How I Keep My Acne-Prone Skin Clear

When I turned 25 I suddenly started getting painful and intense cystic acne seemingly out of nowhere. For the first year I tried to manage it myself, but when I got engaged at 26, I knew I wanted to really do something about it before my wedding. I started seeing a facialist in the city (Bonnie is still there and she is AMAZING, I cannot recommend her enough) who changed my entire relationship with my skin.

She helped clear it up with monthly facials and homework to stick to a morning and evening skincare routine at home, something I hadn’t really thought of before. Remember, this was before the days of TikTok and Drunk Elephant. She taught me about the importance of a good Vitamin C serum, of daily SPF, and helped me to find a moisturizer that didn’t make my acne worse.

Since then I’ve learned more and more about what works for my own skin which is very acne prone, very oily, but also now aging, a super fun combo let me tell ya.

Ever since I had Luca, something in my hormones went bezerk and my acne has been a lot harder to manage again so I’ve been trying to make changes big and small to keep it in check. In the last two months, it finally clicked but I definitely do a lot for clear skin, it doesn’t come easily to me!

Without further ado, my psychotic acne plan. Each and everyone of these things makes a difference. I don’t think any one of them on their own would do it, but collectively, they have kept my skin clean and clear… and under control 😉


Water: This one should probably be a given at this point but I try to drink at least 60oz of water/day. Everything feels better when I do this.

Hot Water with Lemon: I start my morning with hot (not boiling water) with lemon for lymphatic drainage.

Greens Powder: After that I drink my AG1 religiously before breakfast which has helped my hair, nails, and skin in a big way.

Probiotic: My ex-coworker and friend from another lifetime, Maria Marlowe, is now a nutritionist and influencer who focuses mostly on acne. I follower her religiously on Instagram and added Glow Biome, her probiotics created specifically for acne, to my daily routine.\

Sugar: Since drinking less, my sugar intake has become a lot higher but when I don’t go overboard, my skin definitely feels the difference. I’m not insane about restricting but I do try not to eat cookies and candy daily which I was doing for a while there and made me feel terrible in many ways. This is the one thing I struggle with the most!

Omega-3s: Because acne is inflammation in the skin, I try to add as many omega-3s to my diet as possible through salmon for meals, nuts for snacks, chia and flaxseed in my smoothies and salads,

Alcohol: Over the last two years I’ve gone through lots of phases with alcohol: completely dry for 6 months, a drink here or there, back to regular drinking, back to a drink here or there, back to dry, etc. When I’m not drinking at all I notice a difference in everything (sleep, mood, anxiety, fatigue, headaches) including my skin.

Skincare Products:

I have an extensive skincare routine, but these are the products that specifically target acne.

Daily Peel Pads: I go back and forth between the Dennis Gross Daily Peel Pads (pricey but VERY effective) and the Maree Daily Exfoliating Glycolic Acid Pads (more affordable, also very effective). I do one or the other every other night. When I skip this, my skin breaks out immediately so I know they’re really pulling their weight.

Weekly Overnight Peel Pads: Sunday nights I use the goop Overnight Peel Pads (use code 15jdgoop on Amazon, all lowercase) and wake up with the softest and clearest skin. They are not cheap but they are worth it plus some.

LED Light Mask: The thing about LED light masks is that they only work if you use them consistently. You won’t see a change after one or even 10 uses but after 2-4 weeks of consistency, your skin will be softer and acne will begin to clear up. I have been using this one which I recently learned is 31% more effective than any other at-home. LED light mask on the market.

IS Clinical Active Serum: I use this serum every other night before moisturizer on the nights when I don’t do a peel pad. It gives a nice little tingle and focuses both on fine lines as well as acne.


Facials: I get a super simple no-frills 30-minute facial at Glowbar every month that includes extractions, a nice strong peel, and a mask, then every quarter I try to get a more comprehensive one.

Microneedling: I did microneedling years ago and it helped a lot so I’m thinking of trying it again in the fall. I’ll report back when I do!

The other lasers and things I’ve tried are more for anti-aging so they’re not worth mentioning in this context but I did love Fraxel and IPL for discoloration and sun spots.


Change pillowcase daily: I realize that this sounds absolutely insane but it really did make a huge difference for the acne on the side of my cheek where I sleep. I sleep on one side of it, flip it for the second night, then wash it.

 Avoid face-touching: I became more cognizant of how often I was absentmindedly touching my face with unwashed hands and catch myself now when I’m doing it.

Wash make up brushes and sponges: I’ve started doing this weekly using this brush shampoo.

View all posts in: