Great Skin is Your Best Accessory

There’s no doubt in my mind that when it comes to looking great for summer, the S word is in the forefront of my mind. Skin: protecting it, treating it, making it glowy, making it dewy, making it convincingly faux tan, making it clear.

In my mind, none of it matters (not the tan, not the dewy glow) if it isn’t clear and radiant. As a longtime sufferer of acne, I thought I would share with you my experiences with acne, and some treatment methods that may work for you.

As a teenager, I suffered from major acne – initially I thought it was because I simply never was told that I had to wash my face twice a day. Once I figured that out, it improved, but not by much. I began trying different over-the-counter methods like acne clearing face washes. It seemed like the only thing that helped at the time was benzoyl peroxide products.

Not one but two rounds of isotretinoin (that’s Accutane in the States) later, my hormonal acne was still rearing its ugly head.

I’m nearly 30, and I still suffer from hormonal and stress-related breakouts. A number of products help me, but it really boils down to having a good regimen and sticking with a product even when your face has cleared up on that product.

Here’s my acne-fighting regimen:

  1. In the morning, I cleanse with a face wash that contains salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide, generally something gentle and without beads. I think beads are just irregularly damaging to the skin–exfoliation is better left to chemical exfoliators such as lactic acid or alpha hydroxy acids.
  2. In the evening, I cleanse my skin using a hot cloth cleanser–applying it as instructed, dry to the face, massaging and rubbing into the skin. Then I wash it off with warm water using my Clarisonic Plus brush for extra exfoliation.
  3. Then I apply a prescription acne product–Epiduo® Gel is a great option which is available from your doctor as a prescription and it just so happens to be the #1 branded topical acne product1–and then I go to bed, because there are somethings that cleansing can’t touch when it comes to acne, and that’s hydration, and sleep!

For more information about Epiduo Gel, click here.  If you’re interested in saving on your Epiduo Gel prescription, click here to receive a rebate. (I’m all about saving money on prescriptions!)

*Disclaimer – I am a sponsored partner for Epiduo + ABC Family’s Pump My Style sweepstakes. My opinions are my own and I am a true sufferer of acne and user of prescription acne topical products. I am endorsing Epiduo as a consumer and not as a physician, therefore nothing I say should be taken as medical advice.

Important Safety Information 

Indication: EPIDUO® Gel is indicated for the topical treatment of acne vulgaris in patients 12 years of age and older. Adverse Events: In controlled clinical studies, the most commonly reported adverse events (≥1%) in patients treated with EPIDUO® Gel were dry skin, contact dermatitis, application site burning, application site irritation and skin irritation. Warnings/Precautions: Patients taking EPIDUO® Gel should avoid exposure to sunlight and sunlamps and wear sunscreen when sun exposure cannot be avoided. Erythema, scaling, dryness, stinging/ burning, irritant and allergic contact dermatitis may occur with use of EPIDUO® Gel and may necessitate discontinuation. Please click here for full prescribing information.

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit or call 1‐800‐FDA‐1088.


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  1. Giselle
    08.23.2012 / 1:23 pm

    I have been going back and forth deciding whether to buy a clarisonic – I’m getting married and moving to the UK soon which is $$$$ – but, I think I’m going to do it! Thanks for your beauty tips!

  2. Jen Eaton
    08.23.2012 / 1:35 pm

    Thanks for sharing! I myself did actually 4 rounds of Accutane over a period of time. It is now off the market but I had great results & actually follow a similar skin regimen that you do. One thing that has always cleared my skin up…swimming whether in the ocean or a salt water/chlorine pool. Does wonders. Thanks for your post!

  3. 08.23.2012 / 2:15 pm

    interesting. What foundation do you use to cover scars and things like that without irritating the skin?

    • 08.23.2012 / 2:18 pm

      I use fuller coverage foundations during breakouts, like Revlon Colorstay Whipped, or I really love the new Urban Decay Naked foundation–full coverage but not cakey, looks flawless.

  4. 08.23.2012 / 2:26 pm

    Hey Kristina. From your pictures on the blog, we would never know that you have acne. You always appear flawless. I used to breakout and I noticed over the years that it is caused by food. I believe the natural hormones in dairy products can cause hormonal breakouts. I’m not the Doctor here {lol}, but I discovered when I limit dairy consumption I don’t get any pimples.

    • 08.23.2012 / 10:19 pm

      The magic of photoshop, Chelsa! I too believe that the natural hormones in milk tend to break me out more than anything else–but that is not based on any scientific understanding, just my theory (as it is yours). 🙂

  5. 08.23.2012 / 3:08 pm

    Thanks for the tips! I use epiduo too, but I should try the hot mask thing!

  6. 08.23.2012 / 3:09 pm

    Thank you for sharing, I too suffer from adult acne 🙁 I tried the Clarisonic and it really inflamed my skin. I am on a strict regiment of antibiotics to get my skin back under control. I will look into this gel though too.

  7. 08.23.2012 / 4:17 pm

    Great Skin is Your Best Accessory: There’s no doubt in my mind that when it comes to looking great for summer, t…

  8. 08.23.2012 / 4:28 pm

    Thank you for the tips! I have also been a suffer for over 7 years now… My skin was radiant a couple years ago then I went through a lot of stressful life events and I’m struggling to get back to when it was good! I also use Epiduo and it is definitely a lifesaver for me! I should try the hot cloth cleanser at night!

    • 08.23.2012 / 10:20 pm

      Stress is definitely the biggest trigger for breakouts for me! So glad that you’ve found great control with Epiduo Gel!

  9. 08.23.2012 / 4:40 pm

    Great tips. I have a friend who has suffered from Acne for years, I honestly never have noticed but she always is talking about how much it frusterates her. It really impacts her self esteem which is so upsetting because she is beautiful and such a great person inside out! She recently asked my opinion on skin products because she noticed I’ve never discussed them on my blog, and she was more than annoyed when I told her I didn’t really have any skin “tricks” – I’ll forward your blog to her, I think she will really identify with your story of struggling with acne in your teens and such. Great post, I love how honest you are in all of your articles.

  10. 08.24.2012 / 2:07 am

    Great Skin is Your Best Accessory — Pretty Shiny Sparkly: As a teenager, I suffered from major acne – initially …

  11. 08.24.2012 / 2:30 am

    Well-written piece. It’s always great to read about other people’s experiences with skin problems, and the solutions they’ve found actually work effectively. Thanks for sharing!
    Inspirations & CELEBRATIONS

  12. 08.24.2012 / 2:46 am

    Great Skin is Your Best Accessory — Pretty Shiny Sparkly: As a teenager, I suffered from major acne – initially …

  13. Amanda
    08.24.2012 / 5:51 am

    Thank you for sharing this. I have been battling acne for about 10 years and have tried almost everything under the sun. I recently started isotretinoin and after 4 months have not really noticed an improvement, if anything it feels like my skin has gotten worse. How long were you on the isotretinoin each time you tried it? Do you have any suggestions for what foundation I should use while on the medication? I feel like I need something with a little more coverage (I feel like my face looks worse on the meds) but I don’t want anything too heavy. Thank you again and I absolutely LOVE your blog!

  14. Jenny
    08.24.2012 / 7:57 am

    I have struggled with my skin since my teens as well and now have a horrible combo of rosacea and acne as an adult. One thing that really has helped is using ziana gel which contains topical retinoin along with clindamycin which is an antibacterial. That and a good moisturizer since those retinoids can really dry you out. The one I’m using now is actually from kohls. I also had good luck with macs studio sculpt foundation and skin finish natural powder for cover up that didn’t feel cakey

  15. Chaz
    08.24.2012 / 2:13 pm

    Arrgh, adult acne is NO FAIR! 🙂 I’ve had acne since I was about 12, and I’m 35 now. I was on antibiotics and topical prescriptions for years. Most “acne-treating” systems have been too harsh on my skin, especially as I’ve gotten older. When I was in my late 20s, I started using Dr. Perricone’s skin clearing line, and it made a huge difference. Then, I went through a hormonal change in my early 30s and nothing seemed to calm it down (add rosacea to that). I went through a period of trying everything (Murad, DDF, Dermadoctor, etc.), and then found an interesting article about adult acne saying that some of it may be caused by using overly-harsh products meant for teenagers, and that adults need more gentle, non-irritating products. So, I’ve gone back to Dr. Perricone, this time his hypo-allergenic line. And, my skin looks better than it has in years. I also use a DDF salicylic acid spot treatment, and my Clarisonic in the evening. Thanks very much for your point of view on this!

  16. 08.25.2012 / 6:21 am

    This is super helpful. It can really be difficult finding products that clear up and maintain your skin.

  17. 08.29.2012 / 12:57 am

    Thanks for sharing! I’ve recently started to have bad breakouts (which is odd to me since I never broke out as a teen) and I have been trying to figure out what to do about it….this info will definitely be helpful!

  18. 08.29.2012 / 10:18 am

    As of your pictures on the blog, I would never identify that you have bad skin. You always appear flawless. I used to getaway and I notice over the years that it is caused by provisions. I consider the usual hormones in dairy harvest can reason hormonal breakouts.

  19. 10.11.2012 / 7:59 pm

    Oh my God, I have been searching for useful and effective acne solutions for the last few days and I’m glad I discovered your site. It has been a very frustrating last few weeks for me as it seems that acne came back in full vengeance.
    I have to check if this product is available here in Canada! Thanks again!

    ML (aka @20YS)
    Twenty York Street

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