily moisturiser and reinforce its effectiveness, I always recommend LiftActiv Serum 10 anti-wrinkle serum. This product melts into skin leaving it velvety soft, pores appear reduced, and skin feels instantly tighter due the exceptionally light texture. For best results this should be applied underneath the moisturiser daily. In my opinion, LiftActiv is one of the best anti-ageing ranges on the market. Not only does it deliver results, but it is extremely affordable. I can see how popular it is from the high number of repeat purchases in my pharmacy.


Routine For Sensitive Skin Prone To Redness
Carolann O'Callaghan, skincare expert, Sam McCauley Chemists, Fairgreen Shopping centre, Carlow



Whether it is the ?Curse of the Celts? or the environmental factors our skin endures daily, many customers I encounter complain of sensitive skin prone to redness. Everyday factors such as physical activity, hormonal changes, stress and UV exposure can trigger skin reactivity and cause facial redness to increase. Many customers look for camouflage
products to hide their redness rather than taking measures to manage it. I always advise my customers to start managing their facial redness with a good skincare routine. Finding the right products is a really important first step and knowing what triggers facial redness is equally important. By making changes to how we treat our skin daily and to our lifestyle, we can help reduce facial skin redness. For customers seeking advice for skin redness, my go-to brand is La Roche- Posay. The range provides tailored solutions for all different types of skin sensitivity. The Rosaliac range has been specifically designed for skin prone to redness and provides
everything from a cooling cleansing gel to an intensive anti-redness serum, along with daily moisturisers which contain SPF. There is a multifunctional product in the range called Rosaliac CC Cream, which covers like a make-up, works like a serum, hydrates like a moisturiser, and protects like a UV cream. Having seen fantastic results using this range on my own skin, I can confidently recommend it to my customers.


For more skincare advice, visit your local Vichy or La Roche-Posay stockists or online at or

This article was published in IMAGE Magazine.

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