Zits. Pimples. Acne. How I hate you. If you suffer from severe acne, you have to believe I know how you feel. From the age of 11 when my first huge red one surfaced in between my eyes until I was 19 when they had fully encompassed my t-zone and rapidly expanding to my cheeks, looking in the mirror every morning was heart sinking. Huge cystic acne literally piling over each other because there was no room left. That was me. I thought acne was only a teenage thing and it would run its course by the time I was an adult. Terribly wrong.
I know I’m not the worst case you’ve heard of – at least I had some real estate left on my cheekbones that it hadn’t gotten to yet, but I couldn’t stand it. I was scared of oil, scared of touching my face without scrubbing the hell out of my hands first, scared of eating greasy food, and definitely scared of talking about it. I overloaded on the prescription topical acne creams, washed my face like a mad woman and exfoliated like there was no tomorrow. ALL THINGS YOU SHOULD NOT DO. Eventually I saw a derm at 19 and asked to go on Accutane, but it doesn’t “cure” it forever. I still break out during my period, when I use the wrong skincare product, at the beginning of my pregnancy, and other random bits. Accutane also has a very bad rep of screwing up your whole body, so if you suffer from pretty severe acne and don’t want to take the drugs, this Treatment Serum by Marie Veronique Organics might help you out.
Who they are:
Marie Veronique Organics is a skincare line started over 10 years by Marie Veronique Nadeau, a former chemist and teacher. They use natural, organic, and fair ingredients whenever possible, and their products are packaged in 100% recyclable materials. Making their products in small batches insures freshness and potency. Also note-worthy is the fact that they source their ingredients as close to their Mill Valley California hq as possible to keep their footprint small.
They have 2 product lines: MVO for adult acne, rosacea and sensitive skin, and Pacific which targets the aging process: wrinkles, sagging skin, hyper pigmentation and dehydration.
What it is:
The Treatment Serum is slightly viscous brownish yellow fluid, and smells reminiscent of herbal medicine with a tiny hint of mintiness. The serum is targeted for people with more severe acne and designed to be used in addition to their Treatment Oil, their moisturizer for acne prone skin. Note that at Marie Veronique, they do not use creams or lotions as moisturizers, only oils. You’re thinking, ‘Put more oil on TOP of my oily skin??’ Yes yes yes, read more about it under the Learn More tab here.
Unlike typical serums which are applied after your toner and before your moisturizer, the Treatment Serum is designed to be applied at night, AFTER the Treatment Oil. (I did not know this as you’ll find below)
What it is made of (from their site):
Vitamin B5 works by controlling and regulating the oil production of the sebaceous glands (sebum). This is done by increasing Coenzyme A (Co-A), which increases the metabolic breakdown of oils, mainly sebum, via normal activity of cell physiology.
With demonstrated anti-inflammatory properties, niacinamide may be of benefit to patients with inflammatory skin conditions, including acne vulgaris. In particular, it blocks the inflammatory actions of iodides known to precipitate or exacerbate acne.
Rich in Omega-6 and 9, Vitamin E, carotenes, squalene, and phenols, argan oil possesses a remarkable ability to nourish, moisturize and improve skin elasticity. It is also known for its ability to control surface sebum, thus eliminating that greasy look.
Organic camellia sinensis (green & white tea), PantothenicPlus™ [pantothenic acid, d-panthenol], organic cucurbita pepo (pumpkin) seed oil, organic calophyllum inophyllum (tamanu oil), citrullus lanatus (watermelon) seed oil, vegetable squalene (from olive oil), emu oil, populus tremuloides (aspen) bark, leuconostoc/radish root ferment, gluconolactone (and) sodium benzoate (paraben-free anti-microbial agent), organic argania spinosa (argan) oil, tocopherol (vitamin E), organic kombucha extract, n-acetyl glucosamine, lactic acid, organic salix nigra (black willow bark) extract, organic dipotassium glycyrrhizate (licorice) tincture, niacinamide, usnea lichen extract, organic lecithin, xanthan gum, organic rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) oleoresin, organic lavandula angustifolia (lavender) essential oil, daucus carota (carrot) seed essential oil, helichrysum splendidum (helichrysum) essential oil, curcuma longa (curcuma longa) essential oil.
Note that there is emu oil in the ingredients. If you prefer vegan products, you may have to skip out on this one. I’m personally alright with emu oil – their meat is eaten as well. As long as most, if not all, of the animal is used, I’m ok. I just can’t handle things like de-finning a shark and throwing it back into the water where it will die a miserable death, or hunting down a bear only for its paws – that sort of thing.
Ok, first of all I want to say that I’m an A++ student when it comes to reading and following instructions. Note the dripping sarcasm. This is a sample I purchase off of Freshfaced.ca and not the full size bottle, so of course there is no pamphlet, no labeled instructions, etc (there is an instruction card if you purchase the full product). What did I do? I plowed on ahead and treated like a normal serum – slathered it on after toner and before my moisturizer. Remember how I said earlier that it’s designed to be used after the moisturizing Treatment Oil?
IT BURNED. It didn’t tingle, it didn’t sting – it BURNED. But I didn’t turn red. I had absolutely NO signs of irritation show up. And it completely went away once it seemed to absorb.
NOTE TO SELF (and everyone else): Read the instructions, and if there are none, GO FIND OUT.
Please use it in conjunction with the Treatment Oil; apply it AFTER the Treatment Oil. A thin even layer. At night. It says so on the Marie Veronique site (I didn’t go read it very clearly obviously) but not on any third party retailers that I found. I finally figured it out after I was done my sample, but I managed to squeeze one last drop out and applied it after my face oil, and the sensation was MUCH better. Only a slight tingle, no burning!
Continuing on with my experience: The next morning, I had 2 tiny pimples near my mouth. These were situated where I know there are congested pores: Not blackheads, instead they’re little white bumps under my skin that you can’t extract and like to pop up around my chin area. They just wait, sometimes for months, even years, to get inflamed and sprout into monstrous zits. These little blemishes I had though were tiny and cleared out after a day or 2. By the time I was finished my sample (4 nights later), I had another 2 or 3 blemishes come and go – just tiny little things on my chin and forehead. This part I found very intriguing because the serum essentially helped me purge the crap under my skin which was great. I want the gunk out, not just dried up and left in my skin indefinitely like so many other products do.
I wanted to know if my reactions were normal so I emailed the good people at Marie Veronique. This is how Mr. Kevin Dooley (Director Community Relations) replied:
“…Due to the nature of the serum itself it does cause a tingling sensation when applied which some people find is a bit intense and the sensation experience does vary person to person. …It also contains niacinamide which has anti inflammatory and lightening properties which can also lead to some sensation.
…Our Treatment Products are very different than other adult acne lines as they work at treating the cause of acne by balancing oil production and decongesting pores. Many people do see a brief period of purging that can happen within a few days or for some about the third week as the oils work at pulling the congestion out of the skin since the oils are so deeply penetrative. The Treatment Serum is a step that some people do skip but it really depends on the severity of your acne. It can also be used solely as a spot treatment.”
Even though I didn’t use it correctly, it works! When I order samples, it’s really just to see what the texture is like, if my skin has a bad reaction to it, if I can handle the smell, etc. I don’t really expect it to do anything. Most products take 4-6 weeks on me to see any results, but this was instantaneous!
*EDIT: You may read that purging your skin is an undesirable result, but I would urge you to rethink this. From my own history of acne, I strongly believe that taking the gunk out of your skin (resulting in more blemishes) is the first step in the acne healing process. After the crap is out, one can finally truly achieve clear skin :)
$90 USD @ Marie Veronique Organics.
What works on your zits?
*Not sponsored and no affiliate links. Email quotes have been published with permission.