Clear Skin Advice (help!)

I definitely had typical teenage acne growing up throughout high school. Oh, you seriously couldn’t pay me to go back to the teenage years. Braces, gangly legs, and zits. No thank you.
Except… my skin is going crazy right now. It’s absolutely from stress, and the fact that New York City is just kind of disgusting doesn’t help.
I’m not kidding, I woke up the other day and my skin was better-than-normal. One subway ride and one semi-stressful morning was all it took to send my skin spiraling again.
I have a Clarisonic and is certainly helps, but my normal morning and nightly routine is just not working anymore. Wah. I feel like I’m back in middle school.

I’m totally open to hear any (and all) of your suggestions…
What’s your routine? What works for you?

PS Can Instagram filters just walk around with us all the time. Valencia does wonders for the skin.
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I drink TONS of water and stay out of the sun. I hear those are 2 of the most important things! I have super sensitive skin so I don't wear any makeup (besides mascara and lip gloss) so that could have something to do with it too.

Ametis Bassir

I've tried everything under the sun, from Neutrogena, Clean & Clear, Proactiv, you name it and none of it worked. I finally went to the dermatologist, bought a Clarisonic Pro (which is different from the regular one you buy at Sephora, it's exclusive to dermatologists' offices) and my skin is flawless now! I'm so happy I made the trip because I haven't seen a blemish since I got my prescription regimen and that was about 2 months ago!

Hope this helps, good luck!



I've been noticing my typical face washes aren't doing my skin justice, so I recently purchased Neutrogena Toner and it seems to be working! After I wash my face, I apply the toner with a cotton ball, use my regular face moisturizer, and then, apply my make-up! It's only been a few days, but my skin is already clearing up and feeling healthier.


I SWEAR by using Biore's Pore Unclogging Scrub!! I use it with my Clarisonic occasionally and it's amazing. It's great by itself too, but extra great with the Clarisonic. Sometimes, if I'm breaking out really bad, I'll let my face "steam" in the shower while I'm washing my hair or whatever, then put a layer of the scrub on as a sort of mask and let it sit for a few minutes. After the few minutes are up and I can feel tingling, I'll rinse. It seriously does wonders.

I also use the pore strips on top of zits. It specifically says not to on the box, but I've never had any problems doing it. Pore strip on zit, wait for it to dry, peel it and the gross stuff off, then put some anti-acne gel on the zit and go to sleep.

Real College Student of Atlanta

WATER, WATER, WATER!! 🙂 it's what I've been posting about all month. despite my new stressful schedule, drinking lots of water every day has helped my skin stay smooth and clear and my hair/nails grow…and lose weight!!

good luck! products are so difficult to depend on, but you usually look flawless 🙂


I have no idea how much/what kind of makeup you wear, but go on a makeup detox for a few days, let your skin calm down! Also have you thought about seeing a dermatologist? A skin specialist may be able to prescribe something to keep your skin problems under control.


I have also been dealing with breakouts lately. I agree with the others who say that water does help. I also have a Clarisonic, and love it, but it hasn't been enough in handling my skin. I've noticed that skin care products that have active ingredients such as salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide actually irritate my skin and cause more breakouts because my skin is so sensitive. I've used the Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser on and off for about three years and started using it again. My skin has cleared up significantly! For me, a simpler skin care routine gives me the best results!

I hope that helped!

xo, Pareasa
The F.A.B. Journal


The SAME THING happened to me, and I went to the dermo because it was driving me so nuts that I decided the $50 to see the doc was worth it. First, I think that the water comment is totally important for not just your skin, but overall energy and well being. Second, what the dermo said that blew my mind was that I was actually over cleaning my skin. I previously used a clarsonic as well and she told me to stop using it because it was over-clensing and irritating my skin. I went on a more mild cleanser using just my hands to wash twice a day and saw a huge improvement. (Totally counter-intuitive, I know) I was stripping away all of the natural oils from my face, so during the day my skin was almost over compensating to replace that oil and leaving it greasy and gross. All skin types are different and what works for me might not work for you. Two suggestions: 1.) go to the dermo, it will be worth it if you go to a good one to get personalized advice, 2.) It won't hurt to try something new for a couple of days to see if it works

Genevieve Ang

Have you tried a clarifying mask? I like the Origins Clear Improvement charcoal mask ($16 at Sephora:

If you're looking to completely overhaul your skincare routine, I highly highly recommend reading Caroline Hirons' blog (

She's a very "tough love" type skincare person (and very British), but has great advice – I'm using some of her product recs and my skin has never looked better!! She recently did a cheat sheet on her skincare routine:

All the best!


I second Caroline Hiron! Some of the products may be hard to access here in the U.S., but you could easily substitute them for other products.

I've been using the Clarisonic Pro (1-2x a week) along with glycolic toner-hyaluronic acid toner combo for day and night along with AM and PM moisturizers and serums, which improved my acne breakout.

Also, I suggest La Roche Posay's Effaclear Duo for acne spots as it is gentle on your skin and doesn't affect your makeup. I also use LRP's Cicaplast on new acne scars to help heal them (Lisa Eldridge's acne makeup tip). Luckily, LRP can be found in Duane Reade pharmacies!

On those emerging zits, I also use Clean and Clear's Advantage Acne Spot Treatment at night (and on top of Effaclear Duo, if necessary) because the gel leaves a white cast/residue if it is rubbed. This drastically reduces the size and redness overnight.


Another vote for Caroline Hiron's blog. Even if you don't follow all of her tips/steps, it's a great resource to read up on and educate yourself further on skincare! Highly recommended!


I didn't want to be one of those people that needed a system targeted for acne…so I naively kept a simple routine with gentle/natural products for years, which did absolutely nothing to prevent my breakouts.
A month ago I finally bit the bullet and ordered Paula's Choice clear cleanser to use with my Clarisonic and her extra strength exfoliating toner. To moisturize, I use CeraVe's AM and PM lotions. I've seen a lot of improvement in the pigmentation left from old breakouts and haven't had nearly as many new breakouts as I did before I began this routine!
Everyone's skin is so unique and reacts differently to every product. I recommend doing a lot of research online and possibly visiting the dermatologist!

Also – I've been using that Neutrogena clear body spray that you recommended a while back for my chest/back and that has been working wonders! Thank you so much for the suggestion 🙂

Annika Mueller

I drink 2 nalgene sized water bottles a day, stick to a system, take makeup off at night, wash face twice a day and make sure to use my clairsonic every day in the shower with an exfoliating scrub! Try that!


I like the Skincare Addiction subreddit ( because they get all science-y on you. They don't care which magazine recommended a product, they want to see the ingredient list so they can say, "Oh, hyaluronic acid is a humectant, it's good for dry skin." Based on their recommendations, I use Cerave Foaming Facial Cleanser morning and night. At night I use a 0.025% tretinoin topical cream my dermatologist prescribed for me, and in the morning I use Ole Henrickson Protect the Truth sunscreen. My moisturizer is Lush's Celestial, but I know Skincare Addiction really likes Cerave in the tub. Good luck!

Lemon Smiles

I've used Liz Earle products for over 10 years and I rarely get spots – living in London (which is just as polluted as NY!)my skin gets exposed to lots of grime and dirt especially because I take the underground every day – ewww. Liz Earle is an English brand and it's all natural products which involves cleansing the skin, adding a cream, toner and a moisturiser – I honestly swear by it. I only really ever a get a spot around that time of the month – and even then it's a small one that disappears in a day or two. I use the 3 daily products twice a day – first thing in the morning and last thing at night. Here's the website: Go to the Skincare Tab then click on the daily essentials. Seriously – best stuff ever for skin! Also drinking lots of water and getting plenty of sleep helps 🙂


Have you ever tried using oil? It sounds so counter intuitive, but I've suffered from severe acne for years, and it seems to work. I would google it to get a better idea, but basically, you massage a mixture of castor and olive oil on your face, then hold a really hot wash cloth over your face, and then gently wipe off the oil. It puts back in natural oil so your face doesn't try to overcompensate and make more. And it's relaxing!

Deborah Yi

I've used Cetaphil for a year – I don't have acne but I do have sensitive skin and Cetaphil is the only thing that doesn't break me out in hives. I really reccommend it!

Liz Moran

So sorry to hear you're going through a skin slump!
A few years ago, I read a weird trick from Reese Witherspoon in InStyle magazine. Apparently, when she's having breakout issues she adds liquid chlorophyll to her water and it clears up in a few days. I've started taking it a few times a week (it's good for clearing out toxins in general) and I've totally noticed a difference!
(Original article here:


I went to the dermatologist last week for my moderate to severe acne and he suggested using the CeraVe cleansers and moisturizers. He said that the cleansers clean without stripping the skin and the moisturizers hydrate without clogging pores. I've only been using it for a few days so I cannot say for sure how great these two products are but it may be worth looking into especially since dermatologists recommend it. You can find both at a any drugstore.


Maybe you're having a reaction to parabens or SLS? That might be worth exploring since I think it is a pretty common issue, and lots of makeup brands are starting to label for parabens etc.

The other thing you might want to try is Micellar Waters, which are supposed to be great at targeting dust and pollution on your skin. Using micellar water doesn't require any water so you could just use it at work or on the go. This article explains them!

Jennifer S.

Well, the first thing (and probably the most pertinent information if you're asking for recommendations) is what's your skin type (beyond acne-prone)? I have combinations skin–shiny during the day, dry if messed with too much, and here's a few products that have really worked well for me and are super affordable. Morning: wash with Neutrogena face wash with salicylic acid, wipe Dickinson's Witch Hazel all over face and neck with cotton ball, allow to dry. I then use a serum and eye balm, but those aren't pertinent here. Moisturize with Garnier Moisture Rescue Lightweight UV Lotion (not the gel), makeup. One thing to note with your makeup: make sure to wash your brushes! Face brushes preferably every three days, especially if you're breaking out. At the end of the day, I wash my makeup off with my Clarisonic (deep pore cleansing brush) and Loreal's sensitive skin face wash (creamy), do the witch hazel again, and use Alpha Hydrox's 10% Glycolic AHA Anti-Wrinkle lotion (available at Ulta and Amazon). That lotion helps prevent wrinkles and is great for acne as well, so it's a 2 for 1. The biggest trigger for my breakouts now is not washing my face at night (and that rarely happens). Hope this helps!


Go to the dermatologist! I waited way too long and "self medicated" with all kinds of drugstore/sephora products. I also second the recommendations for water, and less caffeine as it can cause skin to flare up.

Hunter Thiers

Hmmmm I have a couple suggestions since I frequently face this too! Right now I am using Clinique's Liquid Facial Soap in Mild because my skin is easily dried out. I also use Neutrogena's Oil Free Acne Wash when I need it or my face feels terrible. I hope this helps you out!

Melissa Rubsam

If you have sensitive skin try clinque, I use it religiously, also there is this black charcoal mask by origins that will save your skin as well.

Also drink a lot of unsweetened green tea!!

I hope your skin clears up soon!


Rodan + Fields UNBLEMISHED. I tried everything and this has been the only thing to work for me. I seriously get compliments on my skin weekly since I started using it. I ended up being a consultant I believe in it so much.

Brandy Drake

Philosophy's Purity works amazing with a Clarisonic! Also be sure that you keep your brush head changed regularly. I use the Purity with my Clarisonic and then use Clinique's acne foam cleanser and toner. Also, stock up on the Body Shop's tea tree oil absorbing sheets, it's a great way to take away shine without ruining your makeup.

When I encounter a breakout, it's also a sign for me that I need to throughly clean my makeup brushes. If you use brushes, a good wash with some anti-bacterial soap and a blast from a hairdryer on the hottest setting will kill any bacteria lurking in your brushes that may be sabotaging your skin.

Good Luck!


I drink LOTS of water and use Clinique products. I completely switched to their whole line and I have been so happy with them! I also use a Clarisonic! 🙂

Summer Wind

I had this issue not too long ago! My dermatologist told me to wash my face with just a damp wash cloth and plain soap (nothing with ingredients for acne). I switched to Neutrogena liquid soap and I am convinced it has helped to clear up my skin!

She also told me to stop exfoliating. There is all of this talk about how exfoliating leads to healthy skin, reduces wrinkles, and promotes a nice glow, but she said that it also opens your pores to dirt and bacteria. I haven't exfoliated in months and my skin is better than ever!

You may also want to look into the ingredients in your makeup. There are a lot of ingredients in certain products that promote breakouts. Look for noncomedogenic products. I completely switched my makeup and it's worked wonders!


I'd suggest you to go see a dermatologist… Acnes is a disease, anyway, even if we tend to consider it only an aestetic problem.. and there are doctors specialized in its treatment. My sister went under something similar…and now she's way better!


I went to a derm once over stress acne and was more or less told that better stress management was the only way to avoid it. Not what I wanted to hear! But there are a few things I have found to help keep it from getting worse:

Get a good protective cream. These are like a primer but have ingredients to protect your skin against pollution. They also have sunscreen and moisturize. The two I can think of are from Shiseido: and Clinque: I've used both but I really prefer the Shiseido because the SPF is higher and I'm as pale as you are.

To treat pimples the only thing that I've found that REALLY works is sulfur. If the pimples are deep, cystic acne try Mario Badescu's Buffering Lotion which is meant to treat cystic acne: If they're not quite that deep, try his Drying Lotion:

Hope this helps!


Everyone is different, so a trip to the derm might be called for. I breakout a lot from stress as well and when that happens, I find that a few days of make-up detoxing (wearing little to no make-up) helps a lot. I use a Clarisonic at night with a scrub and in the mornings try to keep it much simpler. Maybe try a mask? Masks always seem to give my skin some extra oomph when I'm feeling particularly broken out.

Maggie Royce

Honestly take a moment & think about what you're eating. I cut out all dairy/"junk" food, my skin cleared over the course of a half of a week.I recently have been eating terribly and my skin is at it's worst it could possibly be in a year.
Hope this helps!


Try taking supplements. I've been on Biotin and cod liver oil for a few months and they've helped my skin tremendously. Also, like everyone else has been suggesting – try a dermatologist. They'll be able to help the best, I think. If you want face wash, Cetaphil's oil free foam (in the purple-capped bottle) is fantastic.


I am very lucky when it comes to my skin, but trust me, I totally get the stress breakouts. I too use the clarisonic, both in the morning and at night, and it's amazing. I use it with Philosophy's Purity Cleanser. I then swear by all Chanel Skin Care. I use the toner, followed by the Hydra Beauty Line. I use the serum at night and the moisturizer in the morning. It is expensive, but it last forever (usually a whole year) since you don't need to use much at all, and it is exactly what my skin needs…it is nothing fancy, it is just light and hydrating. My skin noticed a difference right away! I would now be lost without it!

For me, I know it may sound crazy, but the sun and salt water makes my face feel and look incredible. The sun dries everything up, and salt water cures all!



Fish oil supplements reduce inflammation in your body on the whole–I double up on my normal amount when I have breakouts, while trying to reduce my sugar intake, and things usually clear up quickly. No judgment, but I have to say if a dermatologist or doctor prescribes birth control for your acne, run the other way. The side effects are way more trouble (seriously, check out one of the info packets sometime) than it's worth for clear skin, and coming off of it sends your hormones into overdrive and makes your skin even crazier than before.


I recommend any and all Glytone products (they come from the Dermatologist). Glycolic acid works wonders. Also, a gentle topical from the dermatologist wouldn't hurt either. I love Aczone.


this was happening to me as well and I changed from my normal routine to all natural products (no chemicals = much more delicate and reduces irritation). just some Burts Bees orange face wash and the clary sage moisturizer (found at any local drug store or whole foods!) and I was on the right track! alongside that, of course drink plenty of water and reduce your refined sugar intake- i've completely cut out high fructose corn syrup (with the exception of a few cheats here and there) and i've also drastically reduced my dairy intake by replacing drinking regular milk with drinking almond milk (or putting it in cereals, protein shakes, etc). Lastly, any natural veggie juices with carrots, cucumber, and/or aloe are great for the skin! great skin thrives off what you put into your body- I very similarly would have a breakout come along with any sort of stress, or just your typical girl stuff, but I am astonished and so happy to say that I haven't had a single breakout since January of this year! Good luck!


I use the OCM (Oil Cleansing Method). It has worked WONDERS for my skin. I mix 70% olive oil with 30% castor oil. I know it sounds counter intuitive, but the oils clean your face without stripping it completely which doesn't alert your skin glands to produce excess oil that can then lead to blemishes. Massage the oil onto your face in the shower, cover with a warm wet wash cloth for about a minute and then gently wipe away.


I really like La Roche-Posay's effaclar duo on spots – I find it clears them up like nothing else. I recently just got this Aztec Clay mask from Amazon (super cheap – mix it with apple cider vinegar) and all of the reviews are true in that you can feel your face pulsate. My skin always looks a million times better after that mask.

Another tip I've used in the past is using Jojoba oil as a moisturizer. Before you freak out (lord knows I did about putting an oil on my face) the oil is really similar to your sebum that your skin naturally produces. Therefore, it cleans out your pores, and prevents your skin from producing excess oil. It's a win-win.


Hi Carly!
I'm in Germany for a year and since I've been here my face has gone from perfect to Swiss chesse! What a friend recomended me are LUSH products originally from the UK but you can also get them in the US,

These products are completely natural, free of any chemicals and they are hand made. I use the Ocean Salt and it has significantly reduced the dark spots from too many chocolates (I blame Milka and Lindt!)Here it is:,en_US,pd.html?start=1

I'd advise you to give it a try!


Burt's Bees Acne Solutions face wash and spot cream. Better results than any thing a dermatologist has given me. And its all natural!

Ashley Rizzardo

I drink tons of water. I wash my face in the morning and at night and moisturize after both washes. I use Olay for sensitive skin since I do have more sensitive skin and it's very gentle. I also make sure to use primer regardless of whether I wear make up or not.



I use St. Ive's apricot scrub, and nothing else. I swear it works wonders! granted, I've been blessed with fairly clear skin, but when hormonal fluxes/stress/whatever would happen this scrub always helped clear things up. plus it leaves my face feeling so soft and clean afterwards!

also, you might want to look into coconut oil? it sounds kind of counter-intuitive to apply oil to an already oily face, but I swear it works pretty well. I tend to get lots of little bumps along my jawline from keratin buildup in my pores, and coconut oil is the only thing I've found to actually help with that.

Kimberly Topolewski

I use Cetaphil daily – I use to do it twice a day but I found that it didn't make much of a difference if I did it morning & night or just night. So in the morning I just rinse off in the shower and then go over my face with a makeup wipe. At night I wash with the cleanser.

I still get pretty bad acne, especially around my chin area. I'm past due to see a dermatologist, so I think when I eventually go I'll ask about that too.

carelessly graceful


Do you clean your clarisonic with antibacterial soap once a week? I was having problems with my skin breaking out and I started to clean it once a week with hand soap and I don't have a problem anymore!
Also, Mario Badescu products are life changing!


I totally get where you are coming from! I'm 23, and my face started looking like I was 14 again. Working 90+ hours a week in dirty, city air will do that to you 🙂
Dermadoctor Ain't Misbehavin' is an acne wash that goes onto dry skin and then you go over it with the wet Clarisonic. Seriously, my skin has never looked better! Using it twice a day, I began to see it work in just a few days. Its great because it is medicated but isn't super drying and you can get it right at Sephora!
It is literally the best acne product that I have tried (and there have been at least 50+ over time, including prescription)! Good Luck!!

Preppy Pink Crocodile

Do you eat a lot of dairy? Yogurt, milk, etc? It took me a loooong time to figure this out but have since had several friends get on the same page as me. A lot of women (people? I've not asked men.) don't handle dairy well but don't realize it. Try avoiding dairy for a week and see if that helps. When I eat yogurt (which I LOVE), my face breaks out. When I avoid it, it clears up. Sad but true tales of getting older!



I feel your pain. I'm in my mid-twenties, and I was still breaking out like a teenager.

My doctor prescribed some Retin-A creme. Normally, Retin-A is used for wrinkle prevention, but one of its big side effects is acne management. I've noticed such a HUGE difference in my skin. It took a few days to get used to it (my skin was very irritated), but after a week or so, my acne started clearing up beautifully. Also, apparently, the younger you start using it, the better your wrinkles will be as you age.

Also, I think sleep and water are two huge factors. I know you're a fellow Type-A personality, but really really try to get more sleep. I wake up pretty early some days, and I always purpose to get between 7-8 hours. Not only is it good for your skin, but there are SO many health benefits to having a good night's sleep. Hand-in-hand with sleep, it's making sure you have clean pillowcases. Some doctors even recommend switching them out every night! I'm not that crazy, but I do flip them and turn them to make sure I'm always sleeping on clean fabric. I also noticed I tend to break out more when I sleep with my cheek against the pillow.

Lastly, watch your carb/sugar intake. Whenever I cut back on both, my skin gets much better.

Good luck!

Rachelle M

Maybe it is the curse of the 23 year old? We revert back to our splotchy middle school selves. I've never had major skin problems but when I do break out it tends to signal that my skin needs a break from the routine. I generally give a DIY treatment of a steam and then a baking soda scrub followed by a yogurt and honey mask and the I try to lay off the soap for a few days until everything gets back to normal


One of my friends who is prone to acne/oily/cranky skin also uses a Retin-A cream and has noticed HUGE results from it. Her skin is smoother, more even, and definitely doesn't break out as often. She uses her Clarisonic every night to exfoliate and then puts on the Retin-A cream. Of course, your dermatologist will be able to tell you how much cream to use for your particular skin concerns. Also, just make sure you're not using too much product. Sometimes, if my skin feels weird, I'll use too much cream or something to overcompensate, and I always end up regretting the results! Good luck–I know how crappy it is when your skin acts up and you can't figure out how to calm it!


No product–from the drugstore, the department store (including the clarisonic), or the dermatologist–has ever done for my skin what eating right, drinking LOTS of water, and exercising 4-5 times a week has. I would also second what others have said about watching dairy/sugar intake; if you have an intolerance, eliminating these foods will improve more than your skin!


I alternate between Mario Badescu's Enzyme Cleanser and Seaweed cleanser for daily face wash in the shower and then St. Ive's Apricot Scrub if I need to exfolitiate (1-2x/week). Mario Badescu also has a fabulous line of moisturizers and specific treatments to fit your skin type and the and exact issues you're having. Whenever I can I also don't put make up on.


The only thing that worked for my skin was getting back to the basics: oil cleansing! I wash my face with Dr. Bronners tea tree oil soap at night, and then moisturize with pure jojoba oil (yes, my skin was OILY before, not dry). Amazed at the difference! I use my clairsonic less now, probably 2-3 times a week.


Change your pillowcase every day and try to get more sleep. Also, your hormone levels might be off particularly if you are under high amounts of stress and not taking care of yourself, so consider seeing an internist as well as a dermatologist to try to get to the root of your skin issues.

Darling Danielle

I have the same problem. Murad acne wash and cleanser with witch-hazel. Honestly, it was the best money I have ever spent. It is pricey but the bottles last about 6-8 months. It was a great investment. Wash every night and then use a cotton ball to put the toner on. It is great!

Hannah Elizabeth

I had perfect skin in hi school and as soon as I got out of my teens, my skin went crazy. I am now a full blown skin care addict and have had some luck with these products/brands:

-Avene. My dermatologist recommended this French brand and it is amazing. Great for sensitive skin and rosacea-which I have- but she recommends it to all kinds of skin types. I have body lotion, sunscreen, face wash, and face lotion for redness by them. They all work great. You can buy on

-Eucerin. This drugstore staple is my favorite. I use the redness line, but I have found that their other products are great too. I wear the redness relief lotion every day under my makeup. It has a green tint to it. I also have the anti-wrinkle and night cream for when my skin is feeling parched or when that line on my forehead shows up…

-Evian Facial Spray. Don't roll your eyes. Best thing I've ever bought. My derm recommended it too. Whenever I'm hot /sweaty/stressed/tired I spritz some on my face and it makes me feel refreshed. It actually is GOOD for your skin and help with hydration. Might be useful in the city!

-Lumene Finland. I use their facial wipes to remove eye makeup or when my skin feel yucky on the go and I am obsessed with them. You can get them at most drugstores in big cities I think

-Chanel. Their face wash is amazing. I swear by it. It's $50 a bottle but worth every cent. I use their makeup too. It might be worth changing your makeup as well as your skin care products. Makeup was one of the factors in all my skin issues.

Honestly, everyone's skin is different, but my advice is to experiment with a variety of products. Most drugstore lines work well, but sometimes certain items are worth the splurge. Go to a good dermatologist if you can and have them assess your skin, don't buy any products at the office (they are often overpriced), but write down the names and find them elsewhere!

Blaire Fehlman

Every since I moved from Virginia to NYC my face has done a 360 from clear complexion to dryness and breakouts, talk about hard to control! Besides drinking water I have used apricot oil to help reduce dryness, sounds like it would increase the amount of breakouts but it actually reduces the dryness and breakouts don't seem to be irritated anymore than time to get rid of the breakouts. Please follow up with some ideas you have found to concur the dryness and breakouts!!

Emily Covill

Honestly I tried everything growing up, creams from the dermatologist, every kit under the sun but nothing worked except accutane. I know its harsh, but the results are worth the risk! My skin is now flawless

California College Student

I've been using only Clinique skin care products since 8th grade (I'm in college now) and I love them! I've tried going to other brands to save money but always go back to Clinique. Head into a counter and they'll take care of you!

Mary Pat Minor

Rodan + Fields UNBLEMISH is a wonderful product. It's been developed by two female dermatologists – and has worked wonders for so many women and men! My three daughters use UNBLEMISH and they have great skin now. I use the REVERSE for years of sun damage and my skin has never looked better and I'm 51! As someone else on this post said … loved it so much I become an independent consultant for Rodan + Fields. If you want to check out all their products or try the UNBLEMISH – visit:

Would love to hear from you! Good Luck!


My skin routine…
AM: wash face with philosophy purity and clarisonic, toner, am eye cream, moisturizer, sunscreen
PM: remove makeup with clinique wash-away gel, wash face with philosophy acne face wash using a washcloth, pm eye cream, serum, pm moisturizer
2-3/week: exfoliate
1/week: mask
1/week: change my pillowcase
It may seem like a lot, but it helped me win the battle, even during my summer stint in DC for an internship and during my most stressful times in law school I had pretty decent skin and definitely owe it to this routine.

Good luck! I know skin problems are one of the worst things for any girl to deal with, it is totally superficial, but if your face isn't at its best, I know it makes me self conscious and less confident.


I love using the Biore cleansing strips to help remove gunk, especially after wearing a lot of makeup/getting really dirty. I also use a homemade peel once a week to remove all the bad stuff, which may help with all the city grime. Definitely look on Pinterest for skin remedies that are more natural and gentle.
Hope this helps!

Lauren Hunstad

I know it might be expensive but consider getting a facial at a medi-spa. They have access to powerful peels, lasers, and microdermabrasian machines which make a world of difference. You can also buy expensive, but very effective products there from lines like IS Clinical and Obagi.

Kate S.

Make sure to wash your pillow cases and sheets at least once a week! You might want to try and wash your actual pillow.

Katy Z

I swear by the Clinique 3 Step skin care. I know it has been around for AGES but it seriously works wonders. I use the liquid facial soap, the Clarifying lotion then either the dramatically different moisturizing gel or their superdefence lotion with SPF in it. The Step 2 clarifying lotion exfoliates and just gets crap off the skin that was missed with washing. I've used the 3 Step in the past then got sucked in using new stuff and have recently gone back to the 3 Step system and my skin is AMAZING. It is definitely an oldie but goodie.

Another good inexpensive cleanser is Acnee-Free. It is the generic of Proactiv and you can get it at drugstores like Walgreens.

If you really really have issues, go to the dermatologist! Also, birth control pills are suppose to clear up skin.


The same thing happened to me last year. If your blemishes are caused by stress the best way to treat it may be from the inside out. I'm a high-stress, high-strung person, and when I saw a doctor last year for multiple problems (including unusual breakouts on my face) she suggested cutting out dairy and refined sugar. 2 days later, my face was already back to normal! And as a bonus, my stress levels went down (which makes sense since dairy and sugar cause a lot of inflammation in the body. Less inflammation = less stress).

P.S. When I had my major breakout last year, I used an app called Pimple Eraser to hide the blemishes on my face! It's quick and works like a charm!

Cardigans and Chai

I have had this problem in the past {hello, exams} and I try to stick to a non-soap face wash and then follow up with tea tree oil. I swear on this stuff!! It smells funny, but it is effective if you're having issues with your skin! It is a more natural alternative to a lot of these chemicals people are using, and it is actually an antimicrobial/ anti-inflammatory product! I also agree with everyone else, drink lots and lots of water!

M. Whalen

Good 'ol baking soda scrub, let it sit until it dries once a week; every two days use St. Ives peach scrub; the classic Nutrogena orange face was is THE BEST; moisturizer is one place I still struggles though…

Caitlin Cawley

finding a routine and sticking to it is a start! it usually takes a little more than a month for your skin to adjust to a new routine, so constantly changing skincare products can disrupt it.

my skin has been up and down for years, but i have been following this routine for 2 years now and it has definitely kept the breakouts away! also, i highly recommend Aveeno products!

1. face wash (i use Aveeno's clear complexion foaming cleanser) 2. toner (Alba Botanica's natural hawaiian facial toner is amazing and so gentle)
3. benzoyl peroxide cream (i use Clean + Clear's persa-gel-10 cream. this helps prevent breakouts throughout the day. if you use this, test it on one part of your face first before using it all over to see how drying it will be for you. only use a little bit!)
4. moisturize! (Aveeno's positively radiant with spf is amazing!)

1. face wash (Aveeno's positively radiant skin brightening daily scrub is perfect at night. it gently exfoliates to get all the dirt off your skin.)
2. i apply a topical treatment that was prescribed by my dermatologist (it's a .1% adapalene cream)

i also use a face mask once a week. i already saw someone mention the Origins charcoal mask, and that is the one i use as well. it's a really quick mask and works so well!


I had the same problem the first year I moved to ny straight out of school two years ago! My skin was perfect in college and then it just spiraled out of control my first summer. I work for Fitness magazine and I tried every product our beauty editors suggested but the only thing that really worked was seeing a dermatologist. Seriously, this derm worked miracles. Everyone in my office sees her. Send me a message if you want a reference. Good luck!

Lizzie Shepard

The Clinique skin care line has helped me tremendously! I have been using it for a while and have never had terrible problems with my skin. The consultant at the counter will tell you which version of the steps you need.
Wash my face with the Clinique soap
Use the Moisturizing Gel
Wash my face with the Clinique soap
Use the Clarifying lotion
Apply the Spot Healing Gel for any trouble spots or spots where you can tell a break out is coming


Clinique will dry out your skin. The pH of your skin is 4.5-5.5; therefore you need an "acid based" or "non-alkaline" cleanser. Cetaphil is pH balanced. It doesn't matter if your skin is dry or too oily… it needs to get back to it's natural state. I knew a girl who had terrible acne, she tried everything, then she came across the Redken Men's body bar (an acid balanced cleanser) all her troubles were gone like that! Her skin needed to get back down to where it needed to be. If you were using a salon quality shampoo and conditioner you could even use the shampoo as a cleanser because the pH of your hair is the same as your nails! The salon quality shampoo will have the same pH as your skin. I am not suggesting you do that but you could! The Redken body bar would help! Clinique has a pH of an 8 (the same as your tears!) and it's so drying… so you slap more of that clinique yellow moisturizer becoming dependent on the product and continuing to use it. The moisturizers pH is about 7.. still too drying! Sensitive skin is tricky… i had no acne but I had redness and dryness when I entered my 20s. I'm in cosmetology school and you learn crazy things about how those things work!


I didn't really have acne in high school, but all of a sudden I'm 22 and breaking out everywhere! I recently got a facial using Elemis products. I bought a few of the products after, and my skin has never looked better. I love the tri-enzyme cleanser and the tri-enzyme night cream. They work amazingly well, do not dry out my skin, and clear up my breakouts!

Adriana Belmonte

Proactiv is AMAZING! If you use it twice daily, morning and night, it starts to work within days. It stops my breakouts and my skin always looks good. And this is coming from someone who also used to struggle with acne.

Samantha Elisabeth

Get something with salicylic acid. I switched to Clean & Clear acne cleanser, and it's been doing wonders for my forehead acne. Also for tougher days, use something stronger, like an astringent. Also, are you washing or at least splashing your face immediately after work outs? That can be a trigger as well.

Jessica Wilson

Lush. Aqua Marina Clenser, followed by tea tea toner, followed by Grease Lightning. That third product is amazing for stress breakouts and the disgusting city air.

Jung Hyun Seo

I have acne and breakouts sometimes, and I know exactly what it's like to live in a very polluted city..
I find that a homemade cucumber face mask really helps. Cucumber is mostly made up of water, so it really cools down and relaxes your skin, and gives you that additional moisture that your face needs. Plus, it's really easy to make. Just get a cucumber from the grocer's (it's for your face so organic and fresh if you can!), grind about a fourth of it on your cheese grater, and add some flour and a little bit of honey to add texture. Leave in your fridge for about 30 minutes, and then spread it out on your face. Leave it in for 3-5 minutes. Make sure to wash it out with lukewarm water before the cucumber dries out on your face and voila!
Also, if you can, a homemade carrot face mask is really good for acne and breakouts as well. You can google it if you're interested. Good luck!

Olivia Batten

I'd follow the advice above and definitely go see a dermatologist, it's amazing how much they know and how much they can help, especially when acne really bothers you. And if your case is pretty simple, you might have to go once at the beginning, once to follow up during your treatment plan, and then go as needed to get your scripts redone (if they even put you on any medication at all).The great thing, too, about seeing a derm is that you can ask them about all the various methods recommended here in the comments and see what they think would be best for you, it's always worth asking them.

I went and saw mine and, since I have oily skin, she recommended Cetaphil oil control face wash and Cetaphil oil control moisturizer (as needed). She also put me on an oral medication (Bactrum, I think) which helped to clear my skin pretty quickly and Epiduo (which takes a longer time to get working and is used in very small amounts but works wonders). I don't think I would have found the right regimen for my skin on my own, so the dermatologist was a great resource for me.

Daniela Pena

You know you should really come down to Sephora and get a full skin consultation! that is what i did and it was AMAZING because i feel like my skin is a little dull and idk .. just blah if you really want to get into it.. i have clear moments then i get zits here and there but recently what i have been doing is using the Vinoperfect Line from Caudline.. great brand smells amazing and great ingredients and it has given my skin radiance as well as even toned skin… for zits i use the mud mask from Glam glow the white one.. it is really really good and leaves my skin extremely clean… but like i said before you should really get a consultation at sephora and get samples of a good skin regimen and it will do you wonders..


Drinking lots of water and eating lots and lots of veggies! Diet really makes a huge difference, once I started eating less processed foods my skin got significantly clearer.


Hi Carly,

YES, hydration and sleep are key, along with the right products for your skin. Have you heard of Rodan + Fields? It is from the doctors who made ProActiv- but it is their new company. They have an Unblemish line that is formulated for adult skin. Much different then teenage acne. It is amazing! Full disclosure: I love R + F so much that I am a consultant now!

Good luck!


Lemon with water and take zinc pills. Also drink green tea, wash your face only am and pm. Only use a cleanser and a exfoliator–leave out the rest, it will only irritate your skin and dry it up. Watch your dairy intake and wearing make up while working out.


This may sound ridiculous and is 100% self-diagnosed but I've found that dairy is usually the cause of my break outs. I came to this hypothesis when I was fed up with all of the prescriptions my dermatologist had been giving me and I wanted to find another option with less side-effects. I got together with a dear friend of mine who had traveled the same route through dermatologists and never found a lasting solution until she went to a naturalistic doctor and changed her diet, which if I hadn't seen for myself I would have never believed the difference it made for her. The two main items my friend cut from her diet were gluten and dairy. Dairy had rung a bell with me because one of the prescriptions I had been taking was to reduce inflammation and could not be taken around the time of any dairy intake.
Since gluten seemed impossible for me to cut from my diet, I started by reducing, then cutting out, dairy. When my skin began to clear at first I thought it must just be wishful thinking or a lucky week. But when my skin has remained clear for multiple weeks, and when I notice the breakouts as a result of my moments of caving in (pizza with friends is a weakness of mine) I truly believe that cutting dairy out of my diet helps keep my skin much much clearer.
I've never had any other side effects from dairy, I love milk with cookies just as much as cookie monster; but now I try my best to really avoid it if possible. I don't make a big deal about it at events and gatherings so if I do have something that I probably shouldn't, I try to not fall too wayside by remembering to keep it at a reduction is still better than giving in completely.
Just a thought!

Good luck!


^YEP! Same! I think I have a dairy and gluten intolerance. Not exactly fun but the clear skin is worth it.


This recommendation might already have been mentioned, but I was having a lot of problems with acne and my dermatologist prescribed antibiotics. I've been taking them for about 6 weeks now and I haven't seen a pimple in the last two weeks!! I am really impressed with the results. She also recommended Oil Control Cetaphil cleanser (a new product). Good luck!


I have the exact same problem, don't worry girl! If I'm stressed, it shows. I have a clarisonic, too! I just started using Arbonne and it's working really well. I also get microderm abrasion once a month and that REALLY helps! I put Vitamin C oil on my skin before I put my moisturizer on each morning and it protects against the sun, dirt and grime and prevents pimples. It's great 🙂 Hope this helps a little!

Nellie New

I swear by Glam Glow Super-Mud Clearing Treatment! It's a bit pricey ($69 at Sephora), but it's on Amazon for about $40! It completely clears your skin and you can even see what's extracted from your pores. I use it about once a week and leave it on for about 5-20 minutes until it's dry. Every time I use it I literally feel like my skin is just glowing. I use a Clarisonic mia as well with Fresh Soy Cleanser from Sephora. I've had stress-induced breakouts as well and now I haven't had a breakout in months!


Try removing dairy & grains from your diet & see how that works. I've been doing so for about a week now & my skin has gotten INSANELY better.

I also recommend using LUSH Cosmetics products – just drop in your local boutique & the girls there will be more than happy to give you a demo & recommend products. My skin, whenever I don't have acne, is perfect thanks to them. And now, thanks to a change in diet, I'm getting less and less acne.


Rose water, Cucumber (3 inches) and honey blended into a paste, apply it onto your skin. It feels great and works wonder, I've been doing it for a few months.

Another solution would be birth control. The hormones work wonders for skin.

When life happens

Hi Carly,
Dr. Murad Clarifying Cleanser is pretty awesome. I know you said that your skin is sensitive (so is mine) so I'd also recommend trying Ren, they use really light and refreshing ingredients. I lived in Texas this last year which totally was the worst decision for my face and I found that the Kate Somerville Clinic-To-Go™ Resurfacing Peel Pads worked wonders while being incredible sensitive.

Alan Abraham

You can end your search for Best dermatologist in Delhi at Skin PLus Clinic which has only world class dermatologists delivering excellent services. With a number of happy and satisfied clients, this clinic enjoys high popularity and demand among people of every class and income. For more info

Maya A

I started to use Neutrogena's acne kit but it dried out my skin. It takes a lot to do that because I have VERY oily skin. I switched to the Citrus Clear Sensitive line of products – and it made my skin smooth and look very good, without drying it out. Plus the Citrus Clear products smell sooooooo much better. . .

Ruby Coleman

Honestly take a moment & think about what you're eating. I cut out all dairy/"junk" food, my skin cleared over the course of a half of a week.I recently have been eating terribly and my skin is at it's worst it could possibly be in a year.
Hope this helps!
Ruby Coleman