Here’s What A Top Dermatologist Wants You To Know About Your Skin


As many of you know, I’ve struggled with acne my whole life. I’ve had breakouts on my back, arms, chest — I’ve had it all. I’ve recently gotten it under control with some changes to my routine. I use retinol a few times a week and apply SPF 50 sunscreen every day to protect my skin and combat brown spots. Karena doesn’t usually have breakouts, but she sometimes experiences dryness and redness.

We’ve also heard from many of you girls with questions about skincare, whether it’s about sun protection, fighting acne or dryness, or how to pamper your skin for a gorgeous glow. So we tapped a top skincare expert, Dr. Jessica Wu, M.D., a Los Angeles-based dermatologist and author of Feed Your Face, to answer all our burning questions. She has some genius advice for giving your beautiful face the best care and love!


How does exercise affect my skin?

Great skin is another incredible perk of working out! “Exercise increases blood circulation, which brings oxygen and nutrients to the skin,” says Dr. Wu. “The better your circulation, the easier it is for your skin to get enough vitamin C and amino acids to build strong collagen and elastic tissue.” Translation: your skin will look younger and healthier!


What should I do to make sure I don’t break out after a workout?

“It’s best to work out with a clean face,” advises the pro. “The exception is if you’re exercising outdoors, be sure to wear sunscreen. I tell my patients to wash off their makeup before workouts. You can carry a pack of makeup remover wipes to save the blowout and eye makeup.” (We always stash Yes To Cucumber wipes in our gym bag to use before a hot yoga class!) After working out, Dr. Wu recommends washing your face and taking a shower ASAP.

I’m outside a lot. What are the best ways to protect my skin from the sun and pollutants?

You know we wear sunscreen every day (and stash it in our sports bras on the go!). Dr. Wu advises the same thing. “Apply an antioxidant serum to fight pollution, followed by a sunscreen with SPF 30-50,” she says “If you sweat a lot, choose one that says ‘water resistant 90 minutes.’” She also advises eating plenty of brightly colored fruits and veggies, which are high in antioxidants to fight free radical damage from pollution. And ya know that the Tone It Up Nutrition Plan is packed with a rainbow of bright veggies!


What are your recommendations for dry skin?

Dr. Wu has a two-step process to combat dryness: “First, make sure your cleanser is not drying out your face. In general, creamy cleansers are better for dry skin, especially in colder months. Look for ingredients like ceramides to help repair your skin’s natural barrier. Pat dry, don’t rub with a towel,” she explains. “Second, choose a moisturizer containing squalane (my current favorite dry-skin fighter), which acts like bubble wrap to help seal in moisture.”

What about oily skin?

“Oily skin usually means large pores, so it’s important to keep pores clean,” the derm says. “Choose a foaming or gel cleanser to remove oil effectively, and exfoliate once to twice a week.”


What is your ideal skin routine in the morning and night?

The ideal routine is different for everyone, says the pro, but she has some go-to guidelines:

Morning: Cleanse, treatment step, sunscreen, makeup. The treatment step depends on your skin. For breakouts, it could be an acne gel. If you’re starting to see fine lines around your eyes, it would be Vitamin C serum.

Night: Cleanse, treatment, moisturize, eye cream. At night, the treatment step might be a sulfur mask for breakouts or a retinol serum for fighting fine lines and/or dark spots.

What foods would you recommend for a beautiful complexion?

To relieve dry skin, Dr. Wu recommends loading up on foods like salmon and trout that are high in DHA and EPA, omega-3 fatty acids known to soothe dryness and rashes. Try the Simple Salmon Bake from the Tone It Up Nutrition Plan! Lycopene, an antioxidant found in cooked and sun dried tomatoes, can help fight sun damage. This Zucchini Pasta with Pesto and Sun Dried Tomatoes is so yum!


What is the No. 1 piece of advice you tell your patients to get healthy, glowing skin?

“Get 7-8 hours of sleep a night,” says Dr. Wu. “Studies show that lack of sleep makes your skin dehydrated and dull.” Plenty of sleep will also help speed up your metabolism and energize you for your Booty Call! Check our tips for better ZZZs HERE!

What are your top skincare tips? Tell us in the comments! PS: I’m looking for something a little less harsh than the retinol I’m using now. Any suggestions?


Gorgeous skin comes from within! The nutrient-packed foods in the Tone It Up Nutrition Plan help keep your complexion clear, smooth, and glowing!



  1. I have sensitive skin. So it is difficult for me to find products that don’t irritate my skin. I have tried moisturizers with retinol but they make my face look like it has a sunburn. So I am currently using Noxzema to clean my face and then I use Jergens Hydrating Coconut lotion for my am and pm routine. This does ok but I would like to find something for the fine lines that I see. Any Suggestions?

          1. I love Dermalogica too! At Ulta they can do a skin mapping session and they also offer a $20 mini facial. If you’re afraid of the commitment, I agree with the little skin type kits that they offer. Definitely try a skin mapping session first though!

      1. My best friend has really sensitive skin and started using the Rodan + Fields SOOTHE regimen with amazing results. She even uses it on her son now when he gets a rash or redness on his face and it clears it up within an hour! It’s amazing, I use and love their products as well as they have something for everyone’s concerns: wrinkles, sun damage and age/dark spots, breakouts even. It’s worked better for me than any other brands I’ve tried (and I tried a lot!). Plus, they have a 60 day money back guarantee on all their products so not much to lose by trying! I recently started selling the products since I love them so much. Feel free to check out the website and use the solutions tool which walks you through your biggest concerns and Dr. Rodan & Dr. Fields recommendations.

    1. Dermalogica is great! I use the Ultra Calming as well. What I like about it, is they have a sample pack so you can see if it works for your complexion before you buy the full sized product! I bought mine at Ulta but I’ve seen it at drugstores as well! I

    2. I would highly recommend Soothe from Rodan+Fields. I developed Rosacea after I had my daughter and it was bad! I started caking on the makeup, which of course made it worse. I started on Soothe and within 2 weeks the redness was gone, the sensitivity to heat had gone down and the small Rosacea bumps were gone. I’ve used it for 2.5 years now and you would have never known I had it.

    3. I have super sensitive skin, I can’t even use the Noxzema because it irritates me (no face makeup either 🙁). For wash, I’ve been using African Black Soap, it’s super gentile, and has natural ingredients. It’s the only thing I have found that doesn’t make me breakout, rash, or give me dry patches. For mousturizer, and eye gel, I use the InstaNatural line. Most of the ingredients are organic/natural, so it’s a lot easier on my face. I’ve tried everything else under the sun, and nothing has worked for me besides these. Hope this helps.

    4. I also have sensitive and dry skin. I started using Rodan and Fields Soothe to help with the sensitivity and dryness and now moved onto Redifine to help with dullness and wrinkles. Loved this so much I became a consultant. I can answer questions about it if you’re interested!

    5. Hey girl! I love the Beautycounter’s cleansing balm as a moisturizing mask at night and everything in the counter time line for fighting fine lines. It is all non-toxic and has never caused issues with my super sensative skin! I’m a contulant, let me know if you have any questions or take a look at the link:

    6. I have really sensitive skin as well. It’s combination so it can be both oily and dry. My new favorite is Burts Bees Cleansing Oil- it’s so gentle and it cleans my face thoroughly without drying it out. For moisture I’ve been using Loreal’s new Hydro Boost gel like moisturizer for oily skin. It goes on light, makes my face feel
      Smooth and helps the dryness without clogging my pores! What works for one person doesn’t always work for others- I’ve tried so many things throughout the years. I was always so nervous to try any form of oil in fear of breakouts but so far and amazingly it’s actually helped my acne! Hope this helps 😁

    7. I have very allergic skin to the point that I had to see a dermatologist. He recommended Clinique. Before I even put any of their products on my face they did a swatch test on me and I didn’t have a reaction. It’s a very extensive line that helps people attain great skin whatever their skin goals are.

    8. Sometimes if you aren’t using the right products for your skin currently it can lead to sensitive skin. I always recommend to people to use the same brand of products for a cleanser and a moisturizer. Each brand that makes skin care products tests them together to make sure that they work. Companies don’t test their products to make sure their cleanser or moisturizer works with a different brand. Send me a PM and I’d be happy to connect with you on an anti-aging skin care regimen’s.

  2. During my teenage-years i had a lot of breakouts. Back then i used tee tree oil and healing earth masks. Both of them are organic.
    For the tee tree oil i just jused a cotton swab and dabbed it on the breakouts. Every now and then i did a healing earth mask on the whole face.
    I hope this might help you.

  3. I’m definitely prone to acne. Over the years, I’ve figured out how to keep it at bay. Firstly, I swear by Eve Lom cleanser…. it’s amazing, smells so good and is so easy to use. It’s sort of high end price wise but a pot lasts ages and it’s really all you need. Try it if you can.
    Secondly… I avoid dairy as much as i can. It really affects my stomach which, in turn., affects my skin. Also, high sugar stuff, chocolate is the worst (apart the from really dark stuff) and too much alcohol. really anything that sort of inflames my body will inflame my skin. I really notice a difference when I’ve had a weekend of friends and food and prosecco.
    Spots from monthly hormones are still there but if you’re balancing your body, they’re only teeny.
    Honestly, I feel I could write a book on it… the research I have done!
    Hope that’s helpful! Lizzie x

  4. This link is from Harper Bazaar, it is an article about using retinol with sensitive skin. It has a lot of tips! If you feel uncomfortable opening a link, you can Google the article.
    I looking at trying Tata Harper’s line, any of you all tried it yet???

    1. Yes! Tata Harper resurfacing mask is life changing. I leave it on overnight and in the am my fine lines have disappeared and my skin is glowing! Expensive but worth it!

  5. I have had trouble with acne my entire life. (Still do) but the product that I saw significantly change my skin is the Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel. It has Hyaluronic acid in it so it helps get rid of dark spots and all my acne scars. They have one that is amazing without SPF so you can put your own on, and they also have one with SPF, which I don’t like AS much but it’s nice when I want to just quick put on my products before heading to the gym or I’m just in a hurry in the morning. HIGHLY RECOMMEND checking out for anyone!

    1. Thank you, I’ll try. Do you have some special tricks? I have an acne prone skin and I suffer from acne scars. I’m doing everything I can (always removing make-up and washing my face, lots of water, enough sleep, no smoking, only limited alcohol) to prevent this, I even take laser treatment during winter and I go to cosmetic salon regularly, but sometimes nothing helps.

      1. Have you tried Rodan + Fields UNBLEMISH line? It did wonders with my acne and completely cleared my skin up. They also have a tool called the AMP MD that helps with fine lines and wrinkles. My sister-in-law has bad acne scarring and just been using for a month now with noticeable changes. Let me know if you’re interested in trying as I can offer you some discounts. Also, there’s a 60 day money back guarantee so not much to lose!

      2. Babu, I suffer from acne-prone skin, too. I’ve dealt with acne scars since middle school and there are some on my face still healing from 2+ years ago! I recommend, firstly, patience with your skin. Scars may take years to fade. Secondly, I began to use rosehip oil (cold-pressed, organic, natural) as a moisturizer at night and it has help to speed up the process for fading my acne scars! It doesn’t break me out even though I have large pores and oily skin. Rosehip oil has no smell, but it tints your face orange after application (your face will absorb it though!). I also use an organic and natural cleanser with salicylic acid and activated charcoal, which are both great for fighting acne and acne scars!

    2. HI! I’m so glad to hear that the Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel worked for you! I was looking into getting it last time, but sometimes feel that I’ve tried so many I talk myself out of wasting the money and time to see if something else is going to work. I tend to go through stages with my acne and mostly suffer from cystic acne anymore, but have some scarring from college that just won’t fade. I’m glad to hear it helped with your scarring! I’m seeing a cosmetic dermatologist now and am considering accutane to prevent any more breakouts, and although I still have my hesitations around it anything I can use to help the scarring is great!

    1. Rodan and Fields has an oily-free sunscreen. Most folks that are prone to acne it’s b/c of oily that causes the breakout. So you want to be very choosy about what you put on your skin.

  6. Hi, I love using natural yet effective products. I have normal to dry skin and my skin responds well to Environ retinol products. They start you at a low retinol dose then step you up overtime. I love the line. If you are looking for a retinol alternative, look at Eminence Organic Bamboo Firming Fluid. Reviews of the product are very good 😊

    1. I love Emminence! I use the willow herb exfoliating peel twice a week and love it! I also use the Origins willow treatment. When I added in the willow products and jojoba oil on top of my regular wash/moisturize routine, I noticed a difference in my acne. It’s definitely helping my skin and acne type!

    2. I use everything Eminence. I love it. I tried Rodan and Fields but it burned my skin and made it look worse and I don’t even have sensitive skin! I have used grocery store brands to brands like Dior, Chanel, Lancome, SkinMedica and Obagi but nothing comes close for me as the Eminence line and so much choice for all skin types.

    3. Environ is amazing and has a great step up program so your skin can safely adjust to vitamin A.

  7. Hi y’all! As a person who suffers from adult acne due to exercising daily I’ve tried it all.
    Have any of you looked into the Rodan and Fields lines? They are the makers of proactive but took a change in direction and make 4 regimens for adult skin.
    Sensitive, Anti-aging, adult acne, to one brighten or lighten skin.

    Check it out…

  8. Ive fought with acne since my teens as well, and ive finally gotten it under control! I started using arbonne products, their whole line of re9 is charged woth anti aging ingredients, all botanical too! My skin not only glows but other then a pesky few pimples during my period, my skin is clear!

    1. I love their anti aging line!! My skin is acne prone and I love the smell, feel abs results. It’s not greasy. Love!

  9. Hey Kat,
    What kind of retinol are you using now? If it’s a concentrated serum you may wish to try switching to a Vitamin A cream instead. [Vitamin A= retinol] This won’t be as potent, therefore not as harsh, but you’ll still see those benefits. By switching to a cream that has Vit A/retinol you’re essentially lowering the concentration % which makes a huge difference. It’s a fairly potent chemical. The other thing about it is that it builds up in your system so taking a little break from it may help, by lowering the amount of days in the week you use it. Just take care when going back upwards in concentration amount if you do take a break; you’ll have to do so gradually so you don’t shock the skin too much.

    Glad to see my skin care degree isn’t just an expensive paperweight sometimes 😂
    Hope that helps :)

    1. I’ve read some bad things about retinol, but many dermatologists swear by it. I don’t know what to believe!

  10. This is very helpful! I’m definitely going to look for a face wash and moisturizer that has the ingredients Dr. Wu recommends. I’m afraid of looking older than I really am because of how dry my face is. My mom has the same issue and unfortunately she does look a little older than she really is :( I also need to do better about wearing sunscreen on a daily basis. Thanks for the tips! #TIU

  11. I stay away from squalene because it is usually derived from the liver of sharks and I don’t support products that are not free from animal sources. There is such a thing as squalene from plants but it’s not often used to my knowledge. Always contact the manufacturer to see where their source is and if in doubt, pass. There are so many other products that work just as well!

  12. After years of struggling with acne, my skin has never looked better since following the Nutrition Plan. It’s so true that your skin reflects what you put in your body. The focus on proper hydration and all the yummy, skin-loving recipes have made all the difference for me.

    If I have an event coming up, I usually kick things into high gear and cut out all dairy (basically just Greek yogurt because that’s the only dairy I consume on the Plan). And I also limit my coffee intake. I find coffee can cause redness and blotchiness for me. I opt for green tea for my caffeine fix instead because of all the antioxidants!

  13. Hey Katrina! For a retinol that is a little less harsh than what you are currently using ..perhaps try a brand called The Ordinary. I haven’t used it yet, however my sister just heard about them last week and is loving it so far! Here’s a link:

    It’s super affordable and I think it seems quite natural (not organic ..but definitely not full of chemicals). They have tons of serums too, which I am looking into trying :)

  14. I have oily skin, about a year ago my mom turned me on to oil cleansers, which I thought was insane but my skin has been so clear and is rarely ever oily anymore! I also use rose hip oil and a couple of drops of pure Frankincense oil every night as a moisturizer and the Frankincense has cleared up a lot of early sunspots that I began to see when I hit my 30’s. I wear a Vitamin C moisturizer with sunscreen from the Body Shop, I love it!

    1. Which oil do you use? I have really oily skin and heard jojoba oil was a good one, but after a week, my skin seems more oily than usual.

      1. Hi Diana! I have combination skin more focused on oily skin. Have you tried Rodan + Fields? I use an oil control lotion of theirs and it has worked wonders! Feel free to email me ([email protected]), I can help you out!

  15. Retin-A Micro works great! I have VERY sensitive skin and this hasn’t been irritating at all. I have been on it for almost 2years now and I love it. My brown spots have been reversed and I hardly break out. The reason it works so well is because your skin only absorbs what it needs, unlike with other Retin-A’s if you put too much on you get that scaliness. It’s more pricey than most Retin-A’s but it’s totally worth it! Ask your dermatologist for a coupon next time you go :) To combat any dryness, Herbivore has a great nighttime cream and their masks are amazing! Adding a little Argan oil over the moisturizer works wonders as well. I also put a little on in the morning before my SPF to combat any morning dryness, helps your makeup go on really smooth too, which is a plus :)

      1. As crazy as it sounds, I’ve started using Palmer’s Skin Therapy Oil around my eyes. I was starting to see those little lines below my eyes and had heard great things about this product. I think it was less than a month and they were totally gone. I don’t even use it every day, maybe 3-4 times a week.

        1. Is it just the regular skin therapy oil? I see one with rosehips and then another that has cocoa butter. Please let me know! thanks!

          1. Also there is one meant for the face too. I’m looking at Amazon right now trying to figure out which one you were referring to. I’ve noticed those lines under my eyes getting worse over the last 6-1 year and have tried so many different things and nothing is helping. If anyone else has any recommendations please comment.

      2. Jenya, look into Rodan+Fields multifunction eye cream. I’ve been using it for years and couldn’t do without it. Not only does it help with puffiness and dark circles it helps with the fine lines around the eyes. And the container last me 6-9 months.

      3. I’ve been using the Rodan and Fields eye cream for a good 4 months and haven’t seen any amazing results yet :(

      4. Hey! I love Origins Gin-Zing Eye Cream! I’ve been using it for over a year now, and it lasts a lonnnggg time! But its great. You use a tiny bit and it has a touch of illuminator in it to brighten the undereye area, but it also really works to depuff the area too! Really helps after those long nights (I’m a med student, I know all too much about those lol)

        1. I love all the Eminence eye products. I use the Lavender one of a night and the Bearberry during the day. I am almost 50 and barely have any crow’s feet, no dark circles or puffiness.

  16. For a retinoblastoma that is for sensitive skin Roc makes a great one. U can find it at drugstores in the white tube (as opposed to the blue one). It uses time release retinal which means that while it is on your face the retinal is delivered to your skin little by little over time instead of all at once. I love retinal!! It exfoliates the top layer of skin which helps prevent breakouts and fade post acne marks plus it helps prevent fine lines. Def worth a try!!!

  17. Hi Kat! I use a product from Sephora called LUNA Sleeping Night Oil by Sunday Riley. It has retinol in an oil form, so it is much gentler while offering a host of other skin care benefits. It is spendy for the bottle, but so potent that you only need about two drops at a time, so it lasts a really long time! A worthwhile investment indeed. I’ve seen a huge improvement in my skin since I started using this product. Give it a try!

    1. I love Luna! I’ve been using it since October and have noticed a difference. And being oil based it’s not harsh on your skin and easier for it to absorb. I love using Sunday Riley Luna at night and Good Genes in the morning, great combo!

  18. Thank you for putting this up! My skin tends to be a little on the dull side, so I love the glow tips! I also have acne prone skin, and I used to use Retinol, but it can be so harsh on the skin. For several weeks I used 2-3 drops of lavender oil on a cotton pad and rubbed that all over my face twice a day, and that worked nicely. However, I have been using a toner twice daily that is equal parts water and apple cider vinegar, and that has been working like a dream! I have not used any Retinol in six weeks, and my skin has been much happier. I have had a few large pimples, but they have cleared up quickly.

  19. I love Paula’s Choice! It is definitely what has cleared up my skin along with eating LCG. :) She started the company after finding acetone in her toner! They are transparent about all the ingredients and have a great list of what active ingredients actually do for your skin. I love her Resist Sunscreen and BHA exfoliant (it seriously transformed my skin). I also like to check new products on Beautypedia, which looks at all the ingredients of products so you can find out if you’ve been spraying yourself with alcohol this whole time…

  20. I love skin care and loved this post! I have sensitive skin and mild rosacea. These products have helped so much: the Murad Refreshing Cleanser (I SWEAR by this product!); the REN Evercalm Global Protection Day Cream (my rosacea stays under control with this moisturizer); and the Vitablast C Serum from Blue Mercury’s own line, M-61 (my dermatologist recommended it and it’s helped so much with hydration and glow). These products aren’t inexpensive, but absolutely worth the investment and have lasted between 6 to 11 months.

  21. Hey girls,
    I had terrible acne with oily skin. I saw many dermatologist who gave me acne prescriptions but I didn’t like the fact that my skin was so dependent on it. So I did extensive research and found out that applying argan oil at night has completely cleared my acne, softened my skin, and made me way less oily. I also read that washing your face excessively actually leads to your skin producing more oil to recompénsate. So in the morning I only wash my face with water and follow it with moisterizer and sunscreen. At night I take off my makeup and cleanse my skin with bioderma water, followed my a salicydic acid cleanser, followed with argan oil. I’m 24 so my big concern is adding anti-aging to my routine. I also found that drinking plenty of water (3L/ day) helps. I avoid food that breaks me out: chocolate, nuts, etc. Honestly my skin has never looked better. I think switching to the bear minimum and using argan oil has helped.

    1. Hi Lizet! I was the same way, dealing with acne since the 4th grade with really oily skin! Now in my 30s I knew I needed to start focusing on anti aging with acne as a secondary concern. Once I did, it was a game changer! I started using Rodan + Fields and it changed my skin so much I became a consultant. Happy to help you out if you are interested in trying! Feel free to email me ([email protected]).

  22. I really like using african black soap. It smells awesome, and my skin seems to LOVE it. It’s definitely helped me banish breakouts. Also, I love using just plain argan oil for nighttime moisture. I’m all about keeping things as natural as possible and avoiding chemicals. I love tea tree oil for the occasional breakout. Also, diluted ACV makes a GREAT toner. You know us #tiu girls love our ACV. :)

  23. Honestly – most products contain toxic, bad for you ingredients and you should avoid putting them on your skin, just as you would avoid eating them. The BEST thing you can do is read this book:

    This book teaches you about why your face breaks out, and how to eat in order to avoid that and to have super-clear, glowing skin. This is all done by eating right, and using products with very few ingredients. Their line of skin care has 5 ingredients or less in each product.

    Also, start checking how toxic all of the products you use are by going to EWG’s website. You can either search a specific product, or a specific ingredient in order to know how good, or how bad it is for you.

    By following what I’ve learned in “Skin Cleanse” I’ve been able to control my hormonal cystic acne and took myself off of birth control and all of the over the counter crap that Dermatologists were prescribing over and over (they are harsh and make things worse).

    This book is a SUPER fast read, and you’ll want to gift it to ALL of your girlfriends!

  24. I have combination skin, and I’ve been using Clinique’s 3 step skin care since I was 14, so about 13 years! I’ve kept all breakouts under control ever since. I might need to use a heavier moisturizer during the dryer months of the year, but other than that I’m golden. Also, I use Clinique’s BB cream instead of Foundation as my base makeup every day. Has light tint and sunblock built in!

  25. I can’t use anything with chemicals in it, I have super sensitive skin on my face and most things make me look like I have anything from mild wind burn to a severe sunburn so I stick with coconut oil and baking soda for the most part. Twice a week when I wear heavier makeup I use Alba Botanicals face cleanser and I just got a spin brush type thing to use on my face. My problem is with sunscreen that’s good for a sensitive face, any suggestions?

  26. i have always had bad skin complexion and dry dry dry skin my whole life. moisturizers never last a full day for me, since i started working out and eating according to the tiu nutrition plan my skin has already began to look better. I have that see through veiny skin and now its starting to look normal again, i believe in the inside out rebuild 100%

  27. I started using BeautyCounter products a little over 2 years ago and love them! I have combo skin and have struggled with acne my entire adult life. I got engaged and I finally decided I wanted to get a natural skin routine that didn’t involve so many prescriptions aka the lifelong plan- trust me, I’ve tried it all! I still use a retinal cream at night though (only 4-5 times per week). But what I love about the BeautyCounter products is that they are free of harsh chemicals and dyes and they have strict product standards. I use their night cream everynight with 2 drops of face oil- I have one to hydrate and one to balance so I use whichever one I think my skin needs for that day/time of year! I even sometimes use the oil has a makeup primer. I use to only have oily skin, but since using the face oil my skin has found it’s natural balance! And my breakouts are only once a month now if that! I also love St. Ives face wash- they have a variety of types which I love! And amen to sunscreen! So thankful my Mom pushed that as soon as I started wearing makeup in high school!

    1. I second Beauty Counter! I’ve had pretty severe acne for maybe 10 years now. I also did all the prescriptions and antibiotics, everything short of Accutane. I tried the more natural stuff like oil cleansing and that seemed to make everything worse. I’m so glad I found Beauty Counter-It’s the perfect balance between natural and conventional beauty products. My favorite right now is the cream exfoliator! I also gave up all grains and dairy-that seems to help keep me clear. Are you a consultant? I’d like to find a local consultant or a TIU girl to order from :)

      1. I love Beautycounter! I’ve been a consultant for 8 months and used it for a year. My skin has never been better and I love knowing that the products are safer!

  28. i just love ❤️ my EVER skincare products. They are only made with good for you ingredients and the results that people are having are amazing. I had really dull looking after giving birth and this skincare line helped a ton! It’s definitely an investment though but so worth it. The peel pads are the best at gently exfoliating and help with dark spots, brighting the skin, prepping your skin. it’s great! And has won awards too.

  29. Here’s a little side tip too… if you want to reduce the appearance of cellulite, like for instance on your thighs.. if you put a retinol cream on that area, it will help it in the same way it would help tighten your face making the cellulite less noticeable :). Just thought I’d share that!

  30. I struggle with acne, too! I’d thought that by 30 it would have gone away, but not so much. I work at this company and I love their line. It’s not really targeted for acne, but it’s made with only natural, high-quality ingredients (every ingredient is on Skin Deep)>> I also love a little good old fashioned Botox! ;)

  31. You’re all going to think I’m nuts, but here me out, here:

    I had crazy oily skin as a teenager (ugh, ALWAYS had REALLY bad breakouts), but my skin mellowed out a little as I got older. Over the last few years, my skin got super sensitive and is just straight up dry. Talk about all the problems in the world! Some lady at a makeup counter once told my mom to use rosewater as her astringent treatment after washing her face, and years later, I happened to see some in a pharmacy in Greece (I work there annually — I’m an archaeologist!).

    Guys? Rosewater fixes EVERYTHING. EVERYTHING. EVERYTHING!! Breaking out? Hit it with rosewater. A little oily? Hit it with rosewater. Too dry? Hydrate it with rosewater! Just don’t drink it :) The natural astringent properties of the roses clean your pores, help balance your skin’s ph, and the water just straight up moisturizes your skin. I grab a cotton ball, get it wet with rosewater, and brush it all over my face and neck. I don’t really wear makeup (when I do, I use a wipe to get rid of the stuff first, then go over my face a couple of times with the rosewater to make sure it’s totally gone). Then I hit my skin with moisturizer/sunscreen. Until I recently tried to go back to using a gentle cleanser (stupidly), I had completely clear skin for over two years!

    Make sure you get the stuff that’s not packed with alcohol — get it as pure as you can (mine is a bottle that lasts 2-3 months on amazon for $10 or so). It even works on backne. I LOVE this stuff and never go anywhere without it. I hope this helps someone out there! :D

  32. At night I wash my face with the PCA Pigment bar and my clarisonic (I use this on alternating nights) and then immediately apply Origins High Potency Night-A-Mins™ Mineral-Enriched Renewal Cream (I bought this 4 weeks ago and am OBSESSED with how my skin looks and feels in the morning). If I have a blemish, I use tea tree oil.

    In the morning I just splash my face with cold water to wake up and close my pores and apply IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better™ CC+™ Cream with SPF 50+. If I don’t wear makeup then I use Coola sunscreen.

  33. Absolutely LOVE the naturaculina skin care line….talk about a transformation! Oh… natural!

  34. +Katrina you should try out Sunday Riley Luna sleeping night oil combined with Sunday Riley Good Genes. I swear by this duo. I too use retin-a but not as often since I use these products. Its spendy but worth it fo sho. Sephora has a kit you can buy with both called the Power Couple Duo for $85. I also take spironolactone which I get from my dermatologist. As I hit my mid-30’s I started to get huge pimples on my neck and chin and this has made them go away completely. Actually since I started taking it I rarely ever break out.

    1. Spironolactone is the best ever!! It’s the only thing that cleared my skin. And it cleared my skin 100%. It takes commitment to take the pills twice per day (and it’s an anti-androgen, so it’s a major diuretic), but it absolutely clears acne prone skin. I’ve been on spironolactone for over 7 years (including all of my 30s) and people ask me all the time what I use for my skin (because I’ve always had acne and sensitive skin). I still use low dose retin-a, but only 1-2 times per week.

  35. Katrina you should use Rodan and Fields redefine…it is moisturizing and has retinol! It is my lifesaver and got rid of my random breakouts and terribly dry skin :)

    1. Thanks, girl!! All these recommendations are amazing! You can always count on TIU girls! :)

      1. The Unblemish line is oily free also and so awesome for breakouts, even hormonal ones.

  36. My Holy grail tips are drink a gallon of water a day, and exfoliate 2 times a week.

  37. I love posts like this! It’s totally speaking my language❤ But as for the retinol, I was using it for a little with my breakouts, but it was incredibly drying I couldn’t handle it. So my two favorite options are using Renee Rouleau’s Advanced Resurfacing Serum, it’s basically a gentle retinol without the irritation but all of the results! Or I have been using Aczone (from the Derm) as well a couple times a week & it makes a huge difference even overnight for me. And for a little spa night, I use RR’s new Rapid Response Detox Masque for 15min & It’s seriously a God Send. P.S. I use her Anti Cyst serum as well as a chemical exfoliant every night as my “treatment” step even if I don’t have breakouts.
    ** I swear I’m not affiliated with RR I just have had a serious life changing experience with her products because, HELLO 9 different skin types? Finally a line that understands my skin!💕

  38. I struggled with retinol as well because I have incredibly dry skin. My dermatologist recommended an alternative one from Eminence a year ago and I have been using it ever since. It has really helped with my fine lines, but does not dry out my skin. It is called the Bamboo Firming Fluid. Also, Skin Ceuticals makes a lower does one that was also recommended to me. It was too strong and dried me out, but may be worth a try.

  39. This article is amazing! Katrina, I had the same problem with retinol being too harsh. So my derm had me scale back from a 0.4% micro gel to a 0.025% cream, and I use it 2-3 times a week instead of every night. My derm said any less than twice a week isn’t really effective, and your skin doesn’t have a chance to acclimate to it, so it reacts more dramatically (redness, dryness, peeling) when you do use it. Another trick is to wait as long as possible (at least 20 mins) between your last skincare step (night cream) and applying the retinol. Apparently any water in your moisturizer can intensify the effect of the retinol. An exfoliating cleanser really helps me, too. My fave is called Snow Queen from Glow Recipe. K-beauty is where it’s at!!!

  40. I love learning more about skincare! Does anyone have recommendations for an SPF that sits well under makeup?

    1. I Adeedles! I use Rodan + Fields products, all with SPF and I have no problems with it under makeup. I also use their mineral peptides, which has SPF. I use the oil control lotion for the day since I have oily skin. Let me know if you are interested, I became a consultant and would be happy to help you out! Good luck with your search!

    2. EltaMD is the best. I only found out about it through my dermatologist but I buy it from Amazon.
      Every other moisturizer clogged my pores.

  41. My favorite stuff to use is Youth to the People age prevention wash followed by the moisture cream. It has such clean green ingredients in both. What I love is that both feel lightweight, my face feels clean but does not feel dry and does not feel greasy. I am a morning and evening moisturizing freak but I guess that is what happens when your 40’s hit. Drinking lots of water has made my skin feel much better too.

  42. Kind of in love with Luminance Skincare right now. It is vegan, organic, has no toxins & nothing synthetic. It’s all about nourishing & rebalancing your skin to its natural ph.

  43. Try Dr. Zoe Perfect Face Aesthetic Medicine! She has an office in La Jolla but will ship products to you. Her line is amazing!!!

  44. Kat,
    You should try the retinol reform from the Shani Darden skincare line. I’m acne prone and I am sensitive to harsh products. This works great, plus Jessica Alba uses it so if I can look like her I will try anything 😜

  45. @toneitup retinal is drying in nature because of the way it decreases sebum production to help prevent white heads so definitely consider alternating days and wearing a really hydrating moisturizer. Minimize exfoliating because the medicine is already essentially doing that for you. Also don’t forget sunscreen on top of it. You want to medicine to work right on your skin but the sunscreen to protect you from increased light sensitivity. Hope this helps 😊

  46. Mario Badescu is an amazing line for all skin types. The special cucumber lotion (toner) changed my life!

  47. Kat, ask your Derm if they will prescribe you the Retin-A cream (not gel or Micro!) in the .025% or .05% strength. The cream is FAR less drying than the gel or micro variants. You can actually buy it over the counter in Mexico for about $20 a tube!

  48. Retinol can actually have a lot of harmful side effects. I have recently been learning so much about all of the harmful chemicals in our skin care products. Beautycounter bans 1500 ingredients many of which are banned in Europe while only 30 are banned in the US. Retinol is actually on their never list. The products are safe and amazing and effective. You can learn more about Beautycounter here

  49. I used to have major problems with my skin. Acne, excess oil, dry patches, you name it. In doing research I decided to try an oil cleanser. I was hesitant. Evause I didn’t want my oily skin to get worse, but it didn’t. It evened out my oil production and nourished my skin (I was using acne treatments that would dry my skin out and make it red). Within a week, my active breakout was healing, skin was less red and less oily. Now I swear by Crude facial oil ( and my skin has NEVER looked better! Good luck on your search!

  50. Someone mentioned The Ordinary. I’ve been using a combination of serums from them for about a month and have definitely noticed a difference. I don’t use their retinol because hubby and I are TTC right now but I like all of their other serums I’m using. I think only some of their products are organic but they are all free of the baddies (sulfates, parabens, formaldehyde, etc). The idea is that each serum is only the few chemicals it needs to be (i.e., lactic acid is basically just lactic acid in a bottle) without all the extra stuff that drives up the cost and isn’t doing anything for you anyway. That is why their serums are only like $6 to $11 which is awesome.

  51. Love this!! Thanks for the info! I have sensitive skin that is def acne prone (even after 2 rounds of accutane!). I’m always trying to get my skin to stay clear when I workout. I will say eating LCG helps a ton!!

  52. Hi Kat,
    I agree with Madeline S., Paula’s Choice is amazing! I have oily and reactive skin, and I struggled for a long time because I was using products that were too harsh, so if I wasn’t broken out, I was red or peeling. Paula’s Skin Perfecting line is my fav, plus the Vitamin C and Niacinamide boosters.

    SPF can trigger acne; you might consider switching brands, and always wear Vitamin C under it.

    For nighttime, I use prescription Tazorac and Drunk Elephant Glycolic Night Serums each 1x a week with Paula’s Brightening Serum. A couple of nights, I’ll use PCA Brightening Retinol – – and a couple of nights I’ll just wash my face.

    Good luck! Let us know when you find something that works for you! xo

  53. So, I am a licensed Esthetician, and I love skincare.
    This year I decided to go GREEN and NON-TOXIC with my skincare, and it really has had a positive impact.
    The brand “100% Pure” has got some really good skincare items that are reasonably priced, completely non-toxic and yet very effective.
    There is also a brand like “ilike Organic Skin Care” which is more expensive, but it’s a professional brand sold by licensed professionals, with super clean and minimal ingredients.
    Also, Origins has some good products as well, especially their face masks (My favorite face mask of ALL TIME is their Rituali Tea Matcha Madness one)

  54. Hey babe, I’ve suffered with acne my whole life. Tried everything on the market even two stints of accutane. I found the results were great but decided it wasn’t for me. I’ve found water and diet really helps me, but you already know that 😃 Staying off grains, dairy and minimal coffee also helps my adreanals and keeps the hormones at bay. My ultimate fav is a Manuka Honey face mask twice a week. Great for inflammation and keeping bacteria at bay. Hope this helps. 💋❤️😻

  55. Hey babe, I’ve suffered with acne my whole life. Tried everything on the market even two stints of accutane. I found the results were great but decided it wasn’t for me. I’ve found water and diet really helps me, but you already know that 😃 Staying off grains, dairy and minimal coffee also helps my adreanals and keeps the hormones at bay. My ultimate fav is a Manuka Honey face mask twice a week. Great for inflammation and keeping bacteria at bay. Hope this helps. 💋❤️😻

  56. I’ve suffered from acne and skin problems all my life however the last few years it’s got better for a variety of reasons: switching to being vegan, making sure all my skin care’s cr&*p ingredient free (cruelty free, no nasty parabens, SLS’s etc), natural as possible ingredients, switching to Korean cruelty brands and following the Korean 10 skincare steps. The biggest difference was giving up coffee. I got sick on a bad Nespresso pod and couldn’t face going back to coffee for a few weeks so switched to hot lemon in the mornings. Switching out coffee later in the day for more green tea and teas. 1 months later I realised I hadn’t had any cystic acne I’ve suffered from for years. I researched if there was a link between coffee and cystic acne and there is. 1.5 years later I don’t miss coffee, still drinking lemon juice and just have to keep pores and blackheads under control!

  57. I am obsessed with freeman beauty’s feeling beautiful face mask! They have so many different kinds for different skin types. I currently use their acv foaming clay 4 in 1. That also have a coffee eye mask that I love!! However, I seriously struggle with black heads! Can anyone help me with that!

  58. I’ve had trouble skin for a while but have found Beautycounter to be high-performing and effective! These products are all made without all the toxic ingredients that are in so many products in the US! There are over 1,500 ingredients (known carcinogens, endocrine disrupters, etc) that will never be used! My favorites are the charcoal bar and Nourishing Cleanser and moisturizer!!

  59. Hi Ladies,

    I love this wall of everyone’s comments!

    I too struggled with acne and tried antibiotics, Proactiv, retinol, you name it. As an adult, I learned a more holistic approach to my life in general and it has really saved my skin. I think there are three things that have made the most difference:
    1- go see a naturopath: I know it sounds hippie-dippie but a lot of times skin problems are a result of something going on in the gut. You could be eating foods that are causing inflammation or you may have a mild allergy to something which is causing the breakouts. I would strongly suggest going to see a refutable naturopath because they are trained to cure the root of your problems, not treat and cover the symptoms.
    2- I started using Witch Hazel as a toner to clean my face. I like Thayer’s brand with Rose Water (I think another TIU gal posted the amazing powers of rose water above) and I have really noticed a difference just from this product. I use Acure Sensitive Skin cleanser to wash my face but I know Dr Hauschka is a great brand as well. Acure is just less expensive.
    3- I started making my own essential oil blend to put on my face before my moisturizer. I swear this one thing alone has people commenting all the time about my skin. You can read up on how to personalize an essential oil blend for your age and skin type but I do one that’s great for people in their 30’s (2Tbsp base oil, lemon oil, carrot seed oil, geranium, palmarosa, clary sage, etc). All of the essential oils will help treat different problems you might have with your face like wrinkles, acne scars, breakouts. Then you can just add a small drop of moisturizer over top of the oil and be on your way.
    Then of course, there are all the things you already know: don’t touch your face, wash your pillow cases, drink water, etc.

    I really hope this is helpful to some of you gals! I just don’t think we should be spending so much of our money on products for every part of our face when just a few items will do the trick. The more natural approach also eliminates the possibility of having a bad reaction to another chemical in the product. 💕

  60. I have had some pretty crappy skin my whole life… I tried every trick you can think of and really the thing that changed my life was Accutane, a prescription drug you take for 6-8 months and your skin clears up like you never thought before…If you really suffer from blemishes or acne all the time, I HIGHLY SUGGEST IT!! I wish I could add a before and after photo on here to show you… I have become a believer haha… Direct message me if you want some info or for me to send you the photo! I wish I could tell everyone in the world about this, I know how your skin really takes down your confidence… It is completely worth the time, I wish I had done it sooner!!! XOXOXO Jamie :)

  61. I had such bad breakouts (like last up to last month) and I am almost 30 years old! I was like…’I thought I was out of this life stage.’ So, I tried EVERYTHING, facials, vitamins, masks, topical treatments, cut out dairy, cut out gluten….it was so discouraging. But, I started focusing on yoga and less cortisol inducing workouts and went to all natural products for my face (and removing makeup prior to working out…HUGE). It has been night and day. I started using Devonne by Demi (, doing more yoga/meditation, and working on stress management. That has helped tremendously! Hope this helps!

  62. L-Lysine-an OTC supplement for less than. $5. It helps with collagen formation. For external treatments I order from mixnature. It’s awesome because you choose what ingredients go in the product! Personalized for your needs! And it ships fast

  63. I use a lot of Lush and Kiehl’s products and my skin has felt great! However, I still get more breakouts than I would like and have been wondering if there’s a natural spot treatment to help with that?

  64. I love Mary Kay’s TimeWise Miracle Set and the TimeWise Repair set. Both are amazing and have helped my skin improve and feel SO SOFT! My make up applies better, my skin is softer – highly recommend. They even have 100% buy back guarantee on all of their products so you can try it out for as long as you’d like and if you don’t end up using it or liking it you can return it. I used to have dry skin and some oil in places and all of that has changed.

  65. Definitely check out R.E.N. Skincare products. They use natural and botanical sources for their ingredients creating a more gentle product. I LOVE the Glycolic Acid Radiance Mask. It wasn’t too harsh on my sensitive skin and smells like a tropical smoothie!

    1. And for acne (I usually get cystic pimples), I use tea tree oil on a cotton ball or swab AFTER my moisturizer. I use Boots Botanicals Sensitive day cream or Jose Maran Argan oil (regular or light).

  66. Great article ladies! I’ve also suffered from acne my whole life, and have to say switching to a more natural skin care routine, along with the TIU work outs and nutrition plan, have completely changed my skin. I used to get awful cystic acne along my jawline, and that has completely cleared up. My skin care routine is as follows, it’s pretty minimal!

    AM- wash with water only, Cerave AM Facial Moisturizer SPF 30 mixed with a little coconut oil, 100% Pure Coffee Bean Caffeine eye cream. My day to day look is no makeup, I now save it for nights out and special occasions.
    PM – “wash” face with coconut oil (I massage a little bit around to melt away any daily grime) then wipe off with a warm washcloth. Follow with an apple cider vinegar toner (1:1 ACV to water), then apply a little more coconut oil as a moisturizer if needed.
    Once a week I use the Mermaid Masque and Acure Brightening Facial Scrub.

    Anyone else going a more au natural route for skin care? Reading “Skin Cleanse” by Adina Grigore was a total eye opener for me!

  67. I recently bought a juicer and have been having fresh vege + fruit juice everyday – my skin looks amazing! I am glowing like never before. I’ve also started using an Antipodes skin-boosting serum before my moisturiser and this is adding to the glow. I would highly recommend fresh juice as a skin booster to anyone and everyone. Even if you buy a cold pressed juice a couple times a week, it will help! x

  68. I have very sensitive and dry skin and I love Mychelle skin products, you can find it at most health food stores. It’s organic & animal cruelty-free❣

  69. As many have mentioned, I too have acne. And I’m allergic to everything, especially fragrance. So I do not wear makeup – I’m too allergic to it. Even Neutrogena and Clinique clog my pores. I’ve had acne for over 20 years. I highly recommend not trying to figure it all out on your own. I searched for years and finally found a dermatologist who was able to cure my acne. He told me about the EltaMD line. They make moisturizers with SPF and I don’t break out, which is not the case with any other line.

    Just FYI – Rodan and Fields made my skin worse, just like every other line. Everything makes me break out except EltaMD and tea tree oil. Vitamin E also works in a pinch (even making a broken up aspirin paste works). For smoothe skin I stick to Manuka Honey (harvested by tea tree oil loving bees) and turmeric with coconut oil. Just because you have oily skin, don’t be afraid of oil I recently learned.

  70. I love all of the great suggestions! I’ve struggled to find a good face wash for years and years. I finally found one that I fell in love with and it got discontinued. I decided to work on transforming more of my beauty products to more ingredient conscious and natural products. My most recent success is with soapberries! There is a company called Tree To Tub and they make organic soapberry face wash. I have really dry skin so I was nervous because it gets super sudsy, but it’s fantastic! My face feels so soft and amazing afterwards which is so rare after I wash my face. I’m still working on finding the perfect moisturizer, but I have thought about making my own. I may give some of your suggestions a try. Thanks ladies xo

  71. I have very sensitive skin & I started using Peter Thomas Roth Retinol Fusion & it’s been amazing for my skin! Highly recommend it! Ps – thank you so much for this post, I’ve struggled with skin issues as well & it can be so hard :(

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