The Exact Products That Finally Cleared This Woman’s 10-Year-Long Struggle With Acne
Cure your acne and get your glow on with these genius yet affordable products.
If you’ve ever suffered hormonal pimples, birth control breakouts, or adult acne, then you understand how hard (and frustrating) it can be to calm your skin the F down. Like many of us have, Reddit user Hohfflepuff struggled with acne—that is, until this year.
The Reddit user served some major inspiration, posting a viral before-and-after photo of her face just eight months apart—no filter or makeup, just lash extensions and good lighting. And we are so here for her progress! After dealing with breakouts and uneven pigmentation for over a decade, she said she curated a routine that actually calmed and cleared her problematic skin. The result? A radiant, blemish-free glow!
The best news is that in her post, she lists the exact skincare products that helped cure her acne—and even better, they won’t break the bank. Even those lucky enough to have great skin naturally can still benefit from her skin-brightening routine. Just snap up a few of her tried-and-trues, and you’ll be well on your way to your glowiest complexion yet.
Her morning routine consists of first cleansing her face with Simple Micellar Cleansing Water ($5; amazon.com), followed by applying clindamycin (a topical antibiotic that kills acne-causing bacteria found on the surface of the skin) and two pea-sized amounts of Benzoyl Peroxide 5% acne treatment cream ($19; amazon.com), which she uses as a spot treatment and for the preventative benefits. After, she smooths Sunday Riley’s C.E.O. Glow Vitamin C + Turmeric Face Oil ($40; sephora.com) over her face to brighten skin. Before heading out the door, she makes sure to protect her skin with CeraVe 100% Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50 ($27 for 2-pack; amazon.com). While she doesn’t love that the formula is thick and sometimes leaves a white cast, she does like that it seems to blur her skin. Another sunscreen she swears by: Supergoop’s Invincible Setting Powder SPF 45 ($30; sephora.com), a translucent, broad-spectrum powder sunscreen that she carries in her purse at all times.
At night, she washes her face with Vanicream Gentle Face Wash ($9; amazon.com), or double cleanses with Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm ($30; sephora.com) if she’s wearing makeup. She then applies Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Water Face Gel Moisturizer ($17; amazon.com) on her damp skin, and follows up with a mixture of clindamycin and benzoyl peroxide cream. As a final step, she moisturizes with anti-aging squalene oil from Biossance ($32; sephora.com), which hydrates skin and soothes redness. “I know we should be layering heaviest to lightest—so oils last—but I really need to buffer my Tretinoin [Retin-A] or it really irritates my skin,” she tells Health. On a budget? We also love this affordable 100% Pure Squalane by Timeless Skin Care for only $12 on Amazon.
Four times a week, she’ll use Tretinoin, a Retin-A .05%, on her face after her nightly routine and before bed, and wait half an hour before sealing it with Vanicream Lotion (10; amazon.com), she tells Health. She’s been using the Retin-A for 6 to 7 months, starting with just twice a week, and then gradually working her way up to more frequent use. “It really started to make a difference after 4 months and 4 times a week,” she added. As for the cult-favorite Vanicream lotion, “I think it works very well as the very last step in my routine. No breakouts so far from it, and in the beginning my skin was red but not dry, so I think vanicream had something to do with it.” She also mentions that her dermatologist prescribed her doxycycline two times a day for a month, which helped a lot—although she hated the side effects.
New York City-based dermatologist Debra Jaliman, MD, highlights several hero products in this Redditor’s skincare routine that you don’t need a prescription for. She tells us that micellar water is a no-rinse facial cleanser that’s alcohol-free, so it’s not drying like a toner. “I like to use it after a cleanser to take off the last traces of dirt or makeup,” she adds. Vitamin C serum is packed with powerful ingredients to improve skin’s texture and brighten any discoloration caused by acne. Sunscreen delivers crucial sun protection, and the CeraVe option recommended by the Redditor is made with zinc oxide, titanium, and niacinamide, which can help prevent more dark spots from forming. Plus, if you have inflammation or redness from acne, it will help fade it, notes Dr. Jaliman.
As for her evening routine, Vanicream face wash is free of fragrance and non-irritating for sensitive skin, and, as an added bonus, contains glycerin, which locks in hydration, Dr. Jaliman says. Neutrogena’s customer-loved water gel is a lightweight formula made of hyaluronic acid—meaning it’s super hydrating to skin and won’t clog pores or cause more breakouts. Anti-aging squalene is another light moisturizer that absorbs quickly and helps combat the dryness from Retin-A, which Dr. Jaliman is a fan of. “Retin-A is a vitamin A derivative, which decreases the cohesiveness of the epidermal cells causing the skin to slough off and unblock pores—helping to get rid of blackheads and whiteheads,” she explains. Dr. Jaliman uses Retin-A micro .04% herself, which tends to be less irritating on skin since the medication is released more slowly.
Yes, this Redditor’s tried-and-true skincare routine may seem pretty in-depth—but hey, she finally found what works for her skin, and we’re more than appreciative that she shared her ultimate acne-clearing secrets on a public forum. Excuse us while we go add all of these dermatologist-approved (and affordable!) products to our shopping carts.