The Breakout Breakup

I’ve had it with you.

We’ve been doing this same song and dance for more than HALF MY LIFE.

But you are insatiable. Every time I think I have you figured out, hoping and praying you’ve finally met your match, that you’ll never return again, you’re back—more intrusive and resistant than ever.

I’ll admit, I am impressed. You haven’t backed down—not once. And while that may be the sign of a worthy adversary, while I can’t help but feel a hint of respect for your resilience, it doesn’t make me hate you any less.

hate you.

You’re the worst. THE WORST. You’re a nightmare and a half. You’ve taken control of my self-esteem and dictated my mood on a daily basis. How is that possible? You’re so small, not even a blip on the radar, yet you always manage to ruin my entire day.

And I may be exhausted by your antics, but I’m not giving up. Not when we’ve fought for so long.

It’s the same reason I still watch Grey’s Anatomy.

Because I refuse to admit it was all a waste of time, money and energy. That wouldn’t be fair to either of us. I know you wouldn’t take pleasure in a forfeit, and I absolutely refuse to give you one.

Because I’ve had it. We’re done. Over. Finito.

Your days are numbered, Acne.

Oh, but wait. That’s not right…

Seeing as I’m about to turn 29, that should be *adult acne, shouldn’t it?

HOW IS THIS MY LIFE? I am a psycho about washing my face every morning and night. I moisturize just as often. I use masks and scrubs sporadically, giving my pores that deep clean they deserve.

Right? They need that don’t they? Please tell me they need that.

Never mind. Don’t feed my delusion. In fact, tell me I’m 100 percent wrong with every step of my routine. Always have been, always will be. I’ll believe you! Why wouldn’t I? I’ve trusted literally every other opinion on the matter.

BY THE WAY—thanks, Internet. You’ve been the least helpful since Day One, feeding me all kinds of fun intel on what causes acne, how to cure it, the best cleansers for combination skin.

It’s all garbage. My face is garbage. It refuses to cooperate, regardless of the cleanser. The regimen. The fervor with which I scrub.

Can we talk about everything I’ve tried? Because it really feels like I’ve tried everything.

Pre-puberty I’d rinse with a Dove bar, courtesy of Micki. She’d never steer me wrong, but you know what happens when hormones kick in.

Neutrogena’s Pink Grapefruit was my go-to for years—those breakouts were the mildest, by far. But it definitely dried me out.

I also used St. Ive’s Apricot Scrub off and on. Relatively reliable, smelled AMAZING, but had me feeling a little rough around the edges.

Through it all I moisturized with Pond’s Cold Cream. That stuff is my jam. I would put it on before bed and wake up feeling like a new woman. But when I converted to the “prescribed” regimens, Pond’s got the boot. (Though, if we’re being honest, I’m not sure how much longer I can go without it.)

As for the regimens, I gave the original Proactiv a whirl more than once in high school and college.

The. Worst. For every possible reason.

I didn’t stick with Clinique for very long because I need a scrub. My face doesn’t feel clean without it. It’s the same reason I quit First Aid Beauty after two months (and I’m 99 percent sure the moisturizer in that kit made me break out even more than before).

Then I tried two different Rodan + Fields “solutions”, Unblemish and Redefine.

Not gonna lie, Unblemish did a pretty decent job, but my cancellation came down to cost—refilling the three-step system was just shy of $200. Each supply lasted a couple of months, but the auto-renewal became so daunting. Checking my bank account to make sure I could afford face wash made me hate my skin even more.

Redefine wasn’t any cheaper, but as soon as Unblemish helped with the acne, I became more aware of my scars. The new stuff may have cleared up old marks, but my acne came back. Definitely not worth the cost.

So what’s happening now? I recently gave in to the charcoal craze.


Biore’s Charcoal Acne Cleanser is the biggest joke of them all. And you can sit there judging me for these low-budget picks all you want, but you’ll get a great view of my middle finger as you ride that high horse into the fancy department store of your choosing.

I’m a very cheap person.

I’ll admit it. Which is why I try to combine those affordable cleansers with a decent diet and quality makeup.


So here I am, a 28-year-old woman typing away but also intermittently running her fingers along her jawline where the latest breakout has staked its claim.

And it wasn’t until just then that I realized I’m about to start my period.

You’d think I’d know better by now.


Scrub away to some Hilary.

2 thoughts on “The Breakout Breakup

  1. Omg I feel this sooo hard! Been on accutane, antibiotics, dermatologist washes and creams. And now for my unsolicited advice (because what else is The internet good for🤷🏼‍♀️): The thing that makes the biggest difference for me is what I eat. I struggle with chickpeas, peanuts, and processed wheat products, etc. – they all f with my hormones and cause me to have breakouts. So that would be the first, and free(!!) thing I would try! Also try using all aveeno lotions and body washes bc others have certain parabens / preservatives that make people break out.

    Second, there are good cheap products out there. The best affordable regimen is Cerave, Clinique sensitive toner, and that ponds lotion! Also, I love to use baking soda as a scrub or even leave it on for a bit as a mask. If you wanted to splurge on something the biggest game changer for me has been skinceuticals c e serum. That’s all! 🤗

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have no idea how I missed this — I’m sorry for not responding sooner! This list is amazing, and I actually just cut gluten (as of last Friday) to see what difference that makes. I’ve also used Aveeno off and on for years, sounds like I should just stick with it. 🙂 Thank you SO much for all of this!


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