Doing the Most: My Acne-Prone Skincare Routine


If you’ve been following me for a while, you might remember that I’ve been struggling with breakouts forever. And I mean over ten years of constant active breakouts. Way too long. Sometimes my skin improves a bit and gets mostly clear, sometimes I wake up to a fresh hell field of cysts - it’s a rollercoaster I don’t love. So recently, fed up with my skin being at its worst ever, I finally sought some professional advice. I was feeling like the advice and ingredients I’d typically recommend to other people for acne just weren’t cutting it for me, or were actively making things worse, so I was probably long overdue for a consultation. And that’s how I ended up at a medical spa seeking a recommended SkinCeuticals routine (medical grade skincare seemed like a good next option to try). My current routine is a mix of recommendations from the nurse I met with (marked with an *) and things I’ve found support my overall skin health. And is, without a doubt, extra. Keep in mind my skin is neither oily nor dry and is on the sensitive side. Let’s get into it:

Morning Routine

I start off by washing my face with the Glowbiotics MD Probiotic Acne Treatment Cleanser* which has 2% salicylic acid for exfoliation, probiotics, peptides, and other calming and healing ingredients. To make sure my skin is super clean, I try to make sure I massage it in for about two minutes. After cleansing, I go in with The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%. Niacinamide helps to calm blemishes and reduce skin congestion while zinc helps to reduce the bacteria that causes acne and reduce oil production. I’ve been following that up with the Dr. Barbara Sturm Hyaluronic Serum and Drunk Elephant Protini Moisturizer to make sure my skin is properly hydrated and my skin barrier is as strong as it can be. Dehydrated skin and a compromised skin barrier can both lead to an increase in breakouts, and as I recently turned 25, I’m trying to cover my anti-aging bases too. Throw in the m61 Hydraboost Eye Concentrate and the REN Clean Screen SPF 30 and I’m set for the day.

Night Routine

To take the day off my face, I’ve been relying on the Chanel Le Lait Anti-Pollution Cleansing Milk and following that up with the Glowbiotics MD Probiotic Revitalizing Cleanser*. Both are super hydrating and soothing. Much to my surprise, I walked out of the med spa with a tretinoin (Retin-A) prescription. So every other night I apply a solid layer of SkinCeuticals Triple Lipid Restore Moisturizer* - which contains lots of good fats to supplement the skin barrier - and then apply just a pea-sized amount of the tretinoin. On nights when I’m not using the tretinoin, I’ll just stick with the Triple Lipid and maybe throw on the Sturm Hyaluronic underneath if I feel like I could use the extra hydration.


I’d read about super affordable high frequency machines on Into the Gloss several times before I decided I might as well try one out. The one I picked up was only $30 on Amazon, and it uses high frequency to oxygenate the skin, boost circulation (which helps push out toxins), and therefore increase cell renewal and the production of collagen and elastin. They can be used to treat active blemishes, tighten pores, decrease fine lines, and overall plump the skin. So multi-purpose and so worth it. The other tool I love is a gold bar facial massager - mine is from Wunder Wand, which seems to not be around anymore? Jillian Dempsey makes quite a pricey one, but there are definitely cheap versions available, I’ve even seen them at TJ Maxx. Anyway! The massager essentially vibrates and helps to push excess fluids out of your face and boost lymphatic drainage. It’s super relaxing to use, but also keeps my face from looking puffy.

Medications + Supplements

Besides the tretinoin prescription, I’ve also got prescription birth control and spironolactone working to hopefully reduce my hormonal acne. Spiro makes me thirsty like I just escaped the desert, but it’s worth it. I’ve also added a few supplements to my routine to hopefully get things more balanced internally as well. I just recently picked up The Beauty Chef Cleanse Powder after loving the Glow Powder’s results (Cleanse is meant to be better suited for acne). I also love 8Greens for getting in all of the greens I would not, or would not want to, eat daily. And last but not least, I’m taking Zinc internally too, which is meant to help with inflammatory acne.

Okay, if you made it all the way to the end, thanks for reading! I know this routine is a lot. And is really not necessarily the most feasible or affordable routine for everyone. Even I will likely end up trading out things like the Sturm serum for more affordable versions as time goes on. But the quest for clear skin continues! I will definitely keep you guys updated on my Retin-A journey!