Zits, Bumps, Spots...What's Poppin'?
ELLE Singapore|October 2021
Acne is a touchy topic. People with acne know they have acne; it’s a literal pain point. How then should we respectfully broach the spotty issue of zits? It’s a bumpy journey, and three stakeholders — a makeup artist with an acne condition, a founder of a beauty brand with game-changing acne skincare, and a professional acne-skin therapist — share their thoughts
Chelsea Tang

ON BEING AUTHENTIC AND EDUCATIONAL IN MARKETING ACNE TREATMENT PRODUCTS

MATHILDE THOMAS

Founder of Caudalie

As a brand that’s always been a problem-solving one, apart from intensely researching how to effectively clear the skin of acne with our Vinopure range, [the best-selling line for Caudalie in Southeast Asia], we also know of the emotional impact of acne. It’s more than a skin problem; having acne can affect your self-esteem, how you see yourself, and how you feel about yourself.

That’s the reason why we were adamant on finding a model with real acne problems to front our Vinopure range. It’s not fair to present an acne-treating collection to consumers with a campaign that doesn’t show actual blemishes and actual problems — we feel that’s not how marketing should be done. We wanted to run an honesty campaign.

The sourcing for an apt campaign model was quite a tedious and long-drawn process, and we chanced upon only one. It was through word-of-mouth, through someone at the office, through someone who worked in fashion, that we eventually found her, a model who’s struggling with acne. Red, severe, painful acne on her cheeks and jaw. It was important that we presented visuals that were as authentic as they could be to real life scenarios, to show that we sincerely relate to customers, and vice versa.

On our social media, people can find useful tips and information about skin, and we try to make such information educational and entertaining at the same time. For example, we did this video on pimple popping on TikTok that went viral (5.2 million views); it showed a girl wanting to squeeze her pimple, wanting to put toothpaste on it, and it eventually leads to her using our Blemish Control Salicylic Serum. On Instagram, we include tips on how to fully utilise the Vinopure range, like how the serum can also be used on the back to treat back-ne. The point is, we try to make our content humorous and engaging, and we never want people dealing with acne to feel like they’re suffering or to feel guilty about their acne. Dealing with acne should be easy-going process, even if the issue is not a trivial one.

Which is why effectiveness is the top priority at Caudalie. All our formulations are also clean and natural. Our cult Blemish Control Salicylic Serum comprises 100 per cent natural salicylic acid extracted from wintergreen leaves, one of the best ingredients that we can use on acne-prone skin to unclog pores. There is also a concentrated amount of niacinamide, to tighten pores. Caudalie also has its own patented polyphenol, an antioxidant derived from grape seeds that we found, during our research, can prevent sebum on skin from turning into a blackhead. Finally, six anti-bacterial natural essential oils: lavender, lemongrass, peppermint, rosemary, lemon balm and geranium greatly reduce the amount of C. acnes bacteria on skin, and are also responsible for the calming scent of the serum.

Then, there is the testing. To be exact, we tested on volunteers between 21 to 40 years old, with oily skin and/or acne-prone skin, and they had to have a minimum two blemishes to qualify. We are strict on the process to determine the true effectiveness of the range, and our studies showed that users who used the full Vinopure routine (Purifying Cleanser, Purifying Toner, Blemish Control Salicylic Serum, Mattifying Hydrating Fluid) experienced 63 percent improvement in acne and acne spots, in just one week.

The results kickstarted our #breakoutbootcamp campaign on Instagram, where we challenged users to share their pictures of their skin before and after using our products for seven days. Truthfully, the Vinopure range has been around for three years, and during this period we’ve received lots of before-after pictures. Putting these images up on our social media channels builds a community and empowers people with acne, so that they know they’re not alone. We try to be as personal and uplifting as possible as a brand, wherever we can.

Acne is a skin condition that takes time to fully get rid of, and sometimes, expertise from a dermatologist might be needed if severe acne is involved, or perhaps a change in lifestyle habits. But the bottom line is, there are solutions, and no one has to live all their life with acne. For acne conditions that can be treated with skincare, we want to be a part of their skin solution, which is why we strive our hardest to ensure that our products are clean, effective, and safe so that consumers know they can always count on us.

ON HAVING LIVED WITH ACNE

SAHUR SALEIM

Makeup artist, beauty content creator,and founder of Sahur’s Art Beauty

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