Without being too long winded with this story, let me first start out by saying that if you’re struggling with acne, I know exactly how you feel. Starting in my teens, my skin was an everyday battle. And unfortunately, this trend of battling my acne only got more unmanageable as time went on, reaching the absolute worst point sometime around my 23rd birthday.
At this time, I was deeply unhappy, and quite likely, depressed. It was an awful phase in my life. And really, until you’ve experienced acne that severe, it’s hard to relate, but if you’re reading this article, chances are, you’re in a similar boat that I was, and I want you to know that things can (and will!) get better.
I don’t have pictures that really show off how bad my acne was (I wasn’t exactly into taking pictures at the time), but here’s what my skin looks like these days:
Not sure how to get to this point yourself? Overwhelmed by all the advice out there on the best ways to clear acne?
Trust me, I get it. This was an all too familiar struggle for me just a couple years ago.
So today, with the hope that I can help just one of you with your journey to clear skin, I want to share what helped get me the skin you see in the photo above.
Are you ready for clear skin?
Here’s what I did to help clear up my acne:
This post contains affiliate links, but keep in mind these are all products I have used, and have actually helped me clear my acne.
1) Ensure You Have a Cleanser For Sensitive Skin (NOT necessarily for acne prone skin)
Now, I’m no dermatologist, but I will tell you that when I was suffering with acne, I did not have a lot of success with using acne prone cleansers.
In fact, I found that products that were specifically formulated for acne prone skin actually made my acne worse.
Well, again, I’m not a dermatologist, but just from my own research and experience with acne, most of these acne prone products are formulated with different ingredients that are meant to dry out the skin, and ultimately, dry out the pimple.
But here’s the deal: when you have acne, your skin is already severely irritated and inflamed. When you start adding products into your routine that are drying and formulated with different acids and harsh ingredients, really, what you tend to do is irritate the skin even more, leading to further breakouts.
Instead, what you should do is introduce products into your skin care routine that soothe the skin. In particular, look for products that are labelled for sensitive skin. If your skin is anything like mine, you’ll likely have a lot more luck with this approach.
So what cleanser can you buy to help clear your acne?
I used the Sebium Foaming Cleanser by Bioderma for years, and would definitely recommend it to anyone who is currently dealing with acne prone skin. It was actually the product that my dermatologist told me to use, and it truly did help.
The key to this product is that it’s formulated for sensitive skin, so it’s not going to further irritate any pimples that you currently have. In addition, it’s been proven to help normalize sebum production, and if you know anything about your acne, then you know excess in sebum is what clogs your pores and creates pimples. With regular use of this product, you’ll be able to help regulate that, and dramatically reduce the amount of pimples that you’re dealing with.
It worked for me, and if you’re on the hunt for a cleanser that is compatible with your acne, I think you’ll find the Sebium Foaming Cleanser also works for you! Give it a shot.
2) Stop Using So Many Products
When we’re dealing with acne, oftentimes we’re tempted to start layering on all the products to help clear our skin. Unfortunately, though, by introducing our skin to a variety of products, we could actually be irritating our skin even more.
Because remember, if you’re dealing with severe acne like I was, our skin is not “normal.” It’s extremely irritated and prone to breakouts. The more products you’re putting on your skin, the more opportunities you’re giving it to become irritated by a product it is sensitive to.
Instead, what you should be doing is implementing a simplified skin care routine, using gentle products to help soothe and calm your irritated skin, like the Bioderma cleanser mentioned above.
This doesn’t have to include fancy masks, serums, peels, or abrasive procedures. In fact, I strongly recommend staying away from anything beyond the basics when you have severe acne.
Pro Tip: Do NOT use a Clarisonic or other cleaning brush on your acne. Using this made my acne so much worse. I was told that The Clarisonic would make my acne worse before it got better, but it got so bad that I would never recommend someone use one of these on active acne.
3) This Is The Only Acne Treatment I’ll Ever Recommend
Everything I’ve said from above I strongly believe in; however, if you’re serious about finding a solution to your acne, a simple cleanser and a simplified skin care routine is not going to cut it.
You need a treatment that is specifically formulated for acne prone skin, but one that isn’t so severe that it only irritates your skin more.
For me, the only treatment that I ever found that fits this bill is the The Regimen by Acne.org.
This is a three step skincare system that is composed of a cleanser, a treatment, and a moisturizer.
It is specifically formulated with acne prone skin in mind, and it will not overly irritate your skin. In fact, it was through using this skin care system that I learned the importance of being gentle with my skin.
If you check out the reviews on Amazon, you’ll see that 63% of people give this system a 5 star rating, meaning over half of people have complete success using this product! There’s even pictures from reviewers showing their results.
Not to mention, I’m here telling you it worked for me!
In particular, the treatment step of the system is what I found ramped up my success with The Regimen. The treatment is a pharmaceutical grade benzoyl peroxide, which is what is often prescribed by dermatologists to treat acne, but instead of the usual 10% benzoyl peroxide that is prescribed, this treatment uses only 2.5%, meaning it won’t irritate your skin, but it will still work! Especially when combined with the PH balanced cleanser and the non-comedogenic moisturizer.
Trust me, guys, this product is what allowed me to enjoy my early 20s and not worry about acne. After I started using this product and cleared my acne, people actually started complimenting me on my skin.
Before this I tried the 10% benzoyl peroxide, birth control, vitamin A capsules, antibiotics, and fancy cleansers. Nothing worked as well at The Regimen. Nothing.
I highly recommend at least checking out to see if it’s a product that you want to try. If you’re desperate like I was, really, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain 🙂
4) Strongly Consider What Makeup You’re Using On Your Face
When I first started breaking out in high school, I’m fairly convinced that what set off my acne was my makeup.
Of course I can’t know that for certain, and I’m sure hormonal changes had something to do with it, but, as a teenager who loved herself some cheap drugstore makeup, I don’t think slathering my skin in pore clogging makeup did me any favours.
Since then, I’ve always been extremely cautious with what makeup I put on my face, especially when it comes to foundation, since this tends to be the layer of makeup that interacts most with my skin.
Remember, just because your makeup isn’t necessarily a skin care product, it does interact with your skin just as much as your cleansers and moisturizers. This is why it’s extremely important to consider the ingredients in your makeup. You want to ensure there’s nothing in there that is going to irritate your skin, especially when you’re dealing with active acne.
I used a couple different products while my acne was bad. In particular, I was very loyal to the Pur Minerals brand; however, it’s been quite a while since I’ve used that.
What foundation do I recommend for acne prone skin?
These days, I am one hundred percent loyal to the It Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC Cream.
For me, there is no better foundation out there. It’s extremely lightweight, gentle, amazing for sensitive skin, and it actually has skin soothing ingredients in it. It’s basically like a 2 in 1 product. You get an amazing foundation, but you’re also treating your skin with the vitamins and minerals that it craves.
I would absolutely recommend the It Cosmetics CC Cream to anyone who is currently struggling with acne, and wants a light foundation that will give them coverage, but without clogging their pores.
5) Truth time: I did go on Accutane for my acne
Let me be upfront with you all: I did go on Accutane for my acne, and I do have to credit Accutane with ultimately clearing up my acne once and for all.
As I mentioned, at 23, my acne reached a whole new level of severe to the point where I needed the most extreme treatment. While The Regimen was certainly helping, in my case, it just couldn’t keep up with all my new breakouts, and with the guidance of my dermatologist, I decided that Accutane was the right step for me.
Four years later, and minus the occasional stress pimple, I’ve never had an issue with acne since (knock on wood).
I am someone who strongly encourages anyone dealing with acne to at least talk to their doctor about using Accutane.
Final Verdict: How To Clear Your Acne
I can’t reiterate enough how much I understand how it feels to be crippled by your acne. I can very vividly recall how it felt to be constantly reading articles, hoping someone would offer me the solution to clear my acne.
I hope I’ve been able to give you a little hope today.
To review, here’s what I recommend doing if you’re dealing with acne:
1) If you get the occasional pimple, or your skin goes through phases where it’s slightly more acne prone, I suggest picking up a cleanser that is formulated for clearing your skin, but that won’t dry out your skin. The Bioderma Sebium Foaming Cleanser is my absolute favorite for this.
2) If you’re really struggling with your acne, and it feels like new pimples are constantly showing up, I would definitely try out The Regimen. All the products in this three step system are formulated with acne prone skin in mind. I strongly believe this could be solution you’ve been looking for.
3) If you try The Regimen, and it doesn’t work for you, or you go through a severe acne flare up that is unmanageable like I did, I would then suggest talking to a dermatologist about the possibility of going on Accutane. Just keep in mind that Accutane is only for severe cases. Prior to when I had my huge break out at 23, which was likely due to stress and general unhappiness, The Regimen was perfect for me, and did exactly what I wanted it to do.
Don’t let your acne run your life. Try out some of the tips and products from above, and I really do think you’ll see a difference in your skin. If I was able to help just one of you, I’ll be happy.
And oh, if you found these acne tips helpful, please feel free to share this image with your Pinterest friends. Thanks so much!