Freshman Voice: An Acne Survivor’s Tips and Tricks For Clear Skin

Bending over the sink, squeezing a zit and watching the satisfying splat on the mirror, became a ritual of mine for 5 years. I think that we can all agree that one pimple can ruin your day. For the kids like me, who had terrible acne, every day was full of self-loathing and lots of time taking acne inventory. After spending around $2,000 on skin care products over my 18 years, I like to think I am a self-taught dermatologist. I know what works and doesn’t work for me. I understand the tendencies of my face better than I understand my math homework. Here are a couple things I found to work in helping me free from the acne curse.

Rituals, Rituals, Rituals!

The simplest way to take control over your acne is to do the same exact thing every time you go to bed and every time you wake up. I personally have the most annoying and tedious night time routine that involves my trusty Tarte face wash used with my Clearisonic, followed by a nighttime moisturizer, dermatologist prescribed topical face cream, Mario Badescu drying lotion and finally birth control to regulate my hormones. I have done this same thing for over a year and I can really see a difference.

Accutane… dun dun dun

Accutane is a medicine prescribed to me by my dermatologist, and though it usually has a bad reputation, it is truly a miracle drug. I was on Accutane for 5 months during 2014 and then another 5 months during 2016. From what I remember personally, the side effects included dry flakey everything (especially lips), light sensitivity, joint pains, ingrown toenails and hair loss. As a woman, I also had to get monthly pregnancy tests, blood draws, and daily birth control. These are necessary because being pregnant on Accutane will cause major defects to the child, and because it is such a strong drug, the blood draw assures the doctor that the Accutane is not affecting your liver. This being said, my severe acne was cured and I haven’t had it since.


Another way to treat acne is to take away the things that directly cause acne like dairy products and whey protein supplements. I have heard from people with cystic acne that taking these things out of their diet was a tremendous help. I personally see a difference when I eat more fruits, veggies and water regularly, but I understand that simply changing their diet will make a huge difference.

I’m here, as an acne survivor, to say that it really sucks, but it won’t last forever. I know the pain, the stares, the depression seeming eternal. I know waking up to more acne then you fell asleep with is the worst feeling on the planet. I know these things are detrimental to your self-confidence, and trust me, I wish I could tell you the perfect acne solution. All I can say is that acne is temporary, and your beauty is eternal.  

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