How I FINALLY Got My Acne Under Control

How I FINALLY Got My Acne Under Control

I've done it. I've finally done it. At the ripe old age of 29, I finally have control over my acne!

How I FINALLY Got My Acne Under Control

Below is me on August 5th. This was the worst I've broken out since before my wedding (over a year ago), which I blame on a combination of stress, masks, and hormones. This was also the last time I had a breakout!

How I FINALLY Got My Acne Under Control

Here I am at the end of August (no filter, no editing):

How I FINALLY Got My Acne Under Control

And here I am at the beginning of September (no filter, no editing):

How I FINALLY Got My Acne Under Control

It's worth mentioning that I've struggled with acne most of my life. In high school, I would get zits and breakouts pretty regularly around my t-zone and a lot on my back and chest. In college I would have a breakout here and there, but nothing crazy. When I turned 26 my skin went haywire and everything changed.

I was getting more breakouts then I knew what to do with, and I was trying everything. It got so bad that I gave up on doing it myself and started getting monthly facials. I continued that for a little over four years and was finally able to keep it manageable with professional help. That all changed when COVID hit and we couldn't see each other.

So it was really up to me to get back to the DIY practice and figure out how the hell I was going to tame my breakouts. 

I would say my worst breakouts occur right before and right after my period. I mainly get them on my chin, though as of this past year, they've gotten to my cheeks and jaw too. I used to deal with a lot between my eyebrows but not as much anymore. My breakouts are classified as cystic acne, which is when pimples appear very large and deep under the skin. These take about a month or two to resolve. 

My acne has been come-and-go since March. It has been better than I expected, but with occasional breakouts, especially around my period. I've been tweaking my skincare routine as well. I added in some products and devices, replacing others. I think I finally have it down.

I didn't really want to say anything until two or three months had passed because you know how luck goes. The moment you say something, the acne pops up. But it's been two whole months, not a single breakout has occurred, and my skin has never looked better. So it was time to share...

My Skincare Routine:

Oil Cleanser: 

I really should use this every time I wash my face, but I only use it when I wear makeup. It does such a good job of breaking everything down and being gentle on my face. I've tried it all when it comes to makeup removing products: micellar water, cleansing pads, wipes, etc. I've even tried a TON of cleansing balms. None are as good as Farmacy

Regular Cleanser: 

I've been switching it up for the past few months. I started with the Kate Sommerville ExfoliKate exfoliating cleanser, which I did like a lot and repurchased twice (and still use when I travel). But a reader also suggested the Kate Sommerville EradiKate pink cleanser with sulfur in it, which is great for fighting acne. I liked that as well and would use each as needed depending on the day. I highly recommend both.

*And then one day I was using my "shower cleanser" (I have lots of options for cleansers) and was looking again at the ingredients of the cleanser and I was like, "woah this is good stuff." I started using it as my No. 1 cleanser and moved the pink Kate to the shower. And guys, it has CHANGED EVERYTHING.

Not only did I change my cleanser, but I also changed the way I use it. I dampen my face with water, then apply the cleanser to my hands and work it in. And I take my time. I massage my face, focus on my cheeks and chin (my problem areas), and spend about a full minute (maybe more) cleansing my face. I'm in no rush. I take my time and I go over places 2-3 times. 

And while I think the cleanser plays a big part, adding this small change into my routine has changed EVERYTHING. Ever since I started giving my cleanser a full *moment*, and really paid attention to the scrubbing of my face, I haven't had a breakout. 


I've been using this toner for close to a year and love it. I think my skin and acne really like AHA/BHAs and that's something that works for me. Fun fact: my first ever skincare routine consisted of items from REN when I was in high school. REN and Murad have both done wonders for my acne.

*Acne Serum: 

I picked this up at the beginning of quarantine and it has quickly become a HOLY GRAIL product. I cannot recommend this enough as it has 110% changed my skin. Anyone struggling with acne, under-the-skin bumps, or clogged pores needs to use this. 

I apply a pump after my toner and before my serum on my jawline, chin, around my nose, and between my eyebrows. It's the best preventative measure for treating and combating acne. I've used it twice a day for five months now and I haven't even made a dent. So while it is a little bit more expensive, just know it's worth it and will last!

Mandelic Serum: 

This is a serum that sadly only available through my facialist, but it's the only one I'll use since it doesn't clog and gives me all the benefits of serum!

(morning) Vitamin C Serum

This is also from my facialist, but it's available to everyone! A lot of Vitamin C serums are super clogging for acne-prone skin. She made one with us in mind. I like that I've been able to use it without any irritation, and I've seen a noticeable difference since starting to use it regularly. My skin is a lot brighter and balanced. 

*(morning) SPF/Moisturizer: 

I've been using this for close to four years now and it is a HOLY GRAIL item for me. I even have Andrew using it. It's a must for anyone and everyone who is looking for an SPF to add to their routine. It goes on white but dries completely clear and doesn't leave any kind of film or white cast! It says it's "matte" but it actually gives more of a dewy natural glow.

(night) Moisturizer: 

This depends on the day and how tired I am honestly lol. If I'm not tired, I'll do the full routine and add on Face Reality basic moisturizer. If I am tired, I'll skip the mandelic serum and just apply some (4) pumps of Augustinus Bader The Rich Cream. This, again, is a rather expensive product but it works. And it works well with acne prone people. Moisturizer can be the death of someone with acne as tends to clog and cake. 

But with Bader, I find that it doesn't irritate my skin, but it DOES do a great job at hydrating and helping it look more alive and awake the next day. Idk what's in it, but it does wonderful things for my skin plumpness. There is definitely a noticeable change when I use it consistently.

Bi-Weekly/As Needed Extras:

Ordinary Peel Mask: 

It's important to not overdo it with this mask because it's strong and can do more harm than good when used improperly. BUT I like to use this whenever I need an extra little peel/exfoliant. I admit that I haven't used it since I started using my new cleanser. I don't need it as much anymore!

Dermapore Extractor: 

Ok, this is another holy grail item that I think has totally changed my skin. I bought it when it was 20% off and use it to clear out my nose and chin area pores. I have pretty large pores and they get pretty backed up, so it's obvious when it's time to use the extractor. 

One thing I really avoid at all costs is picking at my face or skin. This helps me avoid that. It cleans out my pores in a safer way and actually does a great job at it. It takes a few times to really get the hang of it, but once you get it down, the clogged areas literally pop out of your skin and it's so gross and satisfying. 

Tips for Maskne:

-Brush Your Teeth + Use Mouthwash: 

This was kind of like an "a-ha" moment when I saw it on Carly's stories. But the bacteria in your mouth goes directly into your skin when you're breathing into a mask. So brushing right before and using a bacteria-fighting rinse should help a lot when you're wearing your mask.

-Wash/Replace your masks daily: 

It's best to have single-use masks but not best for the environment, so try and have a rotation of masks throughout the week and wash them weekly to re-wear.

-Never wear makeup: 

This should be rule No. 1. Don't wear makeup under your mask! Not only will it get on your mask but your breath will make a hot, moist breeding ground for makeup and bacteria to sit in your pores! It's best to skip wearing anything around your cheeks and chin.

-Add a layer of protection: 

I've seen a lot of people online use this as a time to mask under your mask! Some people use acne patches, others add on a literal mask. I will sometimes apply my PTR acne gel over anything possibly making it's way to the surface just to have an extra layer of protection to fight acne!

-Silk Masks

Cotton is really harsh on your face so a lot of companies have been coming out with silk mask options (like Slip and Discover Night). Both are great options to help your skin stay happy and somewhat healthy when you're out and about. 

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