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all clear

eight steps to getting the skin you've always dreamed of.

by: jade taylor

June 20 2013

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Wishing a "Happy Acne Awareness Month" to someone who suffers (or has in the past) with acne is basically celebrating the one thing they don't want to bring attention to. Woo-hoo! (Cue the reaction GIF of every sassy eye-roll on the Internet now.)

That was my (very honest) first impression to being bombarded with these HAAM emails at work, but then I realized that I've dealt with acne for a while (when I was about 14 I started getting normal teenage hormonal breakouts but nothing too intolerable--and then when I reached around 19 my skin had become so horrible that I would literally refuse to leave the house some days) and can totally use this time to help someone with this problem because--believe me--I have tried every acne product out there. I inherited extremely oily skin and huge pores, with dry patches in certain areas (thanks Mom!), so basically: combination skin prone to breakouts that's nearly impossible to combat. Or so I thought....

Here are the eight holy-grail acne products that have majorly saved my skin, my sanity, and my self-esteem throughout the years. If these companies ever discontinued them I would freak out Amanda Bynes-style, throwing things out windows, crying, and ranting about it on Twitter.

Cleanser: Peter Thomas Roth Beta Hydroxy Acid 2% Acne Wash - $35
The fabulous juxtaposition found within this cleanser is the two-percent Salicylic Acid and Allantoin to calm the skin. Even if your skin is used to Salicylic Acid, you should always follow with a moisturizer (more on that later).

Exfoliator: Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant -$52
When you have acne, you also end up with a lot of dead skin, so the best thing to use following your cleanser is an exfoliator. Unfortunately, a lot of brands only make exfoliators that are to be used once or twice a week, and ain't nobody got time for that (especially your skin). This is just one of the many reasons why I love this Daily Microfoliant--a powdered formula that you pour out into your hand, mix with water, and then lather on to your face.

Toner: Kiehl's Blue Astringent Herbal Lotion - $28
One of my first skincare memories comes from my grandma, who taught me while we were strolling by the makeup counters at Burdines (now Macy's) that I should always, always tone my skin after showering. I've carried this habit for many years because of her beauty-wisdom, but finding the right toner isn't as easy as you'd think. This product contains Camphor, Menthol, and Sodium PCA--which all work in unison on oily areas--and a lot of dudes use it as a post-shave facial astringent. Fun fact: Andy Warhol was allegedly a huge fan of this product!

Serum: Mario Badescu Anti-Acne Serum - $20
The best thing to apply pre-moisturizer is a great serum, and this one is amazing because the gel formula fights breakouts before they even start. Apply a thin layer on clean skin (I only use at night) and it'll keep your breakouts under control without any irritation.

Spot Treatment: Mario Badescu Drying Lotion - $17
For those nasty, awful, I-need-you-to-disappear-by-tomorrow-morning flare-ups, a spot treatment is a total necessity in your routine. Admittedly, I don't use this product every day, but I've been using this product for over five years now, and it's still the only spot treatment I've ever fallen in love with.

Moisturizer: Kiehl's Blue Herbal Moisturizer - $25
This is easily my favorite moisturizer--like, ever. This oil-free formula mattifies skin, reduces the appearance of pores, hydrates, and prevents blemishes all-in-one. Packed with Cinnamon Bark Extract and Sodium PCA--for antibacterial and soothing effects--I use twice a day (morning and night), and sometimes mid-day if I need a hydration boost.

Mask: GLAMGLOW Super-Mud Clearing Treatment - $69
Developed to fight a variety of skin concerns (breakouts, discoloration, black and white heads, razor bumps, and in-grown hair) with a ton of amazing ingredients (please Google them, it's too much for me to type out), it's no surprise that the product has already become a cult favorite. Apply a layer to clean skin, leave on for up to 10-20 minutes, and watch the Pore-Matrix vacuum extractions right in front of your eyes (well, if you're starring at yourself in the mirror)--but you will feel it work right away.

Vitamin: Perricone MD Skin Clear Dietary Supplements - $85
Clear skin is truly a combination of what you put on it externally, and into it internally. My breakouts are predominately hormonal issues that nobody wants to talk about (cough, that-time-of-the-month, cough), which is what inspired me to test out these supplements to clear my skin from the inside out. You get 30 packets a box, and each packet contains seven key supplements, all combined to improve your skins clarity, texture, and breakouts--and they also improve your immune system and give antioxidant protection. Make sure you take one packet every morning with food!

And that's it. Those are my Top 8 (yes, just like MySpace) cult acne products. So I can wish you a Happy Acne Awareness Month and now not feel like a jerk. Obviously dealing with bad skin is tough, but once you have a solid routine for your skin, it'll totally get better.

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