Was it a new laundry detergent? Cutting out chocolate from your diet? Drinking more water? Wearing less makeup? Trimming your bangs? Going to bed earlier? Finding a new product? A procedure? A new dermatologist whose knowledge parted the clouds and let the sun shine through?

There are a few things that really helped me, but one immediately springs to mind: Kate Somerville Anti-Bac Clearing Lotion, which I’ve been using and loving for years. Finding it straight-up drastically changed my skin for the better. Without it, I will break out, no question.

For a little bac story (get it? haha, bad pun), I started struggling with acne at around 11 or 12 and dealt with it off and on (mostly on) for most of my life.

For years, I (thought I) tried everything — every OTC paste, pad and cream; antibiotics (which many dermatologists prescribed for acne back in the day), facials — seriously, everything. Then in college I ended up doing a round of prescription Accutane.

I don’t remember the potency, but I remember my skin (even my lips) being painfully dry while I was using it, and every pimple going crazy and coming to a head at once. It was very uncomfortable, but it worked. My skin stayed clear for several years afterward, but then in my 30s I started getting hormonal breakouts along my chin and around my mouth, and that was rough.

Again, I tried everything I could get my hands on — every new ingredient and product I could find. Good old salicylic acid products helped a little, like Clinique’s Mild Clarifying Lotion, but they didn’t clear up my skin completely.

What eventually did really help was old-school benzoyl peroxide, but not just any benzoyl peroxide. What worked for me was Proactiv Repairing Treatment (the one with 2.5% benzoyl peroxide), which I used for years, but I hated the scent (BP smells like plastic toys to me). I also hated that I couldn’t just go to a store and buy it when I needed more. Proactiv had like a subscription system, and they would automatically ship out more bottles of things (and charge me, of course), and I ended up with so many extra bottles of things I never used.

Eventually, the mall near my house got a Proactic vending machine, but it was right in the middle of the mall, and I always felt weird buying zit medicine with everyone walking around me…

Anyway, Kate Somerville Anti-Bac Clearing Lotion was a game-changer. I was a little nervous about trying it because it was a 5% benzoyl peroxide formula, and I’d used creams with that same amount before that dried out my skin, but Kate’s didn’t. It also doesn’t have that funky BP smell, it layers well under makeup, and I can pick it up at Sephora. 🙂

I’ve gushed about it before, and I’m sure I will again, because it drastically changed my skin for the better.

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,

Karen

P.S. Oh, yeah, and here’s something that drastically made my skin worse.